‘I wish I had never trained,’ NEMO’s Paul O’Donovan says after facing the Carbery Rangers.

With Nemo’s noise, stuttering, and occasional horrific gunfire over the past few weeks, the Cork Football Tournament probably isn’t a three-horse race after all.

Since so early in this year’s title race, no one has looked further than title-winning champions Barrs, Castlehaven or Nemo. There was no clear candidate among these three.

They were, to quote that worn-out mathematical phrase, tightly huddled together.

But Nemo’s unconvincing performance in Saturday’s quarter-finals, his third-round victory over Clonakilty, and the second half of his second-round victory over Castlehaven forced a rethink. In the current arrangement, they sit in the designated third.

The very straightforward path to the county final given by Nemo when the draw for the knockout stages began to form two weeks ago doesn’t look clear anymore. And even if Paul O’Donovan’s team makes it to the third winner in four years, you can already count that as the nominees will come from the Barrs-Haven semi-finals.

Why is that?

Well, on Nemo’s side, lately they’ve been hugely unconvincing.

Having kicked eight in the first half against Clonakilty in the last group game, they have racked up nine in total here. More than one or two of those mistakes were “easy” opportunities to score and, as O’Donovan later admitted, the white flag gear “I usually put my house on these boys.”

Nemo’s uncharacteristically poor shot, general lethargy, and their struggles against West Cork’s last blanket to face them meant that Tarabik’s men had scored no goals in the last 13 minutes of a shocking first half, had only two points on the board by the 35th minute, and had not hit the lead. For the first time until they scored the third result six minutes into the second half when Barry O’Driscoll combined Jack Horgan’s attempt, which slipped off the post and quickly shook the opponent’s net. .

Defeated Luke Connolly kicked his only point shortly after pushing Nemo 2-2 to 0-5, but protecting them from that lead in the final quarter didn’t carry the usual power you’d expect from the men in black and green.

“We did a good goal in the first half, Jack (Horgan) scored it well. Lucky for the goal in the second half. Other than that, it was a poor performance. We’re swinging in the semi-finals,” O’Donovan said.

Rosscarbury’s Alan Jennings and John Hayes (Freeman) kicked a pair of consecutive points near the hour mark to trim Nemo’s lead to one point, 2-3 to 0-8, while Nemo subsidiary Ronan Dalton doubled their advantage in the third minute of stoppage time, We’re back to the bottom line after goalkeeper Paul Shanahan turned 45.

Despite the time passing after the five minutes of stoppage time, referee John Ryan gave Carbery Rangers an opportunity to equalize. They couldn’t find any result to settle the ball, but goalkeeper Shanahan’s long-range shot was blocked by Connolly.

The superior defensive approach adopted by Rosscarbury’s men was one of Nemo’s timeless leaders Paul O’Donovan.

It was an approach that, in fairness, was sometimes well implemented. The Carbery Rangers counterattack at the early doors very effectively, with Pedar O’Rourke, Jerry O’Riordan and Darrag Hayes (Mark) sending them three ahead by the ninth minute. Crucially, though, they only managed two more points of play during the remaining 51 minutes.

“Trying to play and score against this kind of defense is very difficult. I hope I never coach that. I just don’t like watching it,” said Nemo’s boss.

“From a spectator’s point of view, the game is bad, or if you are trying to get people and children to play that game, I don’t think there is any attraction to playing this game. By the way, they are entitled to do whatever they like.”

“Will the opposition look at it and say, ‘This is the way to play Nemo, I don’t know. You would have hoped that any team would come out with the ambition to play football and win. For me, I don’t feel good about playing that way.’”

Top scorers for Nemo Rangers: J Horgan, B O’Driscoll (1-0 each); B Murphy, L. Connolly, O’Donovan, R. Dalton (0-1 each).

Top scorers for Carbery Rangers: J. Hayes (0-3, 0-3 are free); B Shanahan (0-1′ 45), Jerry O’Rordan, A Jennings, D. Hayes (0-1 mark), J Hodnet, B O’Rourke (0-1 each).

Nemo Rangers: MA Martin K Heston, B Murphy, K Fulignati; McCartan C, Cronin S, O’Donovan K; B Krebs, O’Donovan; C Horgan, P; Kerrigan, J Horgan; Cronin M, B. O’Driscoll, L. Connolly.

subs: L Horgan for Cripps (HT); R Dalton on Fulignati (42); C Kiely for Kerrigan, G Sayers for C Horgan, and C O’Donovan for O’Driscoll (all 54).

Carbery Rangers: P Shanahan; K. Scannell, T. O’Rourke, James O’Riordan; Jerry O’Riordan, J. Kevani, Shanahan B; Jennings, J. Fitzpatrick; J O’Rourke, D. Hayes, M; Hodnett; P O’Rourke, J Hodnett, J Hayes.

subs: C. Santry on Fitzpatrick (44); C Daly for Shanahan (49, wounded); J O’Regan for D Hayes and P Hurley for Scannell (Eigen, both 55); J. Fitzpatrick on J Hodnett (57).

Rule: J Ryan.