Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship Final Replay – Meath 0-10 Cork 0-7

Meath defeated Cork by 0-10 to 0-7 in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship Final Replay on Sunday October 1st at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Meath revolution rolls on as Senior Camogie beckons

Report By Daragh Ó Conchúir

Meath 0-10 Cork 0-7

JOHN DAVIS has worked the oracle once more as Meath made the most of their second bite of the cherry to win the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final replay at the Gaelic Grounds and secure their place at the top tier next year. The 69-year-old has steered the Royals all the way from Junior B to Senior level, while at the same time, bringing them from Division 4 to Division 1 of the National League.

Amy Gaffney was the main driving force for Meath on this historic occasion with four points from play as they earned a deserved victory over a Cork side that failed to build on a strong opening. Gaffney had a very deep supporting cast though as they likes of Megan Thynne, Ellen Burke, Jane Dolan and Aoife Maguire were among those to make their presence felt in a fiercely contested affair.

The exchanges were wonderfully physical and engaging as both teams dealt well with the howling gale and slippy underfoot conditions. Cork clocked up three points in the first six minutes with the wind behind them. They only managed another two by the interval however and were held scoreless for 30 minutes.

Some injudicious shooting contributed to that but Meath improved as they battened down the hatches in defence, while Thynne, Gaffney and Dolan took the battle to Cork. Keeva McCarthy used the wind to her advantage with three stunning points from frees for the Leesiders as they moved 0-5 to 0-1 ahead by the 17th minute.

The St Finbarr’s player missed a few later on but none were straightforward, with two of her scoring efforts coming from inside the Meath half and the second of those close to the sideline. Caroline Sugrue shot Cork’s first score from play after putting good pressure on Burke following McCarthy’s opening brace.

Not for the first time in a stellar career, Dolan provided the spark for Meath. Moved to centre-forward, the Blackhall Gaels ace won possession before being fouled and made no mistake from the resultant placed ball 40m out. The fired-up Lauren Callanan was unfortunate to be shown a yellow card for the indiscretion but had an outstanding first half with some real combative play. The Glen Rovers girl was fouled for McCarthy to claim her third point and Katelyn Hickey made it a four-point game thanks to an assist by Rachel O’Shea.
Gaffney slotted her first after a fantastic block by Thynne and Dolan converted a stunning free from 40m out and wide on the right to make it 0-5 to 0-3 at the break.

The sides were level within seven minutes of the restart thanks to points for Gaffney and Dolan (free). McCarthy slotted her fourth free five minutes later to end that half-hour barren scoring spell but Dolan restored parity on the three-quarter mark and Meath, who had definitely wrested control with the elements in their favour, stretched clear.

Aoife Maguire put the Leinster outfit in front for the first time in the game in the 50th minute, after taking a pass of precision and vision by Aoife Minogue. Gaffney added a brace after two scorching runs and when Dolan added her fifth free, they had one hand on the Jack McGrath Cup.

McCarthy gave Cork some hope with another pointed free but the Rebels never looked like chiselling out the goal they needed to avoid a second consecutive final defeat.

SCORERS FOR MEATH: J Dolan 0-5(fs); A Gaffney 0-4; A Maguire 0-1

SCORERS FOR CORK: K McCarthy 0-5(fs); C Sugrue, K Hickey 0-1 each

MEATH: E Mangan, E Burke, C Coffey, E Coffey, Á Keogh, A Maguire, L Donoghue, C O’Brien, M Thynne, A Gaffney, K Troy, A Minogue, F O’Brien, J Dolan, S Hackett
Subs: M Keogh for M Coffey (ht), C Quinn for O’Brien (51)

CORK: A Lee, S Harrington, L Weste, N Ní Chaoimh, R Kileen, S Buckley, L Callanan, F Neville, J Barry, K Hickey, K McCarthy, M McCarthy, R O’Shea, L Collins, C Sugrue
Subs: My Lynch for Kileen (41), M Buckley for Sugrue (58), S Fahy for O’Shea (60)

REFEREE: J Dermody (Westmeath)

Fixture Details

Sunday October 1st
Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Championship Final Replay
Cork v Meath
Gaelic Grounds, Limerick
Throw-in: 1.30pm (Extra-time to be played in the event of a draw)

Ticket Prices
Adult €10
Student/ OAP – €8
Juvenile (12-18 years old) €2
Under 12s – Free of Charge.

Kerry Senior Hurling Final – Lixnaw 1-18 Ballyduff 2-15

Lixnaw drew with Ballyduff in the Kerry Senior Hurling Final on a scoreline of 1-18 to 2-15 on Sunday October 8th at Austin Stack Park Tralee.

Match Previews

Tipperary Senior Hurling Final – Thurles Sarsfields 1-24 Borris-Ileigh 0-11

Thurles Sarsfields defeated Borris-Ileigh by 1-24 to 0-11 in the Tipperary Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 8th at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Lar Corbett point

Tipperary SHC: Thurles Sarsfields triumph

Tipperary SHC Final


Report By Jackie Cahill at Semple Stadium for

Thurles Sarsfields cruised to a fourth successive Tipperary SHC crown this afternoon.

The Blues proved too good for Borris-Ileigh, who were outclassed by 16 points on their first final appearance since 1988.

Aidan McCormack shot nine points for the winners in front 8,376 spectators at Semple Stadium – on a day when the Sars had nine different scorers on target.

Borris’ managed just six points from play, with Brendan Maher finishing as their leading scorer with five pointed frees.

While Sars won pulling up, Borris’ were just four points behind at half-time, trailing by 0-11 to 0-7.

Borris’ went 18 minutes without a score in the first half, but a run of three on the spin approaching the break gave them hope.

But Sars, who became the first Tipp club to win four-in-a-row since Toomevara (1998-2001) won the second half by 1-13 to 0-4.

Conor Stakelum’s 45th minute goal killed the game stone dead, as he pounced from close range after Borris’ keeper Jack Bourke could only bat a clearance from Stephen Cahill’s effort into the corner forward’s path.

Stakelum had, just minutes earlier, had a goal disallowed before forcing a fine save from Bourke.

It was very much a case of third time lucky for Stakelum as he found the net to cap a fine individual display.

Thurles Sarsfields captain Padraic Maher.
Thurles Sarsfields captain Padraic Maher.
With the Maher brothers, captain Pádraic and Ronan, lording it in defence, Borris’ found scores hard to come by.

Up front, Sars were far more economical with the possession that came their way, as they booked an AIB Munster quarter-final with the Waterford champions on October 29.

Sars go into that game having collected a 36th county crown, and an excellent second half display ensured that this one was done and dusted from a long way out.

The sides were level twice in the early exchanges before Sars put some daylight between themselves and Borris, who last lifted the Dan Breen Cup back in 1986.

They were seven points clear on three occasions in the first half before Borris’ roused themselves.

But the writing was on the wall early in the second period as Sars opened with three unanswered points.

Sars won the club’s first four-in-a-row since the 1960s, when five-in-a-row was also annexed.

Scorers for Thurles Sarsfields: Aidan McCormack 0-9 (6fs, 1 65), Conor Stakelum 1-2, Billy McCarthy and Denis Maher 0-3 each, Pa Bourke and Lar Corbett 0-2 each, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher and Stephen Cahill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Borris-Ileigh: Brendan Maher 0-5 (5fs), Dan McCormack 0-3, Liam Ryan 0-2, Kieran Maher 0-1.

THURLES SARSFIELDS: Patrick McCormack; Michael Cahill, Ronan Maher, Stephen Maher; Cathal Moloney, Pádraic Maher (capt.), Stephen Lillis; John Maher, Stephen Cahill; Denis Maher, Billy McCarthy, Aidan McCormack; Conor Stakelum, Pa Bourke, Lar Corbett.

Subs: Mikey O’Brien for Bourke (38), Tommy Doyle for Stakelum (temp. 50-51), Tommy Doyle for Denis Maher (52), Rory Dwan for Stephen Maher (59), Conor Lanigan for Stakelum (59), Rory Purcell for Moloney (60+3).

BORRIS-ILEIGH: Jack Bourke; Thomas Fahy, Ciaran Cowan, Matthew Stapleton; Paddy Stapleton (capt.), Brendan Maher, Seamus Burke; Liam Ryan, Sean McCormack; Niall Kenny, Dan McCormack, Kieran Maher; Jack Hogan, Conor Kenny, Jerry Kelly.

Subs: Jody Harkin for Matthew Stapleton (16), Keith Ryan for Hogan (49), Vincent Stapleton for Kieran Maher (55), Maurice Ryan for Fahy (59).

REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Knockavilla Donaskeigh Kickhams).

Kerry Senior Hurling Final Replay – Ballyduff 4-13 Lixnaw 1-19

Ballyduff defeated Lixnaw by 4-13 to 1-19 in the Kerry Senior Hurling Final Replay on Sunday October 15th at Austin Stack Park Tralee.4

Brilliant Boyle bags hat-trick and 25th title for Ballyduff

Kerry SHC final replay: Ballyduff 4-13 Lixnaw 1-19

Report from the Irish Independent newspaper

A first-half hat-trick from full-forward Aidan Boyle laid the foundations for Ballyduff completing their drive for 25 in a thrilling replay at Austin Stack Park.

Ballyduff’s confidence that could beat Lixnaw was a result of change of game plan by their manager, Blackrock native Bobby Thornhill. And also a glorious past in which Ballyduff have never lost to Lixnaw in a final.

Boyle’s goals came in the third minute, 10th minute, and the hat-trick was complete in first-half injury time – and they led 3-7 to 1-10 at the interval, with Ricky Heffernan goaling for Lixnaw in the 18th minute.

Two early Lixnaw points on the resumption were cancelled out when Aidan Boyle this time turned provider for brother Mikey to rattle the net. Trailing 4-9 to 1-14 midways through the half, Lixnaw looked in trouble but then full-back Padraig O’Grady was red-carded and Lixnaw had the momentum.

Mike Conway kept converting frees but Ballyduff captain Mikey Boyle was now playing heroically in defence as Paud Costello and birthday boy Eoin Ross displayed warrior like qualities and Lixnaw just could not get the goal they craved.

Scorers –

Ballyduff: A Boyle 3-1; M Boyle 1-1; P Boyle (0-4frees), D O’Carroll (0-4), L Boyle, J O’Sullivan and J Goulding (0-1 each).
Lixnaw: M Conway (0-10, 9 frees), R Heffernan (1-1), B Brosnan (0-3, 2’65), J Buckley (0-2), S Conway (0-2, 1f) and J Flaherty (0-1).

BALLYDUFF: PJ O’Gorman; A O’Connor, P O’Grady, C Kearney; D Goulding, P Costello, E Ross; D O’Carroll, A O’Carroll; L Boyle, A Boyle, J O’Sullivan; P Boyle, M Boyle, J Goulding
Subs: J Hussey for L O’Boyle (45), G O’Brien for J O’Sullivan (53), P O’Carroll for A O’Carroll (57), L Boyle for P Boyle (62).

LIXNAW: M Stackpoole; D McCarthy, P Corridan, D Shanahan; B Brosnan, S Power, C O’Keeffe; J McKenna, B McAuliffe; J Buckley, R Heffernan, R Galvin; C Sheehy, M Conway, S Conway
Subs: J Flaherty for C Sheehy (h/t), M Corridan for D McCarthy (h/t), G Stackpoole for S Power (39), L Mullins for R Galvin (46), E Galvin for J McKenna (54).

Ref: C McAllister (Cork).

Clare Senior Hurling Final – Sixmilebridge 0-19 Clooney/Quin 1-16

Sixmilebridge drew with Clooney/Quin on a scoreline of 0-19 to 1-16 in the Clare Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 15th at Cusack Park Ennis.

Clooney-Quin’s title wait goes on a little longer

Report from the Irish Examiner newspaper

When Sixmilebridge went ahead for the first time all afternoon 30 seconds into injury time, Clooney-Quin’s tilt at a first Clare senior title in 75 years looked destined to fall into the category of defeats their fellow red-and-green brethren in Mayo know only too well: gallant, heroic even, but ultimately, cruelly, denied.

For most of the second half they’d had Sixmilebridge breathing down their necks as the 2015 champions had wiped out a three-point half-time deficit within five minutes of the restart, and there was a sense that at some stage Sixmilebridge’s greater dynastic know-how would tell.

Clooney-Quin had resisted it with all their might, six times nosing a point ahead again whenever The Bridge had drawn level, but when veteran substitute Niall Gilligan levelled matters once again and then centre-back Seadna Morey bucked the sequence of tit-for-tat points by latching onto a half-blocked clearance to fire over his third point of the day, Sixmilebridge’s superior depth and scoring spread seemed to have been decisive.

The underdogs’ fate looked all the more doomed when a terrific Peter Duggan sideline cut was taken off the crossbar by Sixmilebridge’s Derek Fahy similar to how Donal Óg Cusack and Eoin Murphy brilliantly defied those other great romantics, Waterford, at the death. Clooney-Quin though just would not relent and would carve out an equalising score that typified their many virtues.

As the game entered a second minute of injury time, goalkeeper Keith Hogan collected a long deliverance in his own square. Hogan had been exceptional all through, making at least four outstanding saves, including one from a Jamie Shanahan penalty shortly after half-time, and once more he’d demonstrate his composure and alertness to pick out wing back Padraig Ward over by the left touchline.

Ward, who epitomised the pluckiness and stickwork of Clooney-Quin’s less-heralded names, duly landed the ball on top of the opposing 20m line. And there to grab it was former county man Fergal Lynch whose paw and heft in the second half was a constant thorn to the Bridge and a constant outlet to Clooney-Quin.

Lynch was fouled, allowing Duggan to register his 10th point of the day and earn his team a draw in what has to have been the best Clare county final of this millennium.

“The Bridge probably went ahead at the best time in the game and it’s great credit to our lads that we responded,” Clooney-Quin coach Fergie O’Loughlin admitted.

“It’s a pity we didn’t get over the line ourselves but it’s great to be still there and to have a second county final in 75 years.”

While O’Loughlin was no stranger to county finals, his players were, this being the first time since 1952 that the club had even made it to the semi-final round. That inexperience was one of the reasons why Sixmilebridge were so heavily-favoured to win their third county title in five seasons but there were few signs of over-anxiety here with Clooney-Quin shooting only four wides all day.

“The various writers, pundits and bookies must have seen very little of us all year because our work ethic has been absolutely fantastic,” said O’Loughlin. “A lot of people have said that we’re one-dimensional, that it’s just the Peter Duggan show. You saw there it’s not.”

By the 10th minute mark midfielder Ryan Taylor had shot over two points from play. In the 20th minute the small but terrifically tidy duo of James Corry and Ronan O’Donnell would combine for the latter to fire to the net to put their team 1-6 to 0-4 up while on the stroke of half-time Michael Corry would conjure a point in a phone booth on the right touchline for a 1-9 to 0-9 Clooney-Quin lead.

As The Bridge’s manager John O’Meara would highlight afterwards though, his team did not panic, even if he himself got into a heated exchange with O’Loughin on the line.

After 23 minutes Sixmilebridge still hadn’t a forward score from play yet within five minutes of the restart Shanahan alone would have rattled over three from play as well as missing that penalty.

Part of O’Meara’s own frustration would have stemmed from some refereeing decisions. “A disappointing thing from our perspective was we had the ball in the net twice and ended up with no goal. On another day they’d have been let go and we’d have ended up with the goals. But the important thing is we’re still in it. We showed good composure.”

As of yet, it is unclear if the replay will be next weekend or the week after.

SIXMILEBRIDGE: D Fahy; N Purcell, A Quilligan, B Fitzpatrick; P Fitzpatrick, S Morey (0-3), C Morey (0-1); B Carey, K Lynch; C Malone, J Shanahan (0-10, 4 frees, 2 65s), S Golden (0-1); B Corey (0-2), A Morey (0-1, free), A Mulready.
Subs: C Deasy for Lynch, N Gilligan (0-1) for Mulready (both half-time), G Whyte for Carey (48 mins).

CLOONEY-QUIN: K Hogan; B McInerney, S McNamara, R McNamara; C Duggan, C Harrison, D Murphy; P Ward, R Taylor (0-2); P Duggan (0-10, nine frees), M Corry (0-2), D Hannon; R O’Donnell (1-1), F Lynch (0-1), J Corry.
Subs: M Duffy for Hannon (half-time).

Referee: A Heagney

Manager Pre-Match Interviews

Limerick Senior Hurling Final – Na Piarsaigh 1-22 Kilmallock 2-14

Na Piarsaigh defeated Kilmallock by 1-22 to 2-14 in the Limerick Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 15th at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Piarsaigh quick to turn on the turbo

Report by the Irish Examiner newspaper

This was a convincing return to fortunes for Na Piarsaigh whose fourth senior county title never really looked in doubt in the Gaelic Grounds.

Seven points up at the break, the Caherdavin men went 10 points up early in the second half and only took their foot off Kilmallock’s necks when the deed was done.

Adrian Breen was excellent throughout, helping himself to half a dozen points from play, while corner-back Niall Buckley was the pick of the Na Piarsaigh defence in a game that was far less competitive than the scoreboard at the end suggested.

That was because of two late consolation goals for Jake and Graham Mulcahy but Na Piarsaigh manager Shane O’Neill wasn’t too perturbed by that as he saw his side give a commanding display to claim a fourth crown in seven years.

“A goal always comes at the right time but the Kilmallock goals came at the wrong time. They brought it back to five near the end but the end game was up at that stage. A lot of the boys were out on their feet because they had worked so hard. It’s always the same at the end of a final when a team is chasing and structure goes and you’ve fellas all over the place. It’s human nature.”

David Dempsey’s superb 47th-minute goal following a Buckley clearance put Na Piarsaigh back into a 10-point lead after Kilmallock attempted to give the scoreboard some respectability. After that came Peter Casey’s first point of the game and Breen’s final two points in a decider where he was a terror for the Kilmallock rearguard.

Na Piarsaigh could even afford to lose a countyman in Shane Dowling who had to retire injured with a knee problem in the 43rd minute having attempted to shrug it off. Dowling had fired over five first-half frees in a period where Kilmallock were holding their own but for their wide count (six), in particular, their inaccuracy from frees.

Na Piarsaigh rushed into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead after 10 minutes but Kilmallock clawed their way back into the game and were just a point behind in the 14th minute.

In a period where their only wide came in the 14th minute, Na Piarsaigh hardly looked rattled and dominated the final 10 minutes of the half, outscoring their opponents nine points to one.

An ugly row broke out in the 22nd minute and referee Donnacha O’Callaghan was quite lenient in issuing only one card, a yellow to Na Piarsaigh captain Cathal King, when each team could have lost a player.

For the following minutes, matters threatened to boil over but it was Na Piarsaigh who puffed their chests out best with three Dowling frees followed by points from Kevin Downes and David Dempsey.

Kevin O’Donnell and Adrian Breen swapped scores and Na Piarsaigh’s advantage read 0-14 to 0-7 at the interval and extended to 10 when Ronan Lynch, Downes and Breen again, after a slick pick-up, sent over points. It was that rally which pleased their manager most.

“I was delighted with how we started and then at the start of the second half when Kilmallock are usually very strong we targeted it to make sure we were the ones setting the tone and I think we did that as well so it kind of finished it then,” said O’Neill.

Buckley was clearing his lines almost at will, inspiring his colleagues as much as disheartening a Kilmallock attack that looked out of ideas long before the final whistle. Points from Michael Houlihan (free), Gavin O’Mahony and then Graeme Mulcahy and Paudie O’Brien either side of an Alan Dempsey score from distance did give Kilmallock some momentum not enough as the other Dempsey then swooped for his goal.

Mulcahy may have been unfortunate not to win a penalty after a questionable challenge by Buckley in the 41st minute but it was difficult to see Kilmallock getting enough of a foothold to challenge such a physically impressive outfit as Na Piarsaigh.

“It has been ourselves and Kilmallock since 2010,” remarked O’Neill. “I know the ‘Well (Patrickswell) won last year when we didn’t get through our group but we have had a fierce rivalry and the same with the U21s. You just don’t know with Kilmallock – that was the fifth time we played in my tenure and it’s three-two (to Na Piarsaigh). Anything can happen on any particular day.

“The ‘Well won it last year and couldn’t get back to the final. It’s really difficult with four or five really good teams in Limerick at any particular time. County finals are there to be respected and I think the boys showed that today.

“I thought against Doon, I don’t think we got the credit for it. In the first 20 minutes, I thought we pulverised them. I thought it was the best hurling we played in two years. We allowed them back into the game with silly frees and that kind of thing. It was something we dealt with and the boys were very disciplined today.”

Scorers for Na Piarsaigh: A. Breen (0-6); S. Dowling (0-5, frees); D. Dempsey (1-2); K. Downes (0-3); R. Lynch (0-2, 1 free); D. Breen, A. Dempsey, P. Casey, T. Grimes (0-1 each).

Scorers for Kilmallock: G. Mulcahy (1-4); J. Mulcahy (1-1); K. O’Donnell (0-3); E. Ryan (0-2, frees); R. Hanley, G. O’Mahony, P. O’Brien, M. Houlihan (free) (0-1 each).

NA PIARSAIGH: P. Kennedy; J. Boylan, M. Casey, N. Buckley; T. Grimes, C. King (c), A. Dempsey; S. Dowling, W. O’Donoghue; A. Breen, D. Breen, D. Dempsey; R. Lynch, K. Downes, P. Casey.
Subs for Na Piarsaigh: G. Brown for S. Dowling (inj 43); C. Boylan for D. Breen (49); M. Foley for W. O’Donoghue (59); J. O’Brien for J. Boylan (60+2).

KILMALLOCK: B. Hennessy; L. Hurley (c), M. O’Loughlin, A. Costelloe; D. Joy, Philip O’Loughlin, Paddy O’Loughlin; J. Mulcahy, K. O’Donnell; P. O’Brien, G. O’Mahony, M. Houlihan; G. Mulcahy, R. Hanley, E. Ryan
Subs for Kilmallock: O. O’Reilly for E. Ryan (h-t); D. Woulfe for M. Houlihan (53).

Referee: D. O’Callaghan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon).

Cork Senior Football Final – St. Finbarr’s 0-14 Nemo Rangers 0-14

St. Finbarr’s drew with Nemo Rangers on a scoreline of 0-14 to 0-14 in the Cork Senior Football Final on Sunday October 15th at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

Nobody bargained on depth of Barr’s resolve

Report By Eoghan Cormican for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Where to begin? Commend Nemo for their inspired opening, castigate them for not seeing the job through. Ask what exactly the Barr’s were at in the opening half or how on earth they managed to retrieve a seemingly lost position in the second.

When speaking to the respective managers after the game, it was hard to distinguish which team were late showing up and which had let slip a seven-point second-half lead such was their upbeat tone. Barr’s manager Ray Keane had told his players at half-time to have no regrets when they returned back down the tunnel and we doubt they had many, if any at all.

His counterpart, Larry Kavanagh, referenced the three minutes of injury-time, during which the Barr’s owned possession in the Nemo half of the field. One sight of goal and it would have been curtains for the men from Trabeg, their manager stressed.

We imagine, though, the Nemo management were privately fuming at having thrown away a winning hand, at having to defend their goal at the death with the sides level. How it came to that was the main talking point among bewildered Nemo supporters as they shuffled out of Páirc Uí Chaoimh early yesterday evening.

Of all the clubs in Cork to hold onto a seven-point lead in the second half of a county final, you’d imagine it would be bread and butter to Nemo Rangers. Of their starting team, just four had not featured in the final win two years ago, the same number as Barr’s players to have played in – and lost – a county final.

We expected the challengers to be tetchy with the finish line in sight. What we certainly hadn’t bargained for was a stiffening of Nemo’s play after putting considerable daylight between themselves and their opponents – only two Nemo forwards found the target in the second period.

Ahead by 0-10 to 0-4 at the break, the favourites, searching for a 20th Cork crown, extended their advantage within 14 seconds of the change of ends. Jack Horgan won the throw-in, drove at the opposition defence before offloading to Barry O’Driscoll who did the rest.

Such directness had served them well in the opening period and it didn’t appear the Barr’s had located any answers during the interval to combat the movement of the Nemo front eight.

Denis O’Brien cancelled out this score, but the difference was back to seven when Ciaran Dalton became the final member of the Nemo attack to write his name onto the scoresheet from open play on 34 minutes.

They’d kick only two more points between there and the finish. Did the Nemo players believe they had the result sewn up, did they believe they could coast through the closing 26 minutes? Moreover, were they so naïve to think there wouldn’t be a Barr’s

Perhaps, in asking these questions, we are being unfair to St Finbarr’s. That they had it within them to mount any sort of a revival after the pummelling they took in the opening 20 minutes is testament to the character of this squad.

We had expected them to park at least one bus in front of their goal early on. Instead, their half-forward line was slow to retreat when Nemo pressed and, as a result, they were punished in several one-on-one confrontations.

Luke Connolly kicked Nemo’s opening score, via the dead ball, 56 seconds in. There followed points from Paddy Gumley, Paul Kerrigan, Connolly (0-3, 0-1 free), Jack Horgan and Barry O’Driscoll. Come the 17th minute, the favourites were 0-8 to 0-0 to the good. They should have also nicked a goal, Dylan Quinn twice clearing the ball off the line to deny Gumley.

At the other end, the situation couldn’t have been bleaker. Stephen Sherlock was off target with his first shot, while his next two dropped into the goalkeeper’s hands. Robert O’Mahony also kicked wide before Sherlock had them off the mark with a 20th-minute free. They’d add two more in the next minute, Cillian Myers Murray and Ian Maguire the providers. Still, the task appeared beyond them with 25 minutes left to run.

Sherlock (free) and half-back Colin Lyons landed two in quick succession and their confidence further rose when the latter floated over his second of the final. Comyns and Ian Maguire had, by this juncture, taken over the midfield department, with Lyons and Dylan Quinn attacking from further back.

A foul on Maguire enabled Sherlock cut the margin to three. Comyns won the subsequent restart, shifted possession to Denis O’Brien and he further narrowed the gap.

Alan O’Donovan ended a 17-minute scoring drought for the men in black and green. Their opponents, though, had long since caught scent of an upset and Sherlock had the deficit back to two, 0-13 to 0-11, with seven minutes remaining. Ciaran Dalton, cutting in from the North Stand sideline, steadied Nemo. They wouldn’t score again, through three on the bounce from Sherlock, the second of which was his first from play and the third of which brought the teams level for the first time 18 seconds past the hour mark.

In between this Sherlock flurry, Dalton was denied a goal by the heroics of Sam Ryan. It summed up their respective second halves.

We go again next Sunday.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: L Connolly (0-4, 0-2 frees); C O’Brien, B O’Driscoll, P Gumley (0-2 each); A O’Donovan, J Horgan, P Kerrigan, C Dalton (0-1 each).

Scorers for St Finbarr’s: S Sherlock (0-8, 0-6 frees); D O’Brien, C Lyons (0-2 each); I Maguire, C Myers Murray (0-1 each).

NEMO RANGERS: MA Martin; A O’Reilly, C McWhinney, A Cronin; T Ó Sé, S Cronin, K Fulignati; A O’Donovan, J Horgan; B O’Driscoll, P Kerrigan, C O’Brien; C Dalton, P Gumley, L Connolly
Subs: J O’Donovan for Fulignati, M Dorgan for Horgan (both 53); C Horgan for O’Driscoll (59)

ST FINBARR’S: D Murphy; A McCarthy, G O’Connor, D Quinn; C Lyons, S Ryan, J Burns; I Maguire, E Comyns; D O’Brien, M Shields, E Dennehy; C Myers-Murray, R O’Mahony, S Sherlock
Subs: R Leahy for O’Mahony (46 mins, inj); C Keane for O’Brien (53); A O’Connor for Lyons (61).

Referee: C Lane (Banteer).

Tipperary Senior Football Final – Clonmel Commercials 2-9 Killenaule 0-8

Clonmel Commercials defeated Killenaule by 2-9 to 0-8 in the Tipperary Senior Football Final on Sunday October 15th at Semple Stadium Thurles.

Match Highlights

Match Preview

Clare Senior Hurling Final Replay – Sixmilebridge 1-20 Clooney/Quin 1-14

Sixmilebridge defeated Clooney/Quin by 1-20 to 1-14 in the Clare Senior Hurling Final Replay on Sunday October 22nd at Cusack Park Ennis.

Cork Senior Hurling Final – Imokilly 3-13 Blackrock 0-18

Imokilly defeated Blackrock by 3-13 to 0-18 in the Cork Senior Hurling Final on Sunday October 22nd at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.