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Slaughtneil's dream abruptly ended in extra-time collapse

Slaughtneil 1-14 Nemo Rangers 2-19 (aet)

Up for it: Slaughtneil’s Padraig Cassidy challenges Alan O’Donovan and Barry O’Driscoll of Nemo
Up for it: Slaughtneil’s Padraig Cassidy challenges Alan O’Donovan and Barry O’Driscoll of Nemo

By Shane O'Keefe

Slaughtneil's All Ireland title hopes were smashed to smithereens on Saturday when Cork giants Nemo Rangers put them to the sword after extra-time in Portlaoise.

Ex-Kerry player Tomás Ó Sé rolled back the years to control the game and a tally of 2-5 from ace marksman Luke Connolly did all the damage.

In the closing stages of normal time, both sides had chances to win the game, before Nemo sub Jack Donovan put his side ahead.

There was still time for one last throw of the dice and Slaughtneil's Christopher Bradley demonstrated nerves of steel to convert a free with the last kick of the game to tie it at 1-12 each and force extra-time.

That was as good as it got for Slaughtneil, as Nemo ran them ragged in extra time. Connolly added a second goal of the match in the final minute to complete his tally of 2-5.

Nemo Rangers now face Corofin in the St Patrick's Day decider, with an eighth title in their sights.

Shane McGuigan opened the scoring in the first attack as the Derry and Ulster champions found their rhythm.

Nemo had a spell of early pressure but Slaughtneil's defence stood firm and with Cormac O'Doherty the playmaker in attack, McGuigan added a second point.

Brian Cassidy added a third point and Christopher Bradley blazed over the bar when the goal was on, as the Emmet's bossed the game.

Connolly and Paul Kerrigan swung the contest in Nemo's favour and a fisted point from Tomás Ó Sé cut the gap to a single point.

The Ulster champions hit the turbo boost again with Brian Cassidy and Christopher Bradley adding points to open up a 0-7 to 0-4 advantage.

After half-time Slaughtneil edged into a four-point lead before Nemo came charging back to tie the game after 40 minutes with Ó Sé and Paul Kerrigan to the fore.

Then the game began to ebb and flow. First Luke Connolly took advantage of hesitation in the Slaughtneil defence for the game's first goal after 41 minutes. Five minutes later Slaughtneil replied with a Cormac O'Doherty goal.

The game had extra-time written all over it and when Bradley swung between the posts with the last kick, it gave Slaughtneil a second chance.

They failed to capitalise. It was the Nemo show with four points in as many minutes, with Luke Connolly leading the line. Midway through the half he had a goal chance but blasted over the bar.

As extra-time reached halfway, it was the Munster men who had full control, leading 1-19 to 1-12, with Slaughtneil failing to get a score.

Nemo got stronger with every minute and when Barry O'Driscoll passed to Luke Connolly, his second goal saw Nemo romp to victory.

Slaughtneil: A McMullan; P McNeill, B Rogers, K McKaigue; F McEldowney, C McKaigue, K Feeney; P Bradley, P Cassidy; Shane McGuigan (0-2), R Bradley, M McGrath; C Bradley (0-9, 0-6 frees), C O'Doherty (1-0), B Cassidy (0-2)

Subs: Sé McGuigan (0-1) for M McGrath (42), B McGuigan for F McEldowney (47), G Bradley for R Bradley (66), C McAllister for K Feeney (69), P McGuigan for C O'Doherty (71).

Nemo Rangers: M Martin; K O'Donovan, A O'Reilly, A Cronin; T Ó Sé (0-2), S Cronin (0-1), K Fulignati; A O'Donovan, J Horgan (0-1); B O'Driscoll (0-5, 0-4 frees), P Kerrigan (0-3), C O'Brien; L Connolly (2-5, 0-2 frees), P Gumley, C Dalton.

Subs: C Horgan (0-1) for P Gumley (22), J Donavan (0-1) for J Horgan (58), M Dorgan for A O'Donovan (63), C Kiely for C Dalton (76), R Donovan for MA Martin (77), A Grainey for L Connolly (79).

Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois)

Belfast Telegraph


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