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Sunday 19 August 2018

Even Gooch won't be able to save Crokes from Nemo

YET another Munster final for Nemo? More of the same old, same old? Not quite, because the seemingly perennial Cork contenders have compelling motivation to put one over the Kerry enemy here.

Four years ago, Dr Crokes met Nemo in a Munster semi-final as Kerry representatives -- not champions -- and confounded the odds with a stunning 2-10 to 0-10 victory in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Last month, before this final was originally postponed, Nemo manager Eddie Kirwan said: "The likes of Paul (Kerrigan) and Derek (Kavanagh) have had a long year but they know there's a lot still to play for. That defeat to Crokes a few years ago certainly doesn't sit easy with them."

Nemo's incredibly consistent form through 2010 was reflected in a record of 29 wins from 30 games played. That's enough to warrant favouritism but, after such a lengthy break, there is no guarantee that this consistency will be carried over into this year.

Equally, there is no guarantee that they'll stymie a certain Colm Cooper for the full-hour.

'Gooch' has recovered from an eye injury scare, but the Killarney club are sweating over the fitness of key midfielder Johnny Buckley, who shipped a knock to the knee last weekend.

Crokes were blessed to survive their semi-final joust with unfancied Aherlow, trailing by two points in the dying minutes only to force extra-time and belatedly romp home.

They must find a higher gear if they're to claim the latest Cork/Kerry bragging rights.

ODDS: Nemo 4/5, Draw 7/1, Crokes 5/4

VERDICT: Nemo Rangers

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