This Saturday saw the opening round of fixtures in the County Minor League where Laune Rangers took their place in Division 3B for the third consecutive year, having won the same division on the previous two occasions. However, this year’s Minor squad is particularly young, and Rangers took the field against Castleisland Desmonds in Killorglin on Saturday with just 4 players in their final season of age grade football.
The opening exchanges were tight and after each side had missed the target once, it was the home side that opened the scoring with a free from Patrick Daly. Desmonds responded with a point of their own before Daly put Rangers ahead again with a well taken left-footed effort following some great assistance from Fiachra Clifford. Again, Desmonds levelled matters and again Daly put Rangers ahead in the 20th minute with a free. Desmonds dominated the final ten minutes of the half though, and scored 5 unanswered points to go into the break with a four point lead. The Half Time score: - Laune Rangers 0-3, Castleisland Desmonds 0-7.
Rangers opened the second half very strongly. Full forward John Chris O’Brien won a ball facing away from goal and threaded an inch-perfect through ball to Jesse McCormack, but the full back line were able to scramble in time to save a point blank goal chance. The forward set was causing sufficient pressure to the defensive lines though, & this pressure translated into fouls. Patrick Daly was on hand to inflict punishment, and his three pointed frees were added to by a well taken Fiachra Clifford point from play to tie the scores up after 36 minutes. Desmonds regrouped though, and scored their first point of the half in the 44th minute to regain their lead. The visitors then heaped pressure on the home side when, after they turned over possession on the right flank, they quickly descended on goal and the diagonal pass to the edge of the square was met by a fisted effort by the full forward to find the back of the net. Desmonds now led by 1-8 to 0-7 with a quarter remaining.
Patrick Daly again punished Desmonds errors with another free and followed this up with a well taken right-footer from play. A Desmonds point put a goal between the teams once again but that proved to be their final score. The final 10 minutes was one-way traffic in favour of the home side. Daly added another hat trick of frees – his 9th, 10th, & 11th scores of the day – and when Darragh O’Sullivan made his way up from wingback to get himself on the scoreboard, Rangers were in the lead with 2 minutes to go. The other wingback (and team captain) Manus Gallagher had kept his marker busy all day and when he combined with Patrick Daly and Jesse McCormack, the Desmonds defence had no option to foul again inside the 45m line on the left side of the pitch. Daly stepped up, and with Bryan Sheehan-esque execution, he dispatched his 12th point of the day to increase Rangers’ lead to 2. Rangers held on from here and referee Tadhg Aherne blew the final whistle to give Rangers two valuable League points. Final score from Killorglin: - Laune Rangers 0-14, Castleisland Desmonds 1-9.
This was a solid display from a young Laune Rangers team. The experienced quartet of George Evans, Manus Gallagher, John Chris O’Brien & Daniel Whittleton all led by example, whilst the latter’s midfield partner John Francis O’Grady impressed with some fine fielding along with a physical presence in midfield. Younger players such as Patrick Carey, Darragh O’Sullivan and Fiachra Clifford all stepped up well and of course, the many frees scored on the day had to be first won by the entire forward set. However, the standout player was an easy pick. It is a rare occurrence that one player can score 0-12 in a game, especially in such a hotly contested game such as this one. Patrick Daly caused havoc once he moved into his preferred corner forward role, and his display included points off both his left and right foot, as well as long range & acute angle frees.
Laune Rangers: Padraig Aherne, Pierce Tyther, George Evans, Patrick Carey, Darragh O’Sullivan (0-1), Cathal Doyle, Manus Gallagher (c), Daniel Whittleton, John F O’Grady, Fiachra Clifford (0-1), Patrick Daly (0-12, 10f), Jesse McCormack, Aidan O’Sullivan, John C O’Brien, Christian Fleming. Subs used: Cian O’Shea, Darragh O’Shea. Unused: Robert Lynch.