U-14′s vs Kerins O’Rahillys – Central Region – Monday 18th June (by Mark Healy)
Kerins O Rahillys: 2-12
Laune Rangers: 2-09
Laune Rangers came away defeated after a hard fought encounter in the opening round of the central district against a dogged Strand Road side on a beautiful evening for football on Monday evening last.
The game started at a high tempo and the home side drew first blood winning a free right in front of the posts after some terrific build up play, but were not able to convert their chance and this was a trend to been felt by both sides over the course of the game. The home side were showing all the early initiative but a series of wide balls and some good defending left them ruing their missed opportunities. The first score of the game came from a free conceded by the tough tackling Laune Rangers defence and was easily converted to give the first score to the Kerns O Rahilly’s side.
The game ebbed and flowed throughout the half with both sides posing attacking threats but a series of 5 unanswered points from the home side saw them race into an early but deserved lead which left the visitors in need of score and leadership. The movement of Neil O Brien to centre back served its purpose and resulted in alot of possession being broken up and turned into attacking options for Laune Rangers which was to prove a telling factor. Laune Rangers kicked off their scores with a fine point from Jesse McCormack and a rampaging run from Cathal Doyle resulted in the some neat interplay between the forwards with the end result of a ball in the back of the net which kept them in touch. The half was characterised by wides from both sides and in the case of Laune Rangers the woodwork was to prove decisive with both the cross bar from a thunderous Fiachra Clifford shot and the upright from a Conor Flynn effort keeping the Rahillys side ahead on the scoreboard . Sustained pressure from the visitors got its just reward when Fiachra Clifford pointed nearing half time after a great defensive effort to turn over possession which saw Pierce Thyter give the perfect long ball to start the move. Tight defensive play from Jack Cox and -full back for the night- Tiernan Clifford coupled with vital intercepts from the tenacious Con Sheehan at corner back kept the scoreboard close approaching the half time whistle but the home side kept attacking in waves and kept picking off their points and an unfortunate own goal mix up from a high ball to the square saw the home side finish the half with a 5 point lead on a score line of 1-8 to 1-3 in favour of the strand road side.
The second half brought positional changes for the Laune Rangers side and some substitutions with Keelin Houlihan coming in at full forward and Jamie Clifford coming in at centre back as the visitors looked to shuffle their pack to try and get a grip on the game. The half began at a lively pace and again the home side were attacking in numbers and putting pressure on the Laune Rangers defence, some fine goalkeeping by Podge Ahern- who was in fine form throughout- denied the Rahillys forwards on a few occasions after some neat play by their full and wing forwards.
Patrick Carey was at the end of a telling long ball from midfield to poach a goal for the Laune Rangers side after a good flick on from Keelin Houlihan who had early announced his entrance to the game with a well taken point on the run. Buoyed by the early second half scores the rangers side started to grow in confidence which resulted in some great attacking play involving the whole 15 and some strong running by Fiachra Clifford and substitute Jamie Clifford- who was starting to exert his influence from the centre back position. The home side kept to the their game plan and some long ball and sharp passing throughout the half and saw 2 fine points kicked from play mid way through the half. The killorglin boys were not to be outdone and started to make inroads through their quick ball to the full forward line which resulted in 2 unanswered points from Fiachra Clifford which brought the game level.
A killer blow was dealt when a sloppy turnover was worked back to the KIllorglin full back line and resulted in a goal for the home side and this was quickly followed up by a point from play. The Killorglin side fought tirelessly throughout the half and they caused some real problems for the home side and a goal chance by Cathal Doyle at the end of the game to tie the game up for a tight finish was snuffed out through some quality defending.
This entertaining game had some great passages of play from both sides with a wide variety of the core skills of the game highlighted with some high fielding and well taken scores combining to leave the score line at 2-12 to 2-9 in favour of the home side.
The 6 weeks since the last competitive outing showed in the end but the side gave a great account to themselves especially given they were making the step up against Division One opposition who were put to the pin of their collar and were forced to dig deep to come away with the win. The captain Neil O Brien, Fiachra Clifford and Keelin Houlihan all played well overall and the defensive unit as a whole combined well during the game to make some great interceptions which stifled the attacking threats of the home side on numerous occasions with Jack Cox and Con Sheehan to the fore.
Next Monday sees the team travel to west Kerry to take on Dingle.
Team: Podge Ahern, Darragh O Shea, Tiernan Clifford, Con Sheehan,Jack Cox, Patrick Daly, Pierce Tyther, Cathal Doyle,Neil O Brien, Jessie McCormack, Conor Flynn,, Fiachra Clifford, Cian O Shea, Christian Fleming, Patrick Carey SUBS Keelin Houlihan, Cathal Joy, Ethan Costello, Jamie Clifford, Dylan Costello.