Laune Rangers and Milltown/Castlemaine will have to meet again to decide the fate of the 2015 Mid Kerry Minor Championship, following a drawn final played in Beaufort on Saturday.Laune Rangers started much brighter and led by 0-3 to 0-1 after 15 minutes, with Patrick Daly (free), Fiachra Clifford & Patrick Carey pointing for the Killorglin side after Eoin O’Brien had pointed a free to give Milltown/Castlemaine an early lead. Rangers also had a clear goal chance in this period, but Dáire Cleary’s effort hit the wrong side of the left post and went wide, while an injury to Neil O’Brien (dislocated shoulder) meant Rangers lost a key midfielder. After points were traded between Eoin O’Brien (free) and Cian O’Shea, Laune Rangers took control of the game when Patrick Daly beat Cormac Leane in the Milltown/Castlemaine goal after some great work from Dáire Cleary and initially Patrick Carey. Eoin O’Brien and Patrick Daly exchanged frees before the break, & the sides went in at Half Time with the score:- Laune Rangers 1-5, Milltown/Castlemaine 0-3.
Milltown found new impetus after the break & after finding themselves 5 points in arrears before the short whistle, they moved into a two point lead within 5 minutes of the restart, with points from Padraig O’Brien, Eoin O’Brien and a goal & two points from Kieran Griffin who was switched to full forward from midfield at the break. Rangers lost another key player in Patrick Daly, who was forced to concede defeat to a head injury following an earlier knock. Rangers regained their composure though, and with their younger players like Daragh O’Connor, Patrick Carey and Pierce Tyther growing into the game, two pointed frees through Fiachra Clifford levelled scores before another Eoin O’Brien free gave Milltown/Castlemaine a 1-8 to 1-7 lead with a quarter remaining.
Milltown re-established their two point lead with an Eoin O’Brien point from play but once again, Fiachra Clifford bagged a brace (1 free, 1 from play) to bring the scores level at 1-9 a piece with 3 minutes to play. Eoin O’Brien pointed a free – his 7th point of the game – to put Milltown ahead in the 58th minute, but Daragh O’Connor started and finished a fantastic score to level the game again. Laune Rangers had two late chances to win the game with long range frees but they were just outside the range of Fiachra Clifford and Daniel Whittleton respectively, and referee Billy O’Shea blew the final whistle. Full Time score: Laune Rangers 1-10, Milltown/Castlemaine 1-10.
The loss of a five point half time lead would suggest that Laune Rangers left this one after them, but the loss of two leaders on an already young minor team is hard to discount in the final reckoning. The switch by Milltown/Castlemaine of Kieran Griffin and Padraig O’Brien at the break paid huge dividends and coupled with the accuracy of Eoin O’Brien, this was the reason for their comeback in the first ten minutes of the second half. Meanwhile the young Laune Rangers team, with six U16 players on the field for a large part of the game, was not found wanting on the day & Fiachra Clifford, Patrick Carey and Daragh O’Connor in particular grew into the game to claim the draw. The replay date has not yet been fixed, but looks likely to take place in the early weeks of 2016.
Laune Rangers: Robert Lynch, Pierce Tyther, George Evans, Patrick Carey (0-1), Darragh O’Sullivan, Cathal Doyle, Daniel Whittleton, Neil O’Brien, John Francis O’Grady, Cian O’Shea (0-1), Fiachra Clifford (0-5, 3f), Dáire Cleary, Patrick Daly (1-2, 2f), Jamie Clifford, Manus Gallagher (capt). Subs used: Daragh O’Connor (0-1), Eoghan O’Sullivan, Jesse McCormack, Paddy Collins. Unused: Padraig Ahern, Christian Fleming, Darragh O’Shea, Kevin Fitzpatrick
Milltown/Castlemaine: Cormac Leane, Ciaran O’Connor, Cian Bradley, Sean O’Dea, Gavin McKenna, Tadhg McCarthy, David Roche (capt), Kieran Griffin (1-2), Mike Dennehy, Eoin O’Brien (0-7, 5f), Padraig O’Reilly, Craig Counihan, Padraig O’Brien (0-1), Niall Serturxa, Ultan Heffernan. Sub used: Aaron O’Brien. Unused: Daniel Cronin, Fionan O’Connor, Killian Kerins, James O’Connor, Cathal Foley, Jack Dennehy, Luke Heffernan, Adam Scanlon.