Chiedozie Ogbene keeps Nemo Rangers alive

Nemo Rangers 1-11 Valley Rovers 1-11: Nemo Rangers have made a speciality of winning Cork County U21 A titles, being the dominant force with 13 wins, including a couple in the last three years.

Amongst their victims have been Valley Rovers, whom they knocked off a lone championship perch (2013 winners) in last year’s semi-final.

In last night’s decider at Páirc Ui Rinn, it was a chance for the Valleys to gain revenge. Victory was not to be for either side though and a pulsating contest ended with both sides level in what was probably a fair result.

From the off there was plenty of excitement, and Nemo got the opening scores, a couple of points from Kevin and Alan O’Donovan. Valley Rovers hit back with points from Jack Murphy and Eoin O’Reilly but Nemo’s Chiedozie Ogbene made all the difference with a smashing goal as he finished Conor Gould’s through ball.

Billy Crowley might have had claims for a Valleys penalty as he bore down on goal. Seconds later, Nemo saw Valley keeper David Lynch make a brilliant save but Conor Horgan knocked over the rebound for a point. O’Reilly got his second point to again leave a goal between the sides. Nemo lived dangerously in the 16th minute when Jack Murphy’s shot was saved by Michael Aodh Martin. Two minutes later Conor Horgan and Danny O’Sullivan exchanged points.

Nemo defenders got in the way of goalward shots four times in quick succession and Valley had to be happy with a point from Jack Murphy to reduce the Nemo lead to just two points. Tadgh O’Brien cut the deficit further and then Murphy set pulses racing with a brilliant individual goal to give his side the lead for the first time with 24 minutes on the clock.The sides had a further point apiece with Valley holding the initiative at the break, 1-8 to 1-6.

Two early points from Conor Horgan brought the sides level and it took Valleys 10 minutes of the second-half to register their first score, a pointed free from Murphy, before O’Reilly got another immediately afterwards to restore the two-point lead.

A third point, this time from Darragh Murphy, had Valley Rovers three points to the good by the middle of that second period and Nemo’s luck was out in the 46th minute when their attempt on goal was repelled by a determined Valley Rovers defence.

Man of the match Ogbene sparked a Nemo revival when he struck for two points and substitute Ian Dorney had another to draw the sides level again. There were thrills from there to the finish, with both sides threatening to get the winner but neither had quite the composure to see this game out

Scorers for Nemo Rangers:

C Ogbene 1-2, C Horgan 0-5 (0-2 frees), K O’Donovan 0-2, I Dorney, A O’Donovan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Valley Rovers:

J Murphy 1-3, E O’Reilly 0-3, D Murphy 0-2, D O’Sullivan, B Crowley, T O’Brien 0-1 each

Nemo:

M Martin, D Barrett, C Madden, N Murphy, R McCarthy, D Kerins, B O’Connor, A O’Donovan, J Donovan, D Buckley, B Madden, C Ogbene, K O’Donovan, C Horgan, C Goold.

Subs.

T O’Sullivan for B O’Connor (half time), I Dorney for B Madden (42), P O’Keeffe for C Goold (48), D O’Mahony for B McCarthy (57), I Casey for D Buckley (60)

Valley Rovers:

D Lynch, I Crowley, B Murphy, T O’Brien, D Lordan, J Lyons, J Kiely, D O’Sullivan, D Murphy, E Fallon, J Murphy, T O’Brien, E O’Reilly, B Crowley, D Looney.

Subs

. D Cantry for D O’Sullivan (55, injured), P Hurley for B Crowley (57)

Referee

. A Long (Argideen Rangers).


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