Laune Rangers took to the field with a very young side, with five Under 16s in the starting fifteen, and it was the youngest of these – Daire Cleary in his Minor debut – who opened the scoring in the first minute with a well taken point. Rangers continued to dominate the opening exchanges, and their pressure was converted into frees. Patrick Daly pointed three of these frees to give the home side a four point lead before Rahillys registered their first point. Another Daire Cleary point restored the four point advantage, before two goals in a minute against the run of play gave the Strand Road side the lead – Kevin Johnson finding the net for both – and the score after a quarter hour was Laune Rangers 0-5, Kerins O’Rahillys 2-1. Fiachra Clifford finished off a fine team move for a point before the Rangers lead was restored – Patrick Daly making the net bulge in the 18th minute. Points from Fiachra Clifford & Patrick Daly (free) were sandwiched between a trio of points from Rahillys before the short whistle but the hosts went to the break with the slightest lead. Half time score:- Laune Rangers 1-8, Kerins O’Rahillys 2-4.
The short term transfer of the Track from football field to Helicopter Pad lasted short of 30 minutes, but the game did not take long to return to the high intensity it was played at in the first half. The midfield partnership of John Francis O’Grady and Neil O’Brien in particular were beginning to gain the upper hand, and a great long pass from O’Brien found Dara O’Shea who punched the ball to the net in the first minute of the half. This put Rangers ahead by 2-8 to 2-4 and a Neil O’Brien point quickly put five between the sides. Patrick Daly’s second goal put some short-lived daylight between the sides but an amazing three goals in 5 minutes for Rahillys gave the visitors a two point lead by 5-5 to 3-9 with a quarter to play – Kevin Johnson completing a hat-trick before his attempt at a fourth hit the post for Gary Nolan to tap in to the net and Gavin Wadding’s lob shot to the top corner completed the goal-fest. However, Laune Rangers dominated the final quarter, and five unanswered points from Patrick Daly (including 3 frees) put a goal between the sides. A Kerins O’Rahillys point made for an exciting close to the game, but Daire Cleary – the debutant who opened the scoring in the first minute of the game – pointed with the final kick to secure the win for Rangers. Final score:- Laune Rangers 3-15, Kerins O’Rahillys 5-6.
This was a superb performance from a very young Laune Rangers minor team – in fact only three of the starting fifteen are overage in 2016. There were some outstanding performances, such as Patrick Carey at the back, and the half forward line of Cian O’Shea, Fiachra Clifford, & Daire Cleary – all of whom are Under 16. The ever reliable boot of Patrick Daly saw him contribute 2-9 (7 frees), but it was the standout performance at midfield of Neil O’Brien that was at the centre of all good play for the Laune-siders.
Laune Rangers: Padraig Ahern, Patrick Carey, George Evans, Pierce Tyther, Christian Fleming, Manus Gallagher, Aidan O’Sullivan, Neil O’Brien (0-1), John Francis O’Grady, Cian O’Shea , Fiachra Clifford (0-2), Daire Cleary (0-3), Dara O’Shea (1-0), John Chris O’Brien, Patrick Daly (2-9, 7f). Subs: Darragh O’Shea, Daragh O’Connor, Ciarán Foyle, Jamie Clifford.