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Nemo back where they belong

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018 4:51pm

In his tenure as Nemo Rangers manager I have interviewed Larry Kavanagh many times, always with a smile it must be said, and when I ask him is he confident, his reply has always been the same: "Finny, Nemo are always confident.”

That is not said with any degree of arrogance, just an acceptance that any time they go out to play, they expect they will win, that is a great trait in any team.

At the same time they never ever disrespect the opposition, and Larry makes that point: “Corofin were champions two years ago, it’s a while since we last played in Croke Park, so on that basis they will start as favourites. That's outside our control, we will prepare as we always have done and give it our best shot, which has usually been good enough.”

The only concern Nemo have is Paddy Gumley’s fitness and Larry is hopeful: "He is an important player for us so we will give him every opportunity and hopefully he will be okay.”

Nemo, after a slow start, displayed all their craft and guile to see off Slaugthneill in the semi-final, and their extra-time performance was reminiscent of their demolition of Dr Croke’s in the Munster Final.

Corofin, though, will pose more of an attacking threat than the Ulster Champions, so Nemo will need to start better.

Tomas O’Se was the one man that kept them in the hunt in that shaky period. His display that day was one of his best in the Nemo jersey and those around him took their lead from the Kerry icon.

Paul Kerrigan sacrificed his usual game, by limiting Christy McKaigue, yet he chipped in with three valuable points while the Cronin’s, Alan and Stephen, along with Luke Connolly, Aidan O’Reilly, Micheal Martin and Barry O’Driscoll were all excellent and made important contributions.

Galway football is in a very good place, Kevin Walsh has guided his side to the Division 1 Final of the National League, and the manner in which Corofin overcame that shocking decision by referee Derek O’Mahoney in the semi-final win over Moorefield is an indication of the quality they possess.

On that matter it is only right that Martin Farragher was cleared to play in the final.

In a low scoring semi-final they dug out a result with grit and determination, after all they have won three Connacht titles in the last five years and were All-Ireland Champions in 2015, plenty of experience in the side.

Kieran Fitzgerald, Cathal Silke, Michael Farragher, Gary Sice, Ian Burke and Michael Lundy are key men for the Galway champions and have the potential to trouble Nemo.

It has the makings of a fascinating contest and the wide open spaces will suit Nemo’s style but equally Corofin have been down this path before.

Interestingly the Nemo Rangers management are stepping down after this game, and it is anticipated that Tomas O’Se will also call time on his career, it would be only fitting that he and Nemo should do so on a stage that they have graced with distinction.

It is ten years since Nemo last appeared in the final, 13 since they last won the Andy Merrigan Cup, too long for a club of their standing, the wait for the eighth should end on Saturday but only after producing a performance that they are well capable of delivering on the day it matters most.

Nemo Rangers to win and thus make it three from six All-Ireland Club titles for Cork, adding to the ones won in February by Knocknagree and Kanturk.

The match will be broadcast live on C103 as will both Cork hurling and football games from Pairc Ui Rinn.

Cork vs Waterford

A second meeting in the space of two weeks and both enter this crucial encounter with contrasting results. Waterford followed up their win in Pairc Ui Chaoimh with an impressive victory over Clare, who to be fair had already secured the Quarter-Final place and had little to play, while Cork were well beaten by Tipperary.

The winning margin for Michael Ryan’s men may have only been three points, but the stats make for grim reading from a Cork point of view. Tipperary had over 20 wides and Anthony Nash made at least three brilliant saves, so there must be cause for concern within the Cork camp.

Waterford had a very poor opening to the league but would appear to be coming right at the crucial time and with most of their key players all back in harness and playing well they will fancy their chances of winning here and thus consign Cork to Division 1B next season.

Cork will have Seamus Harnedy back after his one match ban, and it’s worth recalling that up to his dismissal two weeks ago, the match was all square 1-5 each, and with Conor Leahane also going off injured at half-time, it was always going to be difficult to break down Waterford, particularly the system they employ, to good effect.

For all that Cork are capable of winning, one good consistent 70 minutes is all that is required, getting relegated would not be the end of the world, what would be more worrying is the fact that between League and Munster League Cork will have won just one game all season.

The next competitive outing is not until we play Clare in the Munster Championship in May and it would be a boost to go into that game with a decent win under their belts, hopefully that will come on Sunday.

Cork vs Clare

In what is turning out to be a very competitive division, Cork’s win in Navan last Sunday has kept them in the hunt for promotion, and at the same time, staved off the threat of relegation but they might be depending on results elsewhere provided that they can win their two remaining games.

Interestingly, Cork’s form at home has been poor with defeats to Tipperary and Cavan and a less than impressive win over Division 3 bound Louth. Cork were full value for their win over Meath, and once they got in front, they never looked like losing and that will have done their confidence a power of good considering how poor they were against Cavan.

Ian Maguire, Mark Collins and Colm O’Neill were very good, as was Kevin Flahive in defence, goalkeeper Mark White was assured and confident while his brother Sean worked hard in attack.

At times the ball was given away cheaply and the wrong options were taken but there was a willingness to work hard all through and that will have pleased the managment team.

Clare are two points behind Cork and were beaten by Roscommon last Sunday, but will see this game as possibly their last chance to avoid getting dragged into a relegation battle. Colm Collins has done excellent work in the last number of years and his team have proved hard to beat and they will test Cork.

A worry for Ronan McCarthy is the injuries that forced Ruairi Deane and Brian O’Driscoll off early in the second half, and of the two, O’Driscoll looks like he will be out for some time, which is tough as he has had his share of injuries lately. It reduces the options, but that aside, Cork should be good enough to win.

Senior Football Championship

 

Three games next Tuesday night, all at 7.45pm; in Mallow, Duhallow should be too strong for Seandun, Muskerry will be expected to see off the challenge of CIT in Ovens, while Macroom is the venue for the meeting of UCC and Carbery with the students slight favourites, but a bit like their counterparts in CIT, that's dependent on player availability.

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