Strong display in first half paves the way for Nemo to reign again
Nemo Rangers 0-14 Legion 0-8 Munster SFC Semi-final
A good start provided Nemo Rangers with a valuable platform in seeing off Legion, of Kerry, at Pairc Ui Rinn yesterday.
The Cork champions, Munster champions on 15 previous occasions, progressed to a final meeting with Clonmel Commercials of Tipperary in a fortnight after playing a controlled game in the second half, leading by eight points at one stage before Legion upped their tempo in the final 10 minutes.
Having led by 0-7 to 0-2 at the break, however, Nemo had a sufficient cushion, something which manager Steven O'Brien felt was key. "There was a strong wind in the first half, we kicked over a few, missed a few," he said.
"They probably had a few chances in the first half too but it was a very strong wind. We knew it was going to be a right battle all the way through, it always is at this time of year.
"They're a very good side, they could have won the Kerry county championship last week. They were short one or two starting maybe, but we were missing some players too and it was a battle but I think we were the better side.
"The fact that we tacked on a few scores in the second half probably stood to us because the wind was quite strong."
Ten of the Nemo points were scored by three players, Luke Connolly, Barry O'Driscoll and captain Paul Kerrigan, and all three were prominent in the early stages. They were 0-5 to 0-1 in front by the end of the first quarter, with Kerrigan and O'Driscoll going close with goal efforts.
Legion couldn't get James O'Donoghue into scoring positions and a pair of points from Tom Moriarty was their output, Kerrigan and Connolly ensuring that Nemo had that five-point interval advantage.
An O'Donoghue free was the opening score of the second half, but it didn't prove the cue for a full-blown comeback. O'Driscoll was accurate from frees for Nemo and when Kevin Fulignati pointed for them on 49 minutes, they were 0-13 to 0-5 ahead.
Had Legion sub Donal Lyne not had a goal attempt brilliantly tipped over by goalkeeper Micheal Martin, they might have pushed on but instead they were limited to further points by Moriarty and Conor Keane. Nemo sub Shane Martin had the final say to leave six in it at the end.
O'Brien cited Micheal Martin's save as being vital.
"They were five or six points down then and they had to go for it, which they did, in fairness. Tomás was after waving at us, his hamstring was gone, that's probably why he miskicked it, he was outstanding otherwise. Micheál made a great save, though."
Only three times have Nemo failed to add Munster success to their previous 18 county titles. While 2010 was their last Cork and Munster win, a lot of that team are still present to provide experience.
"We had them last year too and we didn't win the county at all!" O'Brien laughed.
"You take every game on its merits and luckily enough we were able to get over today. We have plenty of injuries now again, unfortunately, but you'll get that in heavy conditions."
He expects a stiff challenge from Clonmel, but was keen to point out that wasn't a stroll either.
"We played them a year or two ago in a challenge match but we haven't seen them this year so we know nothing about them.
"We've played them a bit over the years so there's a lot of respect there, there certainly is. They're a good outfit obviously, but it's a case of going into the unknown again.
"We're just delighted to get over the Kerry lads, because we knew they were a formidable side. In fairness, it will probably help them for next week too, a good hard 65 minutes.
"People were saying they'd have their eye on the county final but they were representing Kerry, they weren't just coming here for a walk in the park. You could see it in their intensity and we expected nothing less."
Scorers - Nemo Rangers: L Connolly 0-4 (0-2 frees, 0-1 45), B O'Driscoll (frees), P Kerrigan 0-3 each, A Cronin, K Fulignati, A O'Donovan, S Martin 0-1 each.
Legion: J O'Donoghue (0-1 free), T Moriarty 0-3 each, D Lyne, C Keane (free) 0-1 each.
NEMO RANGERS: M Martin; A Cronin, C O'Shea, A O'Reilly; K Fulignati, T Ó Sé, A O'Donovan; D Niblock, M Dorgan; L Connolly, P Kerrigan, D Mehigan; C O'Brien, B O'Driscoll, C Horgan.
Subs: D O'Donovan for Cronin (37), C Dalton for Connolly (46), S Martin for Ó Sé (54), W Morgan for O'Driscoll (60).
KILLARNEY LEGION: B Kelly; P O'Connor, D Sheahan, C Davies; Damien O'Sullivan, J Lyne, D O'Doherty; S Keane, J O'Sullivan; B McGuire, J O'Donoghue, D Lyne; T Moriarty, K Breen, David O'Sullivan.
Subs: D Sheahan for Breen (21, injured), C Sheahan for Danny Sheahan (35-37, blood), C Keane for David O'Sullivan (46), C Sheahan for Danny Sheahan (47, injured), A O'Sullivan for Davies (49, black card).
Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).