Tuesday 17 September 2019

'The County Board should be ashamed of themselves ' - Curran slams Deise over fixtures 'disgrace'

Nemo Rangers 1-13 Stradbally 0-5

Colin O'Brien, Nemo Rangers, and Shane Aherne of Stradbally battle for possession
Colin O'Brien, Nemo Rangers, and Shane Aherne of Stradbally battle for possession
Conor Horgan of Nemo Rangers, and Stradbally's Kevin Lawlor clash in the air

Tomás McCarthy

After paying a visit to the Nemo Rangers dressing room, Stradbally manager Pat Curran vented his fury at the Waterford County Board over the crazy scheduling that meant they competed in a Munster quarter-final only 23 hours after lifting the county cup.

"It was a complete and utter disgrace that Stradbally had to play here tonight. The Waterford County Board should be ashamed of themselves from top to bottom. The GAA football clubs in the county will have to stand up and get things right for their own players.

"I admire the hurling clubs in the county, they paddle their own canoe, they get on with it, they fight their own corner and I have great admiration for them. The football clubs have to stand up now and the county board have to get their arse in gear."

The newly-crowned champions toasted their success over Ballinacourty the night before. "They had a few celebrations on Friday night and rested up. What else can you do? You can take all the protein drinks you like and all the shakes. It's 24 hours later and the ground was heavy out there. We've played four games in 15 days and that's fair clipping. Go to professional soccer or go to any other sport, that's fair clipping."

Curran wanted to maintain the proud record of Déise clubs in the provincial series after The Nire reached the Munster final last November. "We don't like to be beaten. It's even worse to be beaten when you don't get a fair crack of the whip and a fair chance. We beat The Nire, I mean they have done fantastic over the last couple of years, Ballinacourty have done fantastic, even go back to Rathgormack when they won it and they had a chance to prepare."

Nemo Rangers boss Stephen O'Brien sympathised with the Stradbally situation. "It was very unfortunate on Stradbally. I thought it was pretty poor form that they had to play the following night. I don't think anyone in this country would have been able to do it."

Nemo rushed 0-6 to 0-1 up during the first quarter but a resilient Stradbally narrowed the gap to three by half-time with points from Robert Ahearne and John Hearne. Michael Sweeney also missed a clear-cut goal chance during that period of dominance leading into the break.

"After the start we got, six-one up after quarter of an hour, the writing looked to be on the wall," O'Brien reflected. "They showed why they won the championship and why they are such a fantastic club the way they came back."

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A James Masters goal in the opening minute of the second half assured Nemo of their spot in the final four. Paul Kerrigan burst through the defence before passing across unselfishly for the full-forward to apply the finish.

They shot a further five points without reply past a shattered Stradbally. Player of the hour Masters banked 1-5 (1-3 from play) for the visitors.

"I thought he was outstanding," O'Brien remarked. "His composure on the ball and his kicking ability has never waned."

Cork senior Barry O'Driscoll missed Saturday's game and is considered doubtful for next weekend's semi-final.

"He tore a muscle in his quad during the week. It's up in the air. Some fellas can come back from these things and other fellas can't."

Scorers - Nemo Rangers: J Masters 1-5 (2fs), C Horgan, P Kerrigan (1f) 0-2 each, C O'Brien, A O'Donovan, D Mehigan, W Morgan 0-1 each. Stradbally: R Ahearne, T Grey, J Hearne, M Sweeeney, S Keane 0-1 each.

Nemo Rangers - M Martin; A O'Reilly, C O'Shea, A Cronin; K Fulignati, T ó Sé, A O'Donovan; D Niblock, M Dorgan; D Mehigan, P Kerrigan, C O'Brien; C Dalton, J Masters, C Horgan.

Subs: W Morgan for Masters (49), P Morgan for Niblock (53), J Horgan for Dalton (53), D O'Donovan for Fulignati (56), S Martin for ó Sé (56).

Stradbally - O Costelloe; K Lawlor, K Coffey, L Casey; S Lannon, T Grey, T Connors; S Ahearne, P Kiely; J Hearne, J Coffey, J Mullaney; R Ahearne, M Walsh, M Sweeney.

Subs: E O'Brien for J Coffey (22), D Grey for Kiely (43), Ciaran Cusack for Casey (43), S Keane for Hearne (48), T Curran for Mullaney (53), Cathal Cusack for K Coffey (56).

Ref - R Hickey (Clare)

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