Nemo can find their revenge

Rangers to cap Cork's perfect year with Crokes scalpMUNSTER CLUB SFC FINAL

Frank Roche

NEMO RANGERS (Cork) v DR CROKES (Kerry) Gaelic Grounds, Tomorrow 2.0, live TG4

A SPECIAL year for Cork football could end on a perfect note in Limerick tomorrow. Especially if you answer to the name Paul Kerrigan or Derek Kavanagh.

Kerrigan and the now-retired Kavanagh (usually as an impact sub) were key figures in helping the Leesiders end their 20-year All-Ireland famine this season, the county having earlier claimed National League glory in spring. Now they can top it off with a Munster club medal to boot.

You might wonder how much value Nemo Rangers place on another provincial title when the club already has 14 to its name.


But here's one compelling reason: not alone is tomorrow another opportunity for some bragging rights in the eternal Cork/Kerry feud, it is also a timely chance for revenge.

Four years ago, Dr Crokes met Nemo in a Munster semi-final as Kerry representatives (not champions) and confounded the odds with a stunning 2-10 to 0-10 victory in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Only this week, Nemo manager Eddie Kirwan remarked: "The likes of Paul and Derek have had a long year but they know there's a lot still to play for.

"That defeat to Crokes when they weren't champions a few years ago certainly doesn't sit easy with them.

"No matter how tired they might feel, it's unlikely that it'll be seen in this final."

Leaving aside their historic pedigree, Nemo boast an incredible record this season -- they have won 29 of their 30 games played, including a 1-12 to 1-5 victory over Stradbally of Waterford at the semi-final stage.

Crokes survived a far trickier penultimate hurdle against Aherlow.

Don't be fooled by the 2-11 to 0-9 scoreline (after extra-time): during the allotted hour they trailed by two points in stoppage time only to be saved by a dramatic brace from centre-back Luke Quinn.

Duly reprieved, they surged clear in extra-time but afterwards their former Kerry star, Eoin Brosnan, admitted that the Killarney men "got out of jail".

Their earlier quarter-final display against Monaleen was a more compelling showcase for Crokes' forward pedigree: they crushed the Limerick challengers by 2-13 to 1-3, with the peerless Colm Cooper (2-5, 4f) and his young accomplice Dáithí Casey (0-5, 2f) leading the rout.

Countering that, there's a world of difference between Monaleen and Nemo. If the Cork champions can limit the masterful influence of 'Gooch', they will be halfway to victory, one that will crown a great year and banish some painful 2006 memories into the bargain.

ODDS: Nemo 3/4, Draw 6/1, Dr Crokes 6/4.