As in so many other years, Nemo Rangers were lining out on the day of the Cork senior football championship final.
The only difference was they were off Broadway, far from the pomp and ceremony of the showpiece event.
While Ballincollig were beating Carbery Rangers to claim the Andy Scannell Cup for the first time, Nemo were defeating O’Donovan Rossa in the semi-final of the Kelleher Shield, the County Football League Division 1.
Tonight in Páirc Uí Rinn (6.15pm), they face a Carbery Rangers side seeking to avoid a double defeat and Nemo selector Larry Kavanagh knows the way the opposition will be feeling.
“We were in the same situation as Ross last year, we were beaten in the county final and then we had to pick ourselves up for the Kelleher Shield final, but we won,” he said. “It’s tough, you need a couple of weeks and we’ve had that. We’ll just try to get some enthusiasm for it, it’s the second-most important competition. It bears no comparison to the county final but there’s a financial reward for the club so we’ll be doing our best.”
Beaten by Ballincollig in the SFC semi-final, the game tonight affords a chance to finish the year on a high.
“The post-mortems are over and it’s a chance to get out there and put that game behind us,” he said, “but it’s not like you’re using it as a launch-pad for next year either.
“It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere, you play the game and then stop as it’s the end of the season, see where you are again then in January.
“It stands in isolation. We haven’t done much training, maybe some fellas are approaching it in that they had a stinker in the county semi-final and they want to end the year on a positive note.”
With some key players missing – and new addition Tomás Ó Sé unlikely to play until the new year – the Trabeg side are likely to give youth a chance this evening. “We are using it from that perspective,” Kavanagh admitted. “A lot of older lads have Kelleher Shield medals coming out of their ears whereas a few of the younger lads haven’t won at senior level.
“If it was a championship game, you’d be flying fellas in from all over the place but anyone who might be unavailable, we’re telling them to stay away. It’s an opportunity for guys to get out there in a game that carries some pressure without it being a cut-throat championship match. We’ll give some of the U21s a run-out for the experience and they’re all good players, they’re not going to weaken the team, they’ll be enthusiastic.”
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