Winning manager Larry Kavanagh trusted his players to recover after St Finbarr’s whirlwind start, as Nemo bounced back to claim their 20th Cork SFC title.
Admittedly, Nemo got off to a slow start, conceding 1-1 inside the opening three minutes before gaining a foothold. Yet, Kavanagh was relieved his side managed to get back in the game, quickly matching their opponents’ 1-1 before seeing off a late St. Finbarr’s comeback.
The Nemo manager admitted his was concerned at his side’s sluggish opening: “I was very concerned with our slow start because we were against the wind and they (St. Finbarr’s) were locking us in,” stated Kavanagh.
“We were all a little concerned at that stage but responded and got back into it. I suppose in one way, it’s not too bad to go down 1-1 so early because you still have 57 minutes to get back into it. We knew our lads weren’t going to panic and that we could win it from anywhere, four points down or even 12 points up!
“True, St Finbarr’s had 10 wides in the first half but we were guilty of giving the ball away 11 times. That’s not like us, as we pride ourselves on keeping the ball but we couldn’t find our inside forward line.
“We were stressing to the lads at half-time we were only four up as opposed to being six up the week before. Everyone knew that St Finbarr’s were going to come back at us and that the wind wasn’t going to affect them as much, due to the way they run with the ball. The wind wasn’t that big a factor anyway as it wasn’t that strong.
“I must say when we stretched away towards the end, that I thought we were home and dry. All our experienced players were on the pitch at that stage and it was a case of just playing down the clock.”
Nemo’s ability to limit Stephen Sherlock and Ian Maguire’s influence were crucial factors in Rangers’ victory, considering the impact the duo had in the drawn final.
“We tried to stop Ian Maguire at source,” Larry Kavanagh admitted.
“Once Ian gets his legs going, he is very hard to stop him. Barry O’Driscoll didn’t score too much for us today but sacrificed a lot to come in off the wing and stop Maguire. Even Ciaran Dalton, near the end, got stuck in and stopped him (Ian Maguire) giving away a free. We were just conscious of stopping him whereas the likes of Stephen Sherlock is always going to kick points, no matter who is on him.” Trying to process his club’s 20th county final success was proving difficult a mere 15 minutes after the final whistle shrilled but a relieved Larry Kavanagh admitted he was delighted with the manner in which his side bounced back from such a sluggish start.
“I don’t know where the last 15 minutes went. I looked up to the scoreboard at one stage when we were 11 or 12 up and said we are home and dry,” said Nemo’s bainistoeir.
“The last quarter of an hour was a bit of blur and we probably had emptied the bench at that stage so there wasn’t a whole lot we could have done. I don’t know how they got that goal from the late free but we hung in and it is all about winning.
“I’d say it was a great game for the neutral as there were lots of goals going in. Jack Horgan got a bullet although I thought he might have overdone it in the build-up. I thought he would put over but it was a goal. Luke’s (Connolly) one, you’d say don’t be taking it on from such an impossible angle but again, a great goal.”
Nemo Rangers now turn their attention to the Munster club championship and a meeting with the Waterford champions but not before the Capwell club’s hurlers are in county action next weekend.
For now, Kavanagh, his players and backroom team can bask in the glow of another hard-earned title on an afternoon two goals in either half were crucial to delivering the Andy Scannell Cup.
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