Nemo Rangers 3-14 Duhallow 1-10
Despite playing the majority of the game with 14 men, champions Nemo Rangers cruised past Duhallow in the opening round of the county SFC at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
Nemo were 0-5 to 0-2 in front when Colin O’Brien was sent off for an off-the-ball tangle with Donncha O’Connor in the 20th minute, and a Michael Vaughan point for the divisional side immediately afterwards seemed to suggest that they would make a game of it.
However, Nemo were not as much as knocked out of their stride and had three goals scored by the half-time break.
On 23, Ciarán Dalton was given a chance but Kyrle Holland got back well to dispossess him.
Duhallow failed to clear properly though and Kevin Fulignati’s pass was perfectly placed for Dalton and he slotted home.
Donncha O’Connor did respond with a nice Duhallow point to make it 1-5 to 0-4, but then Nemo went into overdrive.
Luke Connolly was excellent from frees all night and his third put five points in it before a lack of decisiveness in the Duhallow defence allowed Dalton and Connolly to set up Conor Horgan for the second goal.
From the kickout, Nemo won a free and Jack Horgan’s quick thinking gave Dalton a chance of another goal, one he duly took.
Another point, from Paul Kerrigan opened up a 3-7 to 0-4 lead before Duhallow’s Donncha O’Connor had the last score of the half with a 45.
With an 11-point cushion, Nemo were never going to be overhauled in the second half. “I was delighted with them,” manager Larry Kavanagh said.
“The danger for us was that we might be a bit complacent or that last year had made us satisfied.
“I was delighted with the running and the passing too, they took the goalscoring chances well, there was no panic, they just rolled them in but that’s a hard thing to do.
“It’s great for the confidence.
“These young fellas have played in big games and we were hoping to bring them on last year but we weren’t able to — [James] Masters was hanging in there, Dylan [Mehigan] was still holding his place, Willie Morgan was.
“This year, the safety net is gone, ‘Ye have to go in lads’, but they were straight in.
“Winning the final last year is great too, when you’re at home there on a late night before a game, it gives you that confidence, ‘We won it last year so we can win it again’.”
Featuring 11 of the team which began last year’s county final replay win over Castlehaven, Nemo were two points up inside the opening minute, with Jack Horgan and Jack Donovan both on target.
Their play was more cohesive than their divisional opponents, but the relatively narrow lead, coupled with the reduction to 14, looked like it would challenge them. Duhallow didn’t play the sweeper system as well as they could and Nemo weren’t threatened.
“They got tangled, Tucker [O’Brien] and Donncha,” Kavanagh said.
“They were on the ground, there wasn’t much in it, a movement of the knee. We’ll appeal it.
“If the lads were playing well before the red card, they upped it again, they found another gear.”
While Donncha O’Connor did add a couple of frees for Duhallow in the resumption, Nemo kept on course with points from Fulignati, Connolly, Horgan, Dalton, and Michael Dorgan.
Gerry O’Connor, denied by Micheál Martin earlier in the second period, saved some face for Duhallow with a brilliant rasping shot to the net.
Another effort a minute later was repelled by the Cork panellists, ensuring that any notions of a fightback would remain just that.
Next up for the holders are the winners of the Aghada-Muskerry game in round 2A, while Duhallow face into a round 2B clash with Seandun.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: C. Dalton 2-2, L. Connolly 0-4 (frees), C. Horgan 1-1, J. Horgan 0-2, K. Fulignati, J. Donovan, P. Kerrigan, M. Dorgan, C. McWhinney 0-1 each.
Scorers for Duhallow: D. O’Connor 0-6 (3 frees, 1 45), M. Vaughan 0-3, G. O’Connor 1-0, F. O’Connor 0-1.
NEMO RANGERS: M. Martin; A. O’Reilly, C. O’Shea, A. Cronin; J. Donovan, S. Cronin, K. Fulignati; D. Niblock, M. Dorgan; J. Horgan, P. Kerrigan, C. O’Brien; C. Dalton, L. Connolly, C. Horgan.
Subs: C. McWhinney for O’Reilly (26, injured),
DUHALLOW: P. Doyle (Knocknagree); J. McLoughlin (Kanturk), E. O’Callaghan (Rockchapel), L. O’Neill (Kanturk); A.J. O’Connor (Kiskeam), S. Murphy (Ballydesmond), B. Daly (Newmarket); J. Corkery (Boherbue), M. Healy (Kanturk); F. O’Connor (Knocknagree), A. Carroll (Kiskeam), K. Holland (Kanturk); D. O’Connor (Ballydesmond), G. O’Connor (Boherbue), M. Vaughan (Millstreet).
Subs: J. Ryan (Newmarket) for Murphy (28, injured), K. Cremin (Boherbue) for Carroll (half-time), B. O’Connor (Newmarket) for F. O’Connor (45), A. Ryan (Newmarket) for Corkery (54), S. O’Sullivan (Kiskeam) for Holland (59, black card).
Referee: J. Bermingham (Bride Rovers).
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved