Nemo Rangers 2-17 Austin Stacks 0-05
Nemo Rangers had 18 points to spare as they stayed on track for a second AIB Munster Club SFC title in three years - and a 17th in total - with victory over Austin Stacks at Páirc Uí Rinn on Sunday.
Having overcome Newcastle West last week, the Cork champions were far sharper than their opponents, who had won the Kerry club championship in April but had exited the county championship in September and were only confirmed as Kerry representatives by virtue of East Kerry's victory last Sunday.
However, before a crowd of 1,267, Stacks almost had a great start as Ciarán O'Reilly drew an early save from Micheál Martin and Shane O’Callaghan had an effort blocked by Aidan O’Reilly, but Nemo soon got on top and took the lead through Mark Cronin in the fifth minute.
They were 0-04 to 0-00 ahead by the end of the first quarter and though O’Callaghan got Stacks off the mark on 17 minutes, Nemo continued to dominate, with James McDermott excelling at midfield.
The lead had stretched to 0-09 to 0-02 as half-time approached and in injury time Nemo added a goal as Paul Kerrigan’s darting run created space for wing-back Kevin O’Donovan, who finished well.
Two Kerrigan points on the resumption pushed them further clear and Luke Connolly almost had another goal but Darragh O’Brien saved well. However, Nemo did raise a second green flag on 44 minutes as midfielder Alan O’Donovan matched his brother Kevin in netting, captain Barry O’Driscoll the architect.
That opened up a 17-point lead, and the final quarter had less intensity as both sides emptied their benches. Nemo were 18 in front by the end, having had 11 different scorers, sending them into a final meeting with Clonmel Commercials in a repeat of the 2015 final, which the Tipperary side won.
Nemo Rangers: Micheál Aodh Martin; Alan Cronin, Aidan O’Reilly, Briain Murphy; Kevin O’Donovan (1-02), Stephen Cronin (0-01), Jack Horgan (0-01); Alan O’Donovan (1-00), James McDermott; Barry O’Driscoll(0-02), Paul Kerrigan (0-05), Colin O’Brien; Mark Cronin (0-02), Luke Connolly (0-02), Conor Horgan (0-01).
Subs: Ciarán Dalton (0-01) for Mark Cronin, Ronan Dalton for O’Brien, Kevin Fulignati for McDermott (all 48), Kieran Histon for Murphy (50), Shane Martin (0-01) for Kevin O’Donovan (55), Barry Cripps for Connolly (55).
Austin Stacks: Darragh O’Brien; Jack O’Shea, Barry Shanahan, Dylan Casey; Colin Griffin, Ronan Shanahan, Jack Morgan; Joseph O’Connor, Michael O’Donnell; Fiachna Mangan (0-01), Shane O’Callaghan (0-01), Ciarán O’Reilly; Seán Quilter (0-01 free), Kieran Donaghy, Wayne Guthrie (0-01).
Subs: Michael O’Gara for Shanahan (23, injured), Darragh O’Brien for Quilter, Pa McCarthy for O’Reilly (both 37), David Fitzmaurice (0-01) for O’Gara (48, black card), Shane Walsh for Griffin (50), Gearóid Fitzgerald for O’Callaghan (52).
Referee: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary)