Castlehaven 0-10 Nemo Rangers 0-10: Low-scoring stalemate this may have been, with an excessive amount of wides, but you couldn’t look away.
Both halves ended in drama, Castlehaven players and officials approaching referee Conor Lane at full-time to state their case about Mark Collins’ late scoring attempt, which was waved wide much to their frustration.
Both they and Nemo Rangers also appeared to have cause for complaint as Lane blew the final whistle short of the announced three minutes of additional time.
This had followed a first half which ended with both sets of players becoming embroiled in some unsavoury scenes as they made their way off the field.
Paul Kerrigan, Brian Hurley and Sean Dineen were all admonished at the start of the second half with yellow cards.
Kerrigan saw red in the 59th minute for a hasty challenge and yet Nemo still managed to manufacture a scoring chance in injury-time, though Barry O’Driscoll’s left-footed attempt from the left-hand side was a low percentage opportunity.
At the other end, the excellent Mark Collins lofted a ball that he and some of his team-mates deemed good only for Lane’s assistants to call it as a wide. The full-time whistle came shortly afterwards to confirm what was a fair result considering each side bossed for periods.
Castlehaven may feel it was a game they left behind considering their 13 wides and Micheál Aodh Martin doing well to block goal-bound shots by Collins in the 49th minute and then Brian Hurley three minutes later.
Yet they didn’t score for the opening 13 minutes of the game as Nemo snuffed out their supply into the full-forward line while Haven’s long-range strikes left a lot to be desired. They didn’t trouble the scoreboard in the opening 11 minutes of the second half nor the final 12.
Having struggled in the middle third in the second quarter, Nemo made the most of the break to reassess and recalibrate and David Niblock was at the forefront of them turning that area of the field in their favour.
Trailing 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time, Nemo scored the opening three points of the second half. Paul Kerrigan was operating well as an inside target man and had points either side of a fine O’Driscoll score, which he managed despite losing his balance as he took aim.
Much like the first half, Castlehaven took time to find their feet and equalised in the 42nd minute when Hurley sent over a free.
Haven went ahead again with an emphatic point from Michael Hurley in the 48th minute and their interval advantage was restored a minute later when Collins’ rasping shot was pushed over the bar by Martin.
Momentum had turned in the 2012 and ‘13 champions’ favour by that stage but Nemo took belief from that Martin save and the goalkeeper’s second block when Hurley managed to get off a shot having linked up with Shane Nolan.
Seconds before being substituted, Nemo wing-forward Dylan Mehigan kicked the last score of the match in the 58th minute prior to the commotion involving Kerrigan’s red card, the injury-time wides and time-keeping.
Castlehaven know they must start better in next Sunday’s replay. They took awhile to figure a way around Colin O’Brien who was dutiful in his work as sweeper in front of Hurley.
Nemo were off the mark the quickest with Luke Connolly arrowing over a 45 in the sixth minute and James Masters following him with a couple of frees.
A tidy one-two between Cork colleagues Collins and Hurley saw the former get Haven up and running in the 13th minute although their inter-county team-mates Kerrigan and O’Driscoll themselves combined two minutes later which saw O’Driscoll loft a point.
However, Nemo played second fiddle for the remainder of the half. Jack Donovan did manage a point in injury-time to end a 16-minute barren spell but Haven were effective during that period. Unlike in the opening quarter, their dominance of possession was matched with some better thought-out play. Hurley moved out from his inside berth as he, Damien Cahalane and Collins succeeded in creating overlaps and generating more inventive play.
A 23rd-minute Hurley free was followed by Michael Hurley’s opener and a third point in as many minutes came when Hurley again punished an infringement on Collins. That levelled matters and then Haven pushed ahead when Shane Nolan finished well. Collins added his second with a fisted effort.
Donovan put a halt to that Haven purple patch but a fine Cahalane punt from distance gave Jim Nolan’s man a two-point cushion going into half-time.
They didn’t know it at that stage but by the end they would need it.
Scorers for Castlehaven:
B Hurley (frees), M Collins (0-3 each); M Hurley (0-2); S Nolan, D Cahalane (0-1 each).
Scorers for Nemo Rangers:
B O’Driscoll (0-3, 1 free); J Masters (frees), P Kerrigan (0-2 each); L Connolly (45), J Donovan, D Mehigan (0-1 each).
Subs for Castlehaven:
D Hurley for S Collins (39); G Cahalane for S Hurley (47); D Hegarty for S Nolan (53); B Twomey for D Mehigan (59).
Subs for Nemo Rangers:
C Dalton for L Connolly (inj, 16); C Horgan for J Masters (48); D O’Donovan for A O’Reilly (53); S Martin for J Donovan (57).
P Kerrigan (59, second yellow).
P Hurley; R Whelton, D Limrick, T O’Leary; J O’Regan, D Cahalane, C Hayes; M Collins, S Dineen; S Collins, S Hurley, S Cahalane; M Hurley, B Hurley, S Nolan.
MA Martin; A Cronin, A O’Reilly, C O’Shea; J Donovan, T Ó Sé, K Fulignati; D Niblock, A O’Donovan; C O’Brien, B O’Driscoll, D Mehigan; J Masters, P Kerrigan, L Connolly.
C Lane (Banteer/Lyre).
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