Valley Rovers 3-7 Nemo Rangers 0-7: After losing their 2013 Cork County U21 A Football Championship title at the semi-final stage to Nemo Rangers last year, having been forced into a final replay a few weeks ago by the Cork city side, Valley Rovers ended up with a resounding victory to capture their second title in a welter of excitement at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
A magnificent second half display during which they outscored Nemo by 2-4 to 0-3 was enough to see them through to their comprehensive win, a source of delight to coach Barry Casey.
“We were two points to the good at half time but it was important we started well in the second half. I couldn’t have been happier with the way they responded.”
It took his side a considerable length of time to make an impact as Nemo stormed into a three-point lead.
Ryan Kennedy set the ball rolling with a second-minute free and that was followed with points by Jack Donovan and Conor Horgan.
As Valleys fought to get to grips with the slippery conditions, Nemo were not, however, able to add to their tally and within a minute in the middle of the half they found themselves behind.
Billy Crowley pointed for Valley’s opening score and they had hardly settled when Chris O’Leary sent Eoin O’Reilly storming through to beat the defence and the keeper with an angled shot to the net.
O’Reilly and O’Brien added points quickly and Valley Rovers led by a goal after their early struggles.
Nemo struck back through Kevin O’Donovan after 27 minutes, their first score for 23 minutes, and generally finished the first half stronger.
However, they sent three shots wide to leave Valleys’ hold onto a two points advantage at the break, 1-3 to 0-4.
Having had to defend strongly in the opening couple of minutes after the break, Valleys responded with a magnificent point from full-back Ben Murphy and then another from O’Reilly to stretch the lead out to four points.
That advantage became eight pretty quickly, with Billy Crowley smashing home a second goal for his side and O’Reilly adding a point to give their side a 2-6 to 0-4 lead by the 40th minute.
Conor Horgan had a rare chance of a Nemo goal but shot weakly at keeper David Lynch and O’Reilly stretched the lead to nine points with another score before the midway point of the half.
Ryan Kennedy raised a rare cheer from the Nemo supporters when he kicked a 48th minute point from a free, followed by others from Conor Horgan and Kennedy.
But, as Nemo edged closer, Valley Rovers sealed the deal with a further goal from O’Reilly to complete a great evening.
Scorers Valley Rovers:
E O’Reilly 2-4, B Crowley 1-1, T O’Brien, B Murphy 0-1 each.
R Kennedy 0-3 (0-2 frees), C Horgan 0-2, J O’Donovan, K O’Donovan 0-1 each
D Lynch, I Crowley, B Murphy, Tomas O’Brien, D Lordan, J Lyons (captain), J Kiely, C O’Leary, D Murphy, D O’Sullivan, J Murphy, D Looney, E O’Reilly, B Crowley, Tadgh O’Brien.
D O’Brien for Tomas O’Brien (48, black card), E fallon for D Looney (50), D Canty for Tadgh O’Brien (53), P Hurley for B Crowley (57), C Devlin for C O’Leary (60).
M A Martin (captain), D Barrett, C Madden, N Murphy, R McCarthy, D Kerins, B O’Connor, A O’Donovan, J Donovan, I Dorney, R Kennedy, D O’Mahony, K O’Donovan, C Horgan, C Goold.
P O’Keeffe for C Goold, T O’Sullivan for D O’Mahony (both 39), M Crowley for N Murphy (43), B Madden for K O’Donovan (52), E Compagno for I Dorney (58)
T Hayes (Eire Og)
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