Nemo Rangers caused a huge shock with a win over Dr Crokes in the Munster Senior Club Football Championship final today in Páirc Uí Rinn, after a resounding display on Lee-side to win out 0-16 to 0-11.
The Cork champions were rated as 3/1 outsiders by bookmakers in the run-up to the match, with most expecting the reigning All-Ireland champions to march on. Luke Connolly’s 10 points were crucial for the Cork side, as their running game troubled the Kerry champions on the break.
However, they were met by a tour de force in the first half, as the city club raced into a 0-09 to 0-05 lead. Johnny Buckley’s considerable impact was contained, while Colm Cooper failed to get on the ball with any real frequency.
Instead, it was Nemo who did all the running. Were it not for some impressive defending from Crokes and heroics from goalkeeper Shane Murphy, the game could have been out of sight by half-time, as Nemo were denied five clear goal chances.
Once the second half was underway, whatever doubt remained that the first was a flash in the pan was removed as Nemo rattled off two points in quick succession. Paddy Gumley stole in for his third of the day before another Luke Connolly free stretched the lead to six.
However, the All-Ireland champions came roaring back with four of their own.
The eight-point lead Nemo had squandered in the drawn Cork county final was sure to be flashing across their minds as Crokes piled on the pressure on the bounce. However, a big play from Paul Kerrigan led to him being fouled, and Connolly slotted the ensuing free, before bagging a fine point from play. The pendulum had swung once again.
Minutes later, inter-county star Kerrigan stole in aiming for goal only for his curled effort to rise too high and clip over the bar.
Any fears of a collapse like the first day against St Finbarr’s were beginning to calm, as Nemo effectively managed the game.
Crokes forward Keiran O’Leary was sent to the stands, and with the gap at four points with less than 10 minutes to go, it looked like the fat lady was clearing her throat. There was one last punch in Crokes, and they forced an injury time save from goalkeeper Michael Aodh Martin, before Conor Horgan broke forward to claim an insurance point.
They now look ahead to the New Year, aiming to bring another All-Ireland title back to the famous southside club.