Nemo need extra-time to sink Slaughtneil
Tomás Ó Sé rolls back the years as Cork club reach All-Ireland final
Paul Kerrigan of Nemo celebrates at the final whistle. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Nemo Rangers (Cork) 2-19 Slaughtneil (Derry) 1-14
Tomás Ó Sé has won bigger tournaments with his native Kerry and enjoyed more illustrious occasions than Portlaoise on a freezing February evening, yet this win must feel particularly special.
Closing in on 40, the veteran wing-back rolled back the years in superb fashion to drive underdogs Nemo Rangers through to another AIB All-Ireland club final, against Corofin on March 17th.
Luke Connolly’s 2-5 haul - of which 1-4 arrived in extra-time to secure a slightly flattering eight-point win - will naturally grab the headlines after this Portlaoise arm wrestle.
But Ó Sé’s performance was as impressive as they come and he pulled the seven-time All-Ireland winners out of the mire just when they needed a leader to step up.
They trailed by four points early in the second-half, 0-8 to 0-4, but inspired by Ó Sé, outscored the back-to-back Ulster champions by 1-5 to no score between the 34th and 44th minutes.
Ó Sé scored his second point during that blitzkrieg and was also involved in Connolly’s 44th minute goal when he blasted in from close range.
That burst of scoring helped the Munster champions to lead by four, though a 50th minute Cormac O’Doherty goal put Slaughtneil into the lead again, 1-10 to 1-9, and indicated this would go right to the wire.
That’s how it panned out with the sides level three times in the run in and they finished the hour at 1-12 apiece following Christopher Bradley’s injury-time leveller for Slaughtneil.
It seemed anyone’s game at that stage but Nemo showed both quality and endurance to outscore Slaughtneil by 0-7 to 0-0 in the first-half of extra-time. Connolly then added his goal at the death to seal a slightly flattering eight-point win.
Nemo Rangers: M Martin; A Cronin, A O’Reilly, K O’Donovan; T O Se (0-2), S Cronin (0-1), K Fulignati; A O’Donovan, J Horgan (0-1); B O’Driscoll (0-5, 4f), P Kerrigan (0-3), C O’Brien; P Gumley, L Connolly (2-5, 3f), C Dalton. Subs: C Horgan (0-1) for Gumley (22 mins), J Donovan (0-1) for J Horgan (59), M Dorgan for A O’Donovan (64), C Kiely for Dalton (76), R Donovan for Martin (77), A Grainey for Connolly (81).
Slaughtneil: A McMullan; P McNeill, B Rodgers, K McKaigue; K Feeney, C McKaigue, F McEldowney; P Bradley, P Cassidy; Shane McGuigan (0-2), R Bradley, M McGrath; C Bradley (0-9, 6f), C O’Doherty (1-0), B Cassidy (0-2). Subs: B McGuigan for McEldowney (47 mins), Se McGuigan (0-1) for McGrath (40), G Bradley for R Bradley (66), C McAllister for Feeney (70), P McGuigan for O’Doherty (extra-time)
Referee: M Deegan (Laois).