Lee Strand County Football League – Division 3 – Final vs Milltown/C’maine
Laune Rangers: 1-11
Laune Rangers and near neighbours Milltown/Castlemaine met in this local derby game played in awful conditions in Beaufort on Wednesday evening last. For the winner; the title of Division 3 County Champions!
Laune Rangers were the favourites coming into this battle after easily over-coming their rivals in the round games. However this wasn’t a true reflection on Milltown/Castlemaine as they were missing a few key players on that occassion. Milltown/Castlemaine’s determination could be seen in their surprise defeat of Austin Stacks in the Semi-Final the previous week.
Milltown/Castlemaine started the stronger with Craig Counihan opening the scoring in the 1st minute of play. Milltown/Castlemaine sent wave after wave of attack into the Laune Rangers back line and could have struck for the game’s first goal in the 2nd minute only for some good goalkeeping from Rangers’ keeper, Fionan O’Sullivan. Milltown/Castlemaine didn’t let up however and further points from Aaron McCarthy(2) gave Milltown/Castlemaine a 0-03 to no score advantage with 8 minutes played.
Milltown/Castlemaine’s lead could have been much greater only for their kicking letting them down – notching up 5 scoreable wides in the same period. Laune Rangers opened their account in the 13th minute of the half when Patrick Daly pointed following some good support play from Cathal Doyle and Jamie Clifford.
Laune Rangers began to settle and had their own chance of a goal cleared off the line by a Milltown/Castlemaine back. Jamie Clifford added Rangers second mid-way through the half to leave the minimum between the sides and the momentum in Laune Rangers favour.
Milltown/Castlemaine were dealt a blow in the 16th minute when Jamie Griffin had to leave the field through injury.
Jamie Clifford with another well taken effort leveled the game at 0-03 a piece in the 20th minute making the most of Rangers purple patch. Laune Rangers took the lead for the first time in the game in the 23rd minute of the half through a Jesse McCormack pointed free after Fiachra Clifford was fouled.
Milltown/Castlemaine replied with another Aaron McCarthy effort from a free which leveled the game once more at 0-04 a piece with 24 minutes of the first half played. Both sides swapped points in the minutes that followed with Jesse McCormack pointing for Laune Rangers and Aaron McCarthy adding another for Milltown/Castlemaine to let the game level going into the final 3 minutes of the half.
In the final action of the half, Patrick Daly struck for Laune Rangers goal after linking well with the three Cliffords; Tiernan, Fiachra and Jamie to leave the score 1-05 to 0-05 in Laune Rangers favour at the short whistle.
Milltown/Castlemaine came out fighting in the second half and struck for their first goal in the opening minute. Pacy mid-fielder Kieran Griffin slicing open the Laune Rangers back line before finding Craig Counihan who fired into the top corner to level the game once more.
Laune Rangers went back in front when corner forward, Patrick Carey, somehow kept the ball in play and Laune Rangers were awarded a free. The ever reliable Jesse McCormack slotted over the resulting free to let the game 1-06 to 1-05 in Laune Rangers favour with 5 minutes of the second half played.
Milltown/Castlemaine’s accurate full forward, Aaron McCarthy, leveled the game for the fifth time when he curled over a well taken point. Again Laune Rangers replied with a point to re-take the lead once more again from the boot of Jesse McCormack.
Milltown/Castlemaine had the chance to level it once more when free-taker Aaron McCarthy stepped up to take a relatively easy free on the 14 yard line, uncharacteristically however, McCarthy’s shot hit off the upright. Conor Standen was waiting on the dropping ball but his hopeful shot went wide.
This seemed to be the break Laune Rangers needed as Jamie Clifford punished this error at the other end to give Laune Rangers a two point advantage mid-way through the second half. Milltown/Castlemaine began to panic at this stage and instead of their usual accurate passes a number of ‘garryowens’ were hit, more in hope that anything else, into the forwards. The Laune Rangers backs dealt well with the pressure and burst out of the defence.
When Cian O’Shea was fouled in the 22nd minute of the half, Jesse McCormack extended his personal tally for the evening and put Laune Rangers 3 points to the good. This lead was further extended when Jamie Clifford played a 1 – 2 with Cian O’Shea and tore through the Milltown/Castlemaine defence finishing with a well-taken point.
Milltown/Castlemaine to their credit continued to battle hard for possession and with 27 minutes on the clock went through for their second goal. Kieran Griffin found Daniel Cronin whose initial shot was cleared as far as Padraig O’Brien. O’Brien left off a bullet of a shot which made its way into the back of the Laune Rangers’ net and it was a one point game again!
Laune Rangers didn’t panic however and a final Fiachra Clifford point sealed the victory for Laune Rangers. Milltown/Castlemaine did have two final chances from frees however the ball went wide on both counts. Final score in Beaufort: Laune Rangers 1-11 to 2-06 Milltown/Castlemaine.
Milltown/Castlemaine will rue their missed chances but from a spectator point of view, it was a cracker of a game that was point-for-point and went all the way down to the wire.
After the game, Sinéad Pigott, PRO Coiste na nÓg Chiarraí, presented the Laune Rangers’ captain,Tiernan Clifford, with the shield.
Laune Rangers: Fionan O’Sullivan, Tadhg O’Sullivan, Darragh O’Sullivan, Con Sheehan, Jack Cox, Tiernan Clifford, Pierce Tyther, Cathal Doyle, Neil O’Brien, Conor Flynn, Jamie Clifford, Fiachra Clifford, Jesse McCormack, Patrick Daly, Patrick Carey. SUBS: Cian O’Shea, Keelin Houlihan, Darragh O’Shea, Cathal Joy, Ethan Costello, Jamie Brosnan, Podge Ahern, Christian Fleming.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Fionan O’Connor, Cain Bradley, Cormac Leane, Ciaran O’Connor, Trevor Lenihan, Padraig O’Reilly, Jamie Griffin, Kieran Griffin, Padraig O’Brien, Jack Dennehy, Cormac Sertutxa, Daniel Cronin, Conor Standen, Aaron McCarthy, Craig Counihan. SUBS: Luke Heffernan, Dan Phelan, Adam Scanlon, Killian Kerin, Niall Sertutxa, Cormac Leane, Cathal Foley, Keith O’Connor, Ian Corkery.