CORK PREMIER SENIOR FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
NEMO RANGERS 2-4
CARBERY RANGERS 0-9
NOEL HORGAN REPORTS
Their defensive strategy wasn’t designed to please the purists but it almost yielded the desired result for Carbery Rangers in the Bon Secours PSFC quarter-final tie at Páirc Uí Chaoimh last Saturday.
The Rosscarbery men finished just a point adrift of fancied Nemo Rangers, whose victory was facilitated to a large extent by a fortuitous goal scored by Barry O’Driscoll early in the second-half.
The city side were trailing by the minimum when an effort for an equaliser by wing-forward Jack Horgan struck the upright, rebounding to former Cork senior O’Driscoll who took his chance with aplomb.
O’Driscoll’s strike gave Nemo the lead for the first time in the 36th minute, an advantage that wasn’t to be relinquished, although they were hard-pressed to keep gutsy Carbery Rangers at bay in a nail-biting conclusion.
Little wonder that Ross manager Declan Hayes lauded his charges’ bid to upset the odds, describing their performance as outstanding.
‘We came with a plan to get a result, and it’s bitterly disappointing it didn’t pay off on the day, because the lads carried it out to perfection really,’ he said.
‘We were probably the better team over the 60 minutes, but we were a bit unlucky with the goal Nemo got after the ball came back off the post.
‘That gave them the cushion they needed at the time, but I’d be very proud of our lads, they played extremely well, coming back at Nemo again in the closing stages.’
Hayes revealed he was very happy with the way things went in the first-half, at the end of which Carbery Rangers led by 0-5 to 1-1.
‘The game was being played on our terms, so we were satisfied with the situation at half-time, but the second Nemo goal changed the picture significantly, which obviously was very disappointing.’
Hayes acknowledged that the winners’ first goal was of the utmost quality.
‘It was a typical Nemo goal, clinically finished following a slick build-up, and, while we were hoping to prevent that sort of scenario, you can’t do anything about class like that,’ he admitted.
It was Jack Horgan who dealt the first major blow to Carbery Rangers’ ambitions in the 10th minute, bringing Nemo back on terms at that juncture.
Peadar O’Rourke, impressive wing-back Jerry O’Riordan and Darragh Hayes, from a free, had been on target for Carbery Rangers earlier, and they led again through John Hodnett, who completed a counter-attack initiated by Darragh Hayes in the 16th minute.
That Nemo looked increasingly frustrated by the losers’ tactic of packing their defence was beyond dispute, even if they did threaten to penetrate tellingly on a few occasions.
Both Jerry O’Riordan and Thomas O’Rourke came to Carbery Rangers’ rescue with timely interceptions midway through the first-half, for instance, while goalkeeper Paul Shanahan was in the right place to cover the danger after Nemo midfielder Alan O’Donovan got a fist to a Conor Horgan delivery shortly before the interval.
For the most part, however, Carbery Rangers had good cause to believe things were going according to plan, with Nemo forced to rely on a point from full-back Briain Murphy to complete their tally before the break.
That came in the 17th minute, and it was negated by John Hayes, who converted a free, won by John Hodnett, eleven minutes later.
Jerry O’Riordan broke up another promising Nemo raid on the resumption before Barry O’Driscoll’s goal was quickly followed by a Luke Connolly point, suggesting the writing was on the wall for Carbery Rangers at that stage.
They refused to panic, sticking to their game-plan and limiting Nemo to just a point for the rest of the match.
That came from substitute Ronan Dalton three minutes into stoppage time, and, aided by two John Hayes points from frees and a fine individual score from play by Alan Jennings, Carbery Rangers had cut the gap to the minimum in the interim.
Nemo had been more wasteful with their opportunities - finishing with nine wides to Carbery Rangers’ four overall - in the second-half, and, taking that into account, it’s fair to say they could have been more favourably positioned coming down the home stretch.
As it was, they were clearly relieved to hear the last whistle, with Carbery Rangers pressing for a match-saving score after goalkeeper Shanahan had pointed a ‘45 to leave them snapping at Nemo’s heels again.
Scorers – Nemo Rangers: J Horgan, B O’Driscoll 1-0 each, B Murphy, L Connolly, A O’Donovan, R Dalton 0-1 each.
Carbery Rangers: J Hayes 0-3 (f), P O’Rourke, Jerry O’Riordan, D Hayes (f), J Hodnett, A Jennings, P Shanahan (‘45) 0-1 each.
Nemo Rangers: M Martin; K Histon, K O’Donovan, B Murphy; C McCartan, S Cronin, K Fulignati; B Cripps, A O’Donovan; C Horgan, P Kerrigan, J Horgan; M Cronin, B O’Driscoll, L Connolly. Subs, L Horgan for Cripps, ht, R Dalton for Fulignati, 41, C O’Donovan for O’Driscoll, 54, R Corkery for Kerrigan, 54, G Sayers for C Horgan, 54.
Carbery Rangers: P Shanahan; K Scannell, James O’Riordan, T O’Rourke; B Shanahan, J Kevane, Jerry O’Riordan; A Jennings, J Fitzpatrick; M Hodnett, D Hayes, J Hodnett; P O’Rourke, J O’Rourke, J Hayes. Subs, C Santry for Fitzpatrick, 45, C Daly for B Shanahan (injured), 49, J O’Regan for D Hayes, 55, P Hurley for Scannell, 55, Fitzpatrick for J Hodnett, 57
Referee – J Ryan (Macroom)