It’s rare Nemo Rangers fail to win the first round of the Cork County SFC and rarer still they are limited to just three points from play.
But that’s what happened at Páirc Uí Rínn yesterday.
But, while the Trabeg club didn’t win, they didn’t lost either as a six-point half-time deficit against Bishopstown was overcome and 20 minutes of extra-time could not separate the sides either, meaning are play, likely to be next week.
While the outcome may be seen as an opportunity missed for Bishopstown, who were the better side for a good deal of the game, they showed mental strength as well to send the game to extra-time, Daniel O’Donovan and Denis Crowleypointing to level at 1-10 apiece.
Their manager Brian Cuthbert was not too disappointed, preferring to focus on the positives. “Going in at half-time we were delighted we had played so well, but they’re an experienced team and we knew they’d come back at us. We’re a team in our infancy. but I was pleased with the way we battled to the end. I think there’s a bit of resolve about us.
“It’s a first-round game, it doesn’t really matter, I think Nemo would like a second game as well. Whatever way you get to round four is fine once you get there.”
Leading by 1-6 to 0-3 at the interval, Bishopstown were favourites to cause a upset and get to round four by defeating the 7/4 competition favourites. On the resumption, however, Nemo’s Peter Morgan, who had just been moved from centre-back to midfield, took off on a marauding run which was halted illegally in the large rectangle.
Barry O’Driscoll sent his Cork team-mate Ken O’Halloran the wrong way from the penalty spot and it was the attacker who was his team’s key man in the opening stages of the second half, kicking three good frees as they ate into the lead, more direct running at the Bishopstown defence drawing fouls.
In the opening period, the 2010 county champions were out of sorts, exemplified by James Masters missing two scoreable frees, and Denis Crowley’s 17th-minute goal gave ‘Town a 1-2 to 0-2 lead, the full-forward rising well to meet an O’Donovan free from deep and send it past Darren Farry.
Further points from Crowley and Fiachra Ó Deasúnaigh made it 1-4 to 0-2 and while a Luke Connolly free briefly interrupted the flow, two O’Donovan frees, the latter a super outside-of-the-boot effort from distance in injury time, left six in it at half-time.
But, as the second-half wore on, the game took on an air of inevitability, Morgan, captain Colin O’Brien and Alan Cronin Junior all shining for Nemo while Brian O’Regan did well after moving to centre-back.
Two Connolly frees tied the game at 1-8 each before Bishopstown captain Michael Power received a second yellow card following an off-the-ball incident with Barry O’Driscoll, and enjoying the extra space, Nemo took the lead for the first time, Paul Kerrigan with their first point from play on 55 before sub Michael Dorgan, who also impressed, added another.
Normally, a two-point lead for Nemo with time scarce would only lead to one result, but Bishopstown kept battling,
O’Donovan’s free after Jack O’Shea was fouled gave them a chance, and when the excellent Alan O’Connor won the kickout, the ball was worked to the equally-excellent Crowley, who fisted over to send the game into extra time.
As both teams tired, there was not as much incident, two points each in the first period, though O’Halloran was called upon to make an excellent save from Kerrigan. Nemo had chances in the second period, but the 10 minutes did not yield any more scores, and the sides must do it all over again.
Scorers for Nemo Rangers: B O’Driscoll 1-4 (0-3f), L Connolly 0-4 (0-2f, 0-2 45), J Masters 0-2f, P Kerrigan, M Dorgan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Bishopstown: D Crowley 1-3, D O’Donovan 0-5f, D Ó Deasúnaigh 0-2, J O’Shea, K O’Halloran (0-1 45) 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: D Farry; A O’Reilly, S Twomey, Alan Cronin Junior; C O’Brien, P Morgan, B O’Regan; D Mehigan, D Niblock; W Morgan, Alan Cronin Senior, B O’Driscoll; J Masters, L Connolly, P Kerrigan.
Subs: Brian Twomey for Mehigan (half-time), David Kearney for Masters (47), M Dorgan for P Morgan (50, injured), Mehigan for Alan Cronin Senior (76).
BISHOPSTOWN: K O’Halloran; J McLoughlin, J O’Sullivan, E Byrne; E Deasy, M Power, N O’Donovan; D O’Donovan, A O’Connor; J O’Shea, D Hickey, I Jones; C O’Neill, D Crowley, F Ó Deasúnaigh.
Subs: P O’Connor for Hickey, C Dorman for N O’Donovan (both 42), M Driscoll for O’Neill (49), D Lester on as 15th player (start of extra-time), B O’Callaghan for Driscoll (70), Hickey for P O’Connor (70, injured), C O’Neill for Deasy (72, injured).
Referee: C Lane (Banteer).
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