Rangers beat Ballina

February 24, 2008
All-Ireland club football bluebloods Nemo Rangers will contest yet another All-Ireland SFC club final after beating Ballina Stephenites by 0-14 to 1-4 in a surprisingly one-sided semi-final at Cusack Park, Ennis. The Cork and Munster champions weren't flattered by their double-scores winning margin even though they never scaled any great heights in securing their victory. Top scorer James Masters signalled his intent by firing the ball over the bar after scarcely 30 seconds of play but Ballina Stephenites, against the wind, circled the wagons and after 11 minutes levelled the scoring through Stephen Hughes. Up popped Masters (scorer of seven points in total) though five minutes later to nick his side back in front and another two points, including two from 45s, from the top-scorer had the Connacht champions very much on the back foot. Dillon Meegan added to Ballina's woes with a fine point too for Nemo as they extended their lead to six points, 0-7 to 0-1. With the aid of the wind, Ballina tried hard to chisel a way back into the match and a converted free by Liam Brady gave his side hope. However James Masters' seventh point and one from Paul Kerrigan strengthened Nemo's stranglehold on the match. Ballina laboured to get into the game in the second half and even a late goal by Enda Devanney couldn't arrest their exit from the competition. The Mayo club's woes were added to with 10 minutes to go when Shane Sweeney was red-carded. Appropriately, Rangers had the last say when Brian O'Regan fired over the bar to leave his side looking ahead to a meeting in the final with St. Vincent's of Dublin and Leinster. Nemo Rangers - B Morgan; N Geary, D Kavanagh, D Breen; G O'Shea, M Cronin, B O'Regan (0-1); P Morgan, M McCarthy; R Kenny, D Mehigan (0-2), A Cronin; J Masters (0-8) ,D Kearney, P Kerrigan (0-3). Subs - S O'Brien for Kenny, D Niblock for McCarthy, B Twomey for Kearney, B O'Driscoll for A Cronin, G Murphy for Geary. Ballina - D Clarke; G Cafferkey, E Devanney (1-0), M Wynne; B Ruane, C Leonard, S Sweeney; R McGarrity, D Brady (0-1); P McGarry, P Harte, E Casey; S Hughes (0-1), G Brady, L Brady (0-2). Subs - D O'Mahony for Cafferkey, C Sweeney for Casey, J Devanney for McGarry. Ref - M Deegan (Laois)


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