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Kavanagh relieved as 'nervous' Nemo just hold on

Cork SFC final: Nemo Rangers 4-12 St Finbarr's 3-13

Alan Cronin lifting the cup for Nemo. Photo: Sportsfile
Alan Cronin lifting the cup for Nemo. Photo: Sportsfile

Nemo Rangers landed a 20th title yesterday, but they were forced to withstand a late St Finbarr's fightback in this final replay at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Having trailed by 1-1 to 0-0 after three minutes, Nemo responded well to lead by 2-6 to 1-5 at half-time. Paul Kerrigan's goal extended that advantage on the resumption and they looked safe when sub Adrian Greaney netted to make it 4-11 to 1-8 on 46 minutes.

St. Finbarrs' Robert O'Mahony and Nemo Rangers' Aidan O’Reilly do battle. Photo: Sportsfile
St. Finbarrs' Robert O'Mahony and Nemo Rangers' Aidan O’Reilly do battle. Photo: Sportsfile

They were to add just one more point to their tally, however, as their city rivals - without a senior title since 1985 - clawed their way back.

Sub Eoghan Finn gave the Barrs hope with a goal in the 49th minute and after Stephen Sherlock's pointed frees cut the lead, he drilled another to the net as the game moved into injury-time.

That left just four points in it and Enda Dennehy cut the gap to three before Dylan Quinn almost got in for a goal only to fire over the bar.

Nemo regrouped, though, and Paul Kerrigan's run alleviated the pressure, allowing them to hold possession in the closing stages as the game was seen out. "We were nervous, and helpless," admitted Nemo manager Larry Kavanagh.

St. Finbarrs' Denis O'Brien in action against Nemo Rangers' Kevin Fulignati. Photo: Sportsfile
St. Finbarrs' Denis O'Brien in action against Nemo Rangers' Kevin Fulignati. Photo: Sportsfile

"I know I took my eye off it. You don't get a chance to savour a county final and you don't know if you'll be there again. Maybe that fed through to the players, you can't do that against the Barrs. It's a lesson, but we got away with it."

Having conceded the first eight points in last week's drawn game, the Barrs had an unanswered 1-1 on the scoreboard inside three minutes.

Sherlock's goal followed Robert O'Mahony's early point, but a long lay-off after an injury to Nemo defender Cian McWhinney punctured the momentum and allowed Nemo to settle.

Ciarán Dalton's point from a tight angle on 17 minutes got Nemo off the mark and they were level when impressive midfielder Jack Horgan capped a great catch from a kick-out with a run and finish.

It was even for the rest of the extended first-half - there were 10 minutes of injury-time - but Nemo had a late surge to take control.

After Kevin Fulignati levelled at 1-5 each, Nemo had a second goal when Barry O'Driscoll's pass allowed Luke Connolly to produce a wonderful finish and Paul Kerrigan got on the scoresheet to leave his side four ahead at half-time.

After the first two points of the second-half were shared, Nemo had their third goal through Kerrigan.

That looked to have given an air of finality to proceedings, with Kerrigan's confidence flowing as he kicked a huge effort and Paddy Gumley adding another, along with scores from Alan O'Donovan and O'Driscoll.

When O'Driscoll played in Greaney to fire home Nemo extended the lead to 12 points.

However, the Barrs - who endured a tough week as former keeper and selector Kevin McTernan died on Friday at the age of 45 - refused to yield. When Dennehy and Quinn pointed to leave two in it, thoughts turned to a third meeting, but Nemo were not to be denied.

Scorers - Nemo Rangers: P Kerrigan 1-2, J Horgan, L Connolly 1-1 each, A Greaney 1-0, C Dalton, P Gumley 0-2 each, T Ó Sé, K Fulignati, A O'Donovan, B O'Driscoll 0-1 each. St Finbarr's: S Sherlock 2-7 (1-3f), E Finn 1-0, R O'Mahony 0-2, D Quinn, C Lyons, D O'Brien, E Dennehy 0-1 each.

NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; Aidan O'Reilly (captain), C McWhinney, A Cronin; T Ó Sé, S Cronin, K Fulignati; A O'Donovan, J Horgan; B O'Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O'Brien; P Gumley, L Connolly, C Dalton. Subs: K O'Donovan for McWhinney (9, injured), J O'Donovan for Fulignati (30, injured), A Greaney for O'Brien (37), M Dorgan for A O'Donovan, Fulignati for A Cronin (both 54).

ST FINBARR'S: D Murphy; D Quinn, J Burns, A McCarthy; A O'Connor, S R yan, G O'Connor; I Maguire (captain), C Lyons; D O'Brien, M Shields, E Dennehy; R Leahy, R O'Mahony, S Sherlock. Subs: E Finn for O'Brien (42), C Myers Murray for Leahy, C Keane for Lyons (both 46), I O'Callaghan for O'Mahony (51), R O'Dwyer for Ryan (57), P Kennedy for O'Connor (59).

Ref - J Bermingham (Bride Rovers).

Irish Independent

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