Sunday 22 April 2018

GAA Club round up - Rathnew stun St. Vincent's while Dr Crokes cruise into Munster final

12 November 2017; Rathnew players celebrate after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final match between Rathnew and St Vincent's at Joule Park in Aughrim, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
12 November 2017; Rathnew players celebrate after the AIB Leinster GAA Football Senior Club Championship Quarter-Final match between Rathnew and St Vincent's at Joule Park in Aughrim, Wicklow. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

A full round up of today's club games as Wicklow champions Rathnew stun Dublin giants St. Vincent's while a late Daithí Burke goal booked Corofin a place infourth straight Connacht final.

Stafford strike seals famous day for Rathnew

Conor McKeon

ALL last week, Harry Murphy’s phone buzzed with media requests.

“It’s always the same when you play the Dubs,” he laughed yesterday afternoon after his Rathnew team had pulled off arguably the shock of this GAA season and in doing so, added another layer of mystique to Aughrim’s aura.

 “But I think it was a token gesture. It was like, ‘you’re going to get beaten…but you might as well have your say before you get beaten.’

As it panned out, James Stafford had the decisive say, kicking the last 1-2 of the match to oust the reigning Dublin and Leinster champions and cast Rathnew in the semi-final of a provincial competition blown wide open by yesterday’s sequence of results.

 “I suppose we’re a big fish in a small pond in Wicklow but outside of that people mightn’t have given us a chance,” noted the effervescent, Leighton Glynn, a survivor of Rathnew’s last great coup, their 2001 Leinster final replay defeat of Na Fianna.

“Written off by everyone bar ourselves,” he added wryly.

They began the day as 15/2 outsiders and with some justification.

Vincent’s had won Leinster in their four previous attempts.

It had been all of six years since a Dublin club were beaten in the provincial competition.

“In fairness now, we knew it was going to be a massive task. But we felt if we played as well as we could possible play, we could give them a good go,” outlined Murphy, who managed the team to that 2001 triumph over Na Fianna.

More recently, Murphy had little joy with the Wicklow county team after taking over from Mick O’Dwyer in 2011 but yesterday was another day of days for him.

“And I don’t think we could have played much better. We started a bit nervously and we gave them some chances early on.”

Vincent’s disappointment today will be in knowing that for all their inertia, they should have kicked on after Mossy Quinn’s goal put them in the lead in the 46th minute.

As it went, it transpired to be their last score of the game.

Without the injured Nathan Mullins, Brendan Egan and the unavailable Cameron Diamond, they found their reserves of back-up to be shallower than required.

Ger Brennan limped off midway through the second half.

Diarmuid Connolly, an injury doubt during the week, was peripheral throughout, scored just a single pointed free, and never really escaped the adhesive attentions of Damien Power.

“Just goes to show,” Murphy nodded.

“Damien is one of the guys that’s hanging in from the Leinster win in 2001.

“So to go in and play on a footballer like Connolly….Damien is normally a full-back but Connolly dragged him all over the field.”

Vincent’s opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 lead early on but on a heavy pitch, their attacking play was slow and forced.

Shane Carthy gave them a useful ball-winning outlet all afternoon but the final ball  - and frequently, their shooting - wasn’t polished.

It granted Rathnew impetus and a one point half-time lead and thanks to Glynn and Ross O’Brien, that quickly increased to three after the throw-in.

With those two scores, Aughrim hummed with excitement.

“Second half, they put in a masterful performance,” noted Murphy.

“We knew we’d have to do that. We knew we wouldn’t beat a team with the calibre of footballer they have…we’ve been playing in fits and starts all year.

“But you weren’t going to be able to do it to them.”

“That second half performance was as good as we’ve ever played.”

In the 46th minute, after Enda Varley had snipped Rathnew’s lead down to a point, Eamonn Fennell won a kick-out, fed Carthy who, in turn, slipped a ball to Varley.

The former Mayo forward found Quinn at the back post where he palmed the ball into the Rathnew net.

Such has been their efficiency at this time of year, it felt then as though Vincent’s had the required experience to manipulate a win from their newfound position of authority.

It turned out to be their last score.

Stafford, a totemic presence in midfield, put the Wicklow champions back level.

Then, after O’Brien sent a long ball in to the edge of square, Stafford fetched with one hand, spun and buried his shot past Michael Savage.

“I was just thinking the same as any other one,” he reflected. “Rattle it in.”

And to cap it off, he kicked another long-range point in injury-time to the delirious roars of the Rathnew support.

“Our crowd are a resilient crowd,” announced Murphy proudly.

“They’re a good set of lads. They battle right to the end. They believe in themselves.

“It’s a great trait to have,” he added. “To fight until the end.”

SCORERS – Rathnew: J Stafford 1-2, M Doyle 0-4 (3f), E Doyle 0-3 (2f), L Glynn 0-2, P Merrigan, R O’Brien 0-1 each. Vincent’s: T Quinn 1-3 (0-2f, 0-1 ’45), G Burke, D Connolly (f), R Trainor, S Carthy 0-1 each.

RATHNEW: P Dignam; P Merrigan, D Power, J Snell; W Kavanagh, R O’Brien, E Glynn; J Stafford, T Smith; G Merrigan, L Glynn, D Staunton; S Byrne, M Doyle, E Doyle. Subs: J Manley for Staunton (52), J Merrigan for Byrne (58)

ST. VINCENT’S: M Savage; M Concarr, J Curley, C Wilson; F Breathnach, G Brennan, L Sheehy; L Galvin, D Murphy; G Burke, S Carthy, Cormac Diamond; E Varley, D Connolly, T Quinn. Subs: E Fennell for Galvin (35), R Trainor for Diamond (40), J McCusker for Brennan (44), J Feeney for Murphy (52), T Diamond for Burke (61)

REF: D Gough (Meath)

Heslin penalty prompts recovery as Loman's leave it late for revenge

St Loman's 1-12 Mullinalaghta 1-11

Colm Keys

As news from Aughrim, where St Vincent’s had been toppled by Rathnew, filtered through to Pearse Park, quickly followed word of Portlaoise’s exit to Moorefield, the importance of St Loman’s last-quarter winning surge was magnified.

Six points down with no real sign of urgency about them after 47 minutes, when talented Mullinalaghta forward Rian Brady kicked his side’s last score for a 1-11 to 0-8 lead, Loman’s left the pitch 20 minutes later to a standing ovation from the visiting support and the realisation that they are now in the mix for the most open Leinster club SFC for some time.

They can dare to dream but they’ll have to develop consistency.

Controlling

For so long they were going nowhere against a Mullinalaghta side that hit them hard and often and were controlling the game until substitute Kieran Kilmurray was brought down by Paddy Fox on 53 minutes and John Heslin converted the penalty to leave them just a point in arrears.

With wind and now momentum, it put them firmly in the driving seat, and they were able to grind out a win with points from another sub Ciaran Lynam and Paddy Dowdall to exact revenge for last year’s defeat at the same stage.

That point from Dowdall, more noted as a hurler, came in the first minute of seven added minutes played for a sequence of stoppages and had its source in Heslin breaking up a Mullinalaghta attack.

Heslin showed an early glimpse of the magic he can conjure with St Loman’s first point, after a surging run from midfield where he had claimed a kick-out.

By that stage the three-in-a-row Westmeath champions were reeling from a quick 1-2 from the home side with Gary Rogers and James McGivney pointing either side of David McGivney’s goal.

Mullinalaghta put a lot of pressure on the St Loman’s kick-out into the wind.

James McGivney’s accuracy told with three fine points, and Gary Rogers chipped in with three.

Back-to-back monster frees from 50 metres from Heslin in the 50th and 51st minute nudged Loman’s from their slumber, allied to the impact they got from their bench through Kilmurray, Lynam and Conrad Reilly.

Centre-forward Ronan O’Toole won both frees, taking breaks off kick-outs, and he really was the orchestrator of so much for the Mullingar side. 

Manager Luke Dempsey felt the attitude had been right.

“We felt we left it behind us here last year,” he said. “Those lads were very focused. We were very disappointed with the way we started, we weren’t firing on all cylinders but we knew that there were players chomping at the bit. Those four (substitutes) really made the difference.”

He credited Heslin too for his industry even when Loman’s couldn’t get him into the game as Mullinalaghta defenders Shane Mulligan, Conan Brady and Donal McElligott held firm.

“Even things are not going well for him you can see him in the second half getting back and blocking a crucial move,” said Dempsey.

Mullinalaghta manager Mickey Graham reckoned the penalty turned the game.

“I felt we were managing the game well until the penalty and controlling everything,” he reflected. “It was a killer blow. It’ll be in the back of our minds, what might have been and it will be like that for a few days.”

Scorers - St Loman’s: J Heslin 1-7 (1-0 pen, 0-6fs), S Dempsey 0-2, K Casey, P Dowdall, C Lynam 0-1 each. Mullinalaghta: D McGivney 1-0, J McGivney, G Rogers, J Matthews (2fs) 0-3 each, R Brady 0-2.

St Loman’s – J Daly; G Grehan, G Glennon, J O’Toole; D Whelan, P Dowdall, N O’Toole; P Sharry, S Flanagan; K Reilly, R O’Toole, D Windsor; K Casey, J Heslin, S Dempsey. Subs: K Kilmurray for Whelan inj (34), C Lynam for Reilly (41), G Hickey for Windsor (48), C Reilly for Dempsey (48).

Mullinalaghta – P Rogers; S Cadam, D McElligott, P Fox; F Mulligan, S Mulligan, C Brady; A McElligott, J Keegan; G Rogers, J McGivney, C McElligott; J Matthews, D McGivney, R Brady. Subs: R McElligott for C McElligott (47), J Mooney for Brady (54).

Ref – C Reilly (Meath)

Extra-time fails to separate Ulster sides in dour struggle

Cavan Gaels 0-12 D'gonnelly 0-12

Orla Bannon

It was a huge opportunity for one of these sides to come through the weaker side of the draw in Ulster and reach the final, but both teams struggled under the weight of expectation at Clones yesterday.

Neither side did themselves justice over the 80 minutes, though at least they played with a lot more urgency in the second-half.

Extra-time was low on entertainment value, but they will both hope for better in the replay this weekend.

It finished 0-10 each after normal time, with Conall Jones’ injury-time free levelling it.

Derrygonnelly had come from four points down, Cavan Gaels falling apart after Levi Murphy’s red card as they failed to score in the last 24 minutes of normal time.

Paul Ward missed two frees towards the end of normal time and another free to win it for Derrygonnelly at the end of extra-time, meaning champions Slaughtneil will have to wait to see who they’ll face in the final on November 26.

The sides were level three times in a competitive first-half which was low on drama.

Cavan Gaels were 0-03 to 0-01 ahead after 13 minutes, but after a slow start Derrygonnelly settled, with the three Jones brothers – Ryan, Conall and Garvan –all to the fore.

The Fermanagh champions reeled off four unanswered points in a nine-minute spell.

Ward’s tap-over free then nudged Derrygonnelly in front at 0-06 to 0-05 at the break.

Both teams got their scores in flurries.

Cavan Gaels flew out of the traps and hit five in-a-row in the opening nine minutes of the second half to lead 0-10 to 0-06.

Seanie Johnston pulled the strings from a deep-lying role and Murphy (two), Martin Dunne and Paul O’Connor all scored from play.

It looked ominous for Harps, but they hit back, with Garvan Jones getting the pick of their scores and Conall Jones’ free levelling it in the first minute of injury-time.

The pace was upped significantly in the last quarter of normal time, with both teams moving the ball quicker and starting to play with far more urgency.

Derrygonnelly twice took the lead in extra-time and twice Gaels drew level, with sub Darragh Sexton hitting the last point in the 77th minute to set up a replay.

Scorers – Cavan Gaels: M Dunne 0-4 (2f), L Murphy 0-2, N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham, P O’Connor, D Sexton, S Johnson (1f) 0-1 each

Derrygonnelly: P Ward 0-5 (3f), G Jones, G McKenna (1f) 0-2 each, R Jones, D Cassidy, C Jones (1f) 0-1 each

Cavan Gaels: C Flynn; L Fortune, N Murray, K Meehan; S Murray, B Fortune, L Murphy; P Graham, P Maloney-Derham; N Smith, D Meehan, A Graham; P O’Connor, S Johnston, M Dunne. Subs: V Coyle for P Graham (BC, 36), S Higgins for A Graham (53), D Sexton for S Murray (BC, 60), S Fitzsimons for Smith (68), M Lyng for O’Connor (76).

Derrygonnelly Harps: D Feely; Shane McGullion, Lee Jones, M Jones; N Gallagher, E McHugh, G McGinley; R Jones, G Jones; K Cassidy, P Ward, D Cassidy; G McKenna, Leigh Jones, C Jones. Subs: Stephen McGullion for Cassidy (31), A Gallagher for Lee Jones (42), K Cassidy for Leigh Jones (51), Lee Jones for N Gallagher (63), Leigh Jones for Stephen McGullion (71), Stephen McGullion for A Gallagher (78).

REF – P Hughes (Armagh).

Kirby strike shoots down O’Hara troops as Mitchels set up Corofin showdown

Declan Rooney

A powerful second half and Danny Kirby’s late goal saw Castlebar Mitchels into the final, where they will face Galway champions Corofin in a re-run of the decider two years ago.

The sides also met in last year’s semi-final, which Corofin won.

The Mayo men face into the final after coming through a significant test from Eamonn O’Hara’s Tourlestrane.

After a first half with a powerful wind at their backs, Tourlestrane were well in contention and level at 0-7 each.

However, despite taking the lead after the restart, they fell away abruptly as Castlebar forced weakening opponents to submit.

David Stenson kept his side in touch with five first-half points, Neil Douglas slotted three long-range frees after the break, while Kirby’s goal with eight minutes left was the killer blow.

COMFORTABLE

“I thought at that stage we looked very comfortable,” said Castlebar manager Declan Shaw.

“We were three points ahead and I think we were controlling the game fairly well. The goal was a great break, a turnover deep in our own half and I think once that goal went in the game was over as a contest.

“We played Tourlestrane last year and I think they are a well improved side since then. They were very, very defensive last year but they also had a real attacking threat this year too, breaking at pace. It was tough there in the first half for us; we had to dig deep.”

There is no doubt that Tourlestrane are heading in the right direction, and if they could have sustained the standard they showed for 40 minutes for another ten at least they would been a far bigger threat.

They were disciplined in their structure, soaked plenty of bodies behind the ball, attacked rapidly in large numbers and then fought hard to regain possession whenever they lost it.

A couple of points from Liam Gaughan and John Kelly gave the Sligo men a great start, but with Stenson accurate from placed balls Mitchels kept in touch.

The Tourlestrane blueprint was clear after 20 minutes when Alan Dunne broke down the left following a quick free from his captain James Leonard, and Dunne swung over a great point on the run.

Unfortunately for the Sligo champions, they rarely saw those chances as Mitchels ramped up their own defensive efforts in the second half.

Castlebar scored eight points from placed balls, and according to Tourlestrane boss O’Hara, his side struggled to cope with the way the game was refereed.

“These experienced teams get away with a lot of cute stuff, the smart stuff. We are trying to instil it in our game in Sligo,” said O’Hara.

“The game is officiated completely different in Sligo where you cannot put your hand on a fella.

“Here it’s very much hands-on; it’s physical; it’s in your face and it comes down to the referee’s discretion whether he’s going to pull it or not on the day.

“Any time we tried to put the aggression in we got pulled for it and any time it was done to us we weren’t getting any results.

“Overall I’m bitterly disappointed with the referee’s performance, I’ll be straight in saying that. But I don’t blame the referee either, Castlebar are a wonderful team and they are going to really test whoever they meet in the final.”

Egan’s fourth free gave Tourlestrane the lead after half-time and at that point they looked really comfortable at the grade. But they conceded 1-6 without reply over a 27-minute spell, which saw the fight slowly seep away from them.

TURNOVER

Kirby’s goal came following a strong turnover deep in Mitchels territory, and after a quick break away, James Durcan sent him in on goal and he finished calmly. But he also kicked a couple of fine points from play, including his team’s first from wide on the right, and another huge score from the left side, which opened out a two-point lead for his side, moments after Tourlestrane substitute John Francis Carr flashed a shot wide at the other end.

In the closing moments of the game Tourlestrane’s Liam Gaughan was shown a straight red card following an off the ball incident with Mitchels defender Donie Newcombe, but a good score from James Leonard was all Tourlestrane could manage in the closing stages. After matching the Mitchels for so long, they finished a long way behind.

Scorers – Castlebar Mitchels: D Stenson 0-6 (5f), D Kirby 1-2, N Douglas 0-3 (2f, 1’45), A Dunne 0-2, P Durcan, J Durcan 0-1. Tourlestrane: B Egan 0-4 (4f), J Leonard, L Gaughan, G Gaughan, J Kelly 0-1.

Castlebar Mitchels – R Byrne (c); J Maughan, G McDonagh, D Newcombe; N McCarney, E O’Reilly, P Durcan; A Walsh, B Moran; J Durcan, D Kirby, C Costello; D Stenson, N Douglas, R O’Malley. Subs: S Irwin for Maughan 43 bc, S Hopkins for McCarney 52, A O’Boyle for Moran 55, M Towey for P Durcan 57, C Stenson for Costello 59.

Tourlestrane – A Bowens; C Neary, B Walsh, N Gaughan; G Gaughan, S Dunne, J Leonard (c); S Henry, A McIntyre; A Dunne, B Egan, C Henry; J Kelly, P Harte, L Gaughan. Subs: JF Carr for S Henry 30, J Quinn for Harte 44, C Marren for S Dunne 49, J Marren for Kelly 50.

Ref – J Molloy (Galway).

Slaughtneil one win away from remarkable ‘treble-double’

Slaughtneil 2-17 Kilcar 0-17

Declan Bogue

THE ‘double-treble’ or the ‘treble-double’ – nobody quite knows what to call it – but Slaughtneil are just an hour of football away from defending their Ulster titles in football, hurling and camogie after they came through a difficult test against Kilcar in Healy Park on Saturday night.

How they did it was a marvel as at half-time they were a point down, 0-8 to 0-7, and it appeared that Kilcar’s impressive running game, along with the accuracy of Paddy McBrearty, could spell the end for the leg-weary Derrymen.

The secret came in their composure. Kilcar had four gilt-edged goal chances and spurned each one – not to mention the excellence of Antoin McMullan in the Slaughtneil goal – while Slaughtneil hit only two wides in the game, the second coming in the final play of the contest.

To put it another way, Kilcar had 24 efforts at goal all evening while Slaughtneil had 21. This is what economy of effort looks and feels like.

“We were a point down and they were really putting it up to us, there’s no two ways about it,” said Slaughtneil’s assistant manager John Joe Kearney with an audible ‘phew’ afterwards.

“I suppose they had their goal chances in either half that they didn’t put away. It could have left it a different result or a lot closer anyway. At half-time, we knew what they were capable of.

“Things went for us in the second half. We got the scores when we needed and it gave us a platform to go on.”

By the quarter-hour mark Slaughtneil found themselves 0-6 to 0-1 up, Shane McGuigan and Christopher Bradley from the dead balls were accurate and a jink from Bradley after he was serviced from a quick free from McKaigue had them in a comfortable position.

But Kilcar began to push their case and they got Slaughtneil on the back foot.

McBrearty had been struggling against Rogers but the ball began to stick with his first touch and he grabbed five first-half points, three of them from play, as they turned the screw.

Kilcar were to account for the last three points of the half with McBrearty granting them the lead at the break, 0-8 to 0-7.

Just when you question Slaughtneil, they respond emphatically. The ‘Championship Quarter’ was all theirs, with the McKaigue brothers setting the standards.

After trading two points each, the Derrymen hit 1-4 without reply to go six clear. The hammer blow came with a Slaughtneil goal when Bradley played Sé McGuigan in who rode a couple of challenges before blasting  the ball into the net off the crossbar.

The second goal arrived with a minute of normal time to play, Shane McGuigan expertly drawing the Kilcar defence before a swift handpass across the goal for Christopher Bradley to palm home.

SCORERS – Slaughtneil: C Bradley 1-5 (1f, 1 45), Sé McGuigan 1-0, Shane McGuigan 0-3, M McGrath, B Cassidy and C O’Doherty 0-2 each, P Cassidy, K McKaigue and C McKaigue 0-1 each. Kilcar:  P McBrearty 0-10 (5f), B McGinley, M McClean, A McClean, C McGinley, M McHugh, S McBrearty, E McHugh 0-1 each.  

SLAUGHTNEIL – A McMullan; P McNeill, B Rogers, K McKaigue; F McEldowney, C McKaigue, K Feeney; Patsy Bradley, P Cassidy; R Bradley, Shane McGuigan, M McGrath; C Bradley, Sé McGuigan, C O’Doherty. Subs: B McGuigan for McGrath (24-29, blood sub), B Cassidy for O’Doherty (30), B McGuigan for Patsy Bradley (60).

KILCAR – E McGinley; B McGinley 0-1, C McShane, B Shovlin; R McHugh, M Hegarty, P Carr; C McGinley 0-1, M McHugh 0-1; S McBrearty 0-1, E McHugh 0-1, C Doherty; A McClean 0-1, P McBrearty 0-10, 5f, S Shovlin. Subs: M McClean 0-1 for S Shovlin, 42m, M Sweeney for C McGinley, 44m, B O’Donnell for McShane, 60m

REF – Sean Hurson (Tyrone)

Buckley hits stride as Crokes stroll into decider

Dr Crokes 2-19 Kilmurry Ibrickane 0-10

Kilmurry Ibrickane travelled to Killarney in the belief that they could pitch up in the Kingdom and make reasonable claims that there was nothing to fear.

After all, they had players on their panel who boasted two Munster medals and who had beaten Kerry opposition in Kerins O’Rahillys in 2009. They were well beaten by Dr Crokes last year, but they could point to the fact that they had come close when the sides met in 2011 and 2012.

However, all optimism among the large travelling Clare support for this Munster club semi-final yesterday was quickly wiped out.

In truth, Dr Crokes had the game wrapped up by half-time. By then they enjoyed a 1-11 to 0-4 lead, but even that cushion hardly did their dominance justice. Kieran O’Leary, Gavin White and Brian Looney all spurned decent goal chances in a one-sided first-half.

The Kilmurry goal was living a charmed life early on, but it couldn’t last. With Dr Crokes leading 0-5 to 0-2, they finally got the breakthrough.

The Clare men were struggling badly on their own kick-out and Johnny Buckley, who was dominant for the Kerry men, took a fine mark to set the wheels in motion and his quick give-and-go gave him a clean run on the Kilmurry goal. Ian McInerney would pull off a fine save from White later in the half, but he could do nothing about Buckley’s low effort.

Crokes didn’t have it all their own way and suffered a setback when goalkeeper Shane Murphy was forced off with a head injury, while Ambrose O’Donovan was shown a black card.

Kilmurry rounded off the scoring when Martin McMahon burst a hole in the Crokes defence, but he could only manage a point when a goal was on.

Aidan Moloney’s men managed the first two points of the second-half, but it didn’t look like anything more than window dressing.

Bizarre

Mark McCarthy was Kilmurry’s best player by a distance and his three second-half points came against the run of play.

Even the bizarre sight of Fionn Fitzgerald opting for a cross-field pass in front of his own goal that screwed off his boot and went out for a ‘45’ did little to upset the home side.

Fitzgerald would atone for that later when he made one of three consecutive blocks by Crokes players when Kilmurry threatened a goal.

And the Kerry men then swept down the field and grabbed their second major. Goalkeeper Ian McInerney fumbled a dropping ball and Kieran O’Leary was on hand to knock home from close range.

Colm Cooper became more influential at this stage, knocking over some fine points off both feet. It was academic at that stage, but Crokes could have scored much more than the 2-19 they finished with.

Cooper misplaced a pass when a goal looked on, while Micheal Burns rattled the bar with another effort. 

“We are very happy with the performance overall,” Dr Crokes selector Harry O’Neill said afterwards.

“In fairness the two lads in midfield gave us the platform early on and the backs created openings. Having said that, we weren’t clinical enough early on.

“After 10 minutes we could have had another 2-3 on the board, which was disappointing at that stage of the game. But our lads are experienced enough and they kept plugging away.”

Kilmurry Ibrickane manager Moloney didn’t pull any punches afterwards, admitting his side were outclassed from start to finish.

And he warned that Crokes are an even better side than the one that beat them in Munster last year on their way to glory on St Patrick’s Day.

Super

“This is a different team even again from last year, they have moved up a level again and they are going to take a lot of stopping,” Moloney said.

“They have some super athletes out there that we couldn’t cope with, especially in the first-half. Without a doubt they are fabulous side and we didn’t have answers for them today.”

Dr Crokes move into a Munster final against Nemo Rangers, but the games are coming thick and fast. They have the not insignificant matter of a clash with rivals Legion in the East Kerry championship next weekend before they can think about the Cork men.

“Obviously (the schedule) is a worry because at this time of year pitches are that bit heavier, so it is more difficult and the chances of picking up knocks are strains is greater. At the same time, if you are playing matches in October and November you are in a very happy place,” added O’Neill.

SCORERS – Dr Crokes: C Cooper 0-9 (6f), K O’Leary 1-1, J Buckley 1-0, M Burns, G O’Shea 0-2 each, T Brosnan, G White, D O’Leary, D Casey, B Looney 0-1 each.

Kilmurry Ibrickane: M McCarthy 0-4, K Sexton 0-2 (1 ’45, 1f), N Hickey, M McMahon, D Coughlan, I McInerney (1f) 0-1 each.

Dr Crokes: S Murphy; J Payne, M Moloney, L Quinn; D O’Leary, F Fitzgerald, G White; J Buckley, A O’Donovan; M Burns, G O’Shea, B Looney; C Cooper, D Casey, K O’Leary Subs: T Brosnan for O’Donovan (16 BC), J O’Leary for Murphy (24), S Doolan for Looney (45), P Clarke for K O’Leary (50), J Lyne for Quinn (52), E Brosnan for Cooper (55).

Kilmurry Ibrickane: I McInerney; E Talty, D Hickey, M Killeen; S Moloney, M McMahon, S Hickey; K Sexton, K King; N Hickey, D Couglan, M Horgan; M O’Dwyer, M McCarthy, E Coughlan Subs: N Downes for M O’Dwyer (HT), P O’Dwyer for Coughlan (45), T Lernihan for Hogan (50), E Bracken for S Moloney (52), D Callinan for Talty (57), D Sexton for King (58).

Ref – S Lonergan (Tipperary).  

Kerrigan shows class as Adare find Nemo a step too far

Nemo Rangers 2-17 Adare 0-4

Denis Hurley

Nemo Rangers’ place in the Munster club SFC final never looked in doubt as they had 19 points to spare on Limerick champions Adare at a cold Mallow yesterday.

Strong favourites beforehand, the Cork side – who were last Munster champions in 2010/11 – had a goal and three points on the board before Adare opened their account and a 2-6 to 0-2 half-time lead looked impregnable.

Dr Crokes, who Nemo beat seven years ago, await in what is likelier to be a tougher final but Nemo manager Larry Kavanagh was pleased with how this team dealt with the task at hand.

“You just have to make sure that the lads are focused,” he said, “that they’re not taking the opposition for granted and that they treat them with respect.

“You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t – if you go out and play badly you’ll be criticised and if you score 3-17 people will say that the other team were no good.

“We were trying to stress it all week to forget about Crokes but they’re human at the same time.”

From the off, they were in control and Cork captain Paul Kerrigan had two points in the opening six minutes, going on to finish with six.

Luke Connolly got on the end of Alan O’Donovan’s pass on 11 minutes and finished well past James Hickey before adding a free.

Mark Connolly got Adare off the mark but it was only a brief interruption to Nemo’s dominance and, after Hugh Bourke had the Limerick side’s second on 27 minutes, Barry O’Driscoll got another Nemo goal, brilliantly taking down Paddy Gumley’s pass with one hand and firing home.

O’Driscoll’s free made it 2-6 to 0-2 at half-time and Jack Horgan, Connolly and Colin O’Brien soon extended that advantage.

Bourke got his second free for Adare, but Nemo finished strongly, scoring the game’s last seven points as wing-back Kevin Fulignati and sub Conor Horgan got on the scoresheet.

Having won the Limerick intermediate title in 2016 and followed that up with the senior this year, Adare have had to learn fast, and manager Harry Gleeson acknowledged that they met a stronger team here.

“For some reason the lads thought they had to use the ball a bit quicker than they needed to at times, but on the occasion, when guys are under pressure, you have to forgive them for decisions they make out on the pitch,” he lamented. “It isn’t easy.

“It’ll bring them on. Some of them were disappointed with (losing the intermediate championship to) Kenmare last year, but this is a completely different level.

“It may show where the football level is in Limerick, and there’s a lot of work to get up to this kind of level.”

Scorers – Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan 0-6 (0-1f), B O’Driscoll (0-2f), L Connolly (0-3f) 1-3 each, C Horgan 0-2, K Fulignati, C O’Brien, J Horgan 0-1 each. Adare: H Bourke 0-2fs, M Connolly,  R Bourke (f) 0-1 each.

NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; K O’Donovan, A O’Reilly, A Cronin; J Donovan, S Cronin, K Fulignati; A O’Donovan, J Horgan; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; P Gumley, L Connolly, C Dalton. Subs: C Horgan for Connolly (35), M Dorgan for J Horgan, A Greaney for Gumley (46), C O’Shea for O’Reilly, C Kiely for O’Brien (both 53), S Martin for Fulignati (58).

ADARE – J Hickey; O Collins, A O’Connor, E Costello; E Ryan, D Connolly, P Maher; S Doherty, S Keeley; H Bourke, J English, C McCarthy; M Connolly, R Bourke, M Lyons. Subs: D Lyons for McCarthy (46), A O’Connell for Keeley (50), J Fitzgerald for Maher, D O’Connor for Collins (both 54), C Flanagan for Connolly (55), B Supple for English (58).

Ref – A Kissane (Waterford).

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