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Connolly nets twice as Nemo see off Slaughtneil after extra-time to reach All-Ireland decider

Corofin now await the Cork champions in the final.

Luke Connolly and Brendan Rogers battling for possession.
Luke Connolly and Brendan Rogers battling for possession.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Nemo Rangers (Cork) 2-19
Slaughtneil (Derry) 1-14

Fintan O’Toole reports from O’Moore Park, Portlaoise

A DECADE WAIT for Nemo Rangers to claim an All-Ireland club final place was ended this evening and it was achieved in considerable style with a powerful extra-time showing propelling them to a 17 March showdown with Galway’s Corofin.

The excellent Barry O’Driscoll placed Luke Connolly for his second goal of the game late on that copperfastened an eight-point win for the Cork champions as they accelerated clear of Derry’s Slaughtneil in extra-time.

If the spoils looked up for grabs at the end of normal time, Nemo Rangers changed the narrative as they stamped their authority on the game in the first additional period. They rattled over seven points without reply to surge 1-19 to 1-12 clear and possess a handsome lead at the midway mark of extra-time.

Connolly was central to that scoring spree as he notched four points and set up O’Driscoll for another. Slaughtneil rallied with the outstanding Christopher Bradley – who kicked 0-9 overall – landing a brace of points but the deficit was too great for them to book a third All-Ireland final spot in four years.

Tomas O'Se Tomás Ó Sé hit 0-2 for Nemo Rangers today. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Normal time concluded in a blaze of drama and excitement. Fresh on the field substitute Jack Donovan lobbed over a 60th minute point that pressed Nemo into the lead but they lost possession deep in injury-time. Slaughtneil won a free 45 yards out and after it was played short they drew a foul closer to goal. Christoper Bradley held his nerve and tapped over the score to push this game into extra-time.

Both sides pounced for second-half goals. Connolly smashed home from close range in the 43rd minute for Nemo Rangers after Conor Horgan’s point attempt looped short and then six minutes later Cormac O’Doherty was on hand to bang the ball home for Slaughtneil after the Nemo rearguard failed to deal with a speculative delivery.

Slaughtneil’s patience in possession was evident throughout the first half and their slickness in attack enabled them to surge 0-4 to 0-0 clear by the 17th minute. Chrissy McKaigue was the launchpad for much of what was good about the Derry champions as Nemo Rangers struggled to stifle his impact.

Paul Kerrigan celebrates at the final whistle Paul Kerrigan celebrates Nemo Rangers victory. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

The Cork kingpins didn’t trouble the scoreboard operator until the 20th minute when Connolly slotted a close-range free but they kicked on after that with rapid-fire scores from Paul Kerrigan and a fisted effort by Tomás Ó Sé, an inspiring and driving force for his team in the opening period, to cut the deficit to a single score.

Still Slaughtneil were good value for their 0-7 to 0-4 interval advantage after dictating much of the play. They began the second half positively with Bradley slotting over a free but Nemo finally hit their stride to notch 1-5 without reply between the 33rd and 43rd minutes.

The game ebbed and flowed then as Slaughtneil hit the net, O’Driscoll landed a couple of pressure frees for Nemo and the teams traded points in a frantic injury-time. It seemed poised to go down to the wire but the Cork champions produced the goods when it was needed most in extra-time.

Scorers for Nemo Rangers: Luke Connolly 2-5 (0-3f), Barry O’Driscoll 0-5 (0-4f), Paul Kerrigan 0-3, Tomás Ó Sé 0-2, Stephen Cronin, Jack Horgan, Conor Horgan, Jack Donovan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Slaughtneil: Christopher Bradley 0-9 (0-6f), Cormac O’Doherty 1-0, Brian Cassidy, Shane McGuigan 0-2 each, Patsy Bradley 0-1.

Nemo Rangers

1. Micheál Martin

4. Alan Cronin
3. Aidan O’Reilly (captain)
2. Kevin O’Donovan

5. Jack Donovan
6. Stephen Cronin
7. Kevin Fulignati

8. Alan O’Donovan
9. Jack Horgan

10. Barry O’Driscoll
11. Paul Kerrigan
12. Colin O’Brien

14. Paddy Gumley
13. Luke Connolly
15. Ciarán Dalton

Subs

17. Conor Horgan for Gumley (inj) (21)
19. Jack Donovan for Jack Horgan (58)
23. Michael Dorgan for Alan O’Donovan (63)
8. Alan O’Donovan for Kevin O’Donovan (start of extra-time)
18. Colm Kiely for Dalton (77
16. Ross Donovan for Martin (77)

Slaughtneil

1. Antoin McMullan

2. Paul McNeill
4. Karl McKaigue
3. Brendan Rogers

7. Keelan Feeney
6. Chrissy McKaigue
5. Francis McEldowney

8. Patsy Bradley
9. Padraig Cassidy

10. Shane McGuigan
11. Ronan Bradley
12. Meehaul McGrath

13. Christopher Bradley
14. Cormac O’Doherty
15. Brian Cassidy

Subs

22. Sé McGuigan for McGrath (44)
17. Barry McGuigan for McEldowney (46)
23. Gerald Bradley for Ronan Bradley (65)
20. Padraig McGuigan for O’Doherty (70)

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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