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Nemo and St Finbarr's book spots in Cork final, Connolly and Sherlock the scoring stars

Another Cork decider beckons for the city clubs.

Luke Connolly and Steven Sherlock.
Luke Connolly and Steven Sherlock.
Image: INPHO

Updated Oct 2nd 2022, 5:28 PM

Results – Cork premier senior football semi-finals

  • Nemo Rangers 1-16 Ballincollig 0-9
  • St Finbarr’s 2-17 Castlehaven 1-16

*****

THEY HAVE SHARED the last five senior titles between them in Cork, in that sense it is fitting that Nemo Rangers and St Finbarr’s will contest this year’s decider in the battle for football supremacy in the county.

A Páirc Uí Chaoimh double-header concluded with St Finbarr’s, the reigning champions, despatching Castlehaven with four points to spare. That second game was a pulsating affair, only truly settled when Brian Hayes cantered clear for a 56th minute goal that put the game beyond Castlehaven’s reach.

Nemo Rangers enjoyed a more straightforward route to success in the opening game, their mastery of knockout stage scenarios was visibly demonstrated as they defeated Ballincollig by ten points.

The outcome maintains the St Finbarr’s ambition of landing a county senior double. They last contested both finals in the same season in 1993 and it is 40 years since they last lifted both titles. For four of today’s football starters (Jamie Burns, Billy Hennessy, Ethan Twomey and Brian Hayes), the dream of glory is still alive, while Ben O’Connor came off the bench and is another dual star.

The Cahalane brothers suffered defeat on the football front today but will rejoin the St Finbarr’s hurling camp now a fortnight out from county final day.

The attacking figureheads for both teams were reliable today, Luke Connolly smashing home 1-6 for Nemo and that tally was matched by Steven Sherlock later for the ‘Barrs, all of his scores posted on the board in open play.

Sherlock’s most critical intervention arrived in the 48th minute as he crashed a shot to the roof of the net. On a day when St Finbarr’s failed to convert a hatful of goal chances, their first green flag pushed them 1-16 to 1-13 clear. The teams had been level nine times in the first half and three times in the third quarter, the tight nature of the contest hinting that extra-time and penalties could be in the offing, just as it was in the two blockbuster clashes Castlehaven and St Finbarr’s had served up in their  last two semi-final meetings.

Michael Hurley drilled home a superb finish for Castlehaven’s goal in the 27th minute that sent them three points clear. Yet St Finbarr’s rattled off three points to round off the half as the teams were level 1-8 to 0-11 at the break.

Sherlock knocked over five first-half points from play and finished with 1-6, but there were other valuable scoring returns for the winners. Brian Hayes hit 1-2 while there was three points apiece for Cillian Myers-Murray and Eoin McGreevey.

The Hurley brothers carried the fight for Castlehaven with Brian shooting 0-8 and Michael grabbing 1-2, while Cathal Maguire notched three excellent points.

It was McGreevey and Ian Maguire who split the Castlehaven rearguard with four minutes left, allowing Hayes to sail through, sidestep the goalkeeper and finish calmly for the goal that wrapped up this win for St Finbarr’s, who also saw Sam Ryan produce a brilliant late block to keep out a goalbound effort from Mark Collins.

  • Scorers for St Finbarr’s: Steven Sherlock 1-6, Brian Hayes 1-2 (0-1 mark), Cillian Myers-Murray 0-3, Eoin McGreevey 0-3, Enda Dennehy 0-2, Jamie Burns 0-1.
  • Scorers for Castlehaven: Brian Hurley 0-8 (0-5f), Michael Hurley 1-2, Cathal Maguire 0-3, Robbie Minihane 0-1, Andrew Whelton 0-1.

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ian-maguire Ian Maguire. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

A fifth title since 2015 remains within the grasp of the regular Cork kingpins Nemo as a formidable second-half showing seeing them breeze into the 2022 decider. They may have lost out to Ballincollig at this juncture six years ago but there was no slip up here as they took  a firm grip on this game after the break.

Connolly’s emphatic finish to the net from a 44th minute penalty had the feel of a game-defining score, an opening created by a terrific run from Mark Cronin in breaking the cover before he was fouled. It pushed Nemo ahead 1-11 to 0-8 and indeed they outscored Ballincollig 1-7 to 0-1 after the 36th minute.

Connolly ended the game as top scorer, a few superb displays of placed-ball kicking in that tally, while Conor Horgan caught the eye in the second half as he picked off three tidy points.

Ballincollig’s first-half had featured some impressive scores of their own, Cian Dorgan and Darren Murphy both bagging a brace from play. The teams were level twice  in the first half and both enjoyed moments of scoreboard superiority.

Nemo had edged ahead 0-7 to 0-6 by the interval before the teams traded two points apiece early in the second half, Ballincollig’s efforts registered in style by attacking wing-backs Cian Kiely and Luke Fahy.

But then the competitive nature of the contest fizzled away, Nemo’s superiority becoming more pronounced as they picked off points and Ballincollig unable to source the goals they desired as Nemo’s rearguard held firm.

  • Scorers for Nemo Rangers: Luke Connolly 1-6 (0-3f, 1-0 pen, 0-1 ’45), Conor Horgan 0-3, Barry O’Driscoll 0-2, Mark Cronin 0-1 (0-1f), Jack Horgan 0-1, Alan O’Donovan 0-1, Barry Cripps 0-1, Kevin O’Donovan 0-1. 
  • Scorers for Ballincollig: Cian Kiely 0-2, Darren Murphy 0-2, Cian Dorgan 0-2, Sean Kiely 0-1, Darragh O’Mahony 0-1, Sean Kiely 0-1.

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Páirc Uí Chaoimh

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