Laune Rangers Finally Secure Ladies Senior Championship Title by Imelda Roche
After numerous league titles and near misses, Laune Rangers finally secured the Caroline Broderick Memorial Senior Cup defeating Southern Gaels in the Azzurri Sport Senior final on Sunday. Played in difficult windy conditions in Kilcummin, they set the tempo of the game, leading from start to finish.
However no one could foresee even at half time what the second half would bring, as both sides were nip tuck in the first half. Through county star Patrice Dennehy, who played a key role all day, Laune Rangers were first on the board with two points. Deirdre Corridan got Southern Gaels on the board after eight minutes with a pointed free.
Scoring options were limited as both defences were on top and the strong breeze which was aiding the Laune side meant a lot of passes were overcooked and shots dropped short into keeper’s hands. Sarah Houlihan was first to test the goalkeeper’s reactions forcing Southern Gaels keeper Meabh Daly into a good save.
Rangers keeper Ciara O’Connor – a late tactical switch from full back to goals – was then forced into action by Deirdre Corridan and pulled off a great double save. Southern Gaels cut the Laune Rangers lead midway through the half to just a single point with scores from Megan O’Connell, Leanne Curran and Linda Cronin, but Laune Rangers responded landing some strong scores through Patrice Dennehy, Sarah Houlihan & Bernie Breen.
At half-time Laune Rangers led by 0-9 to Southern Gaels’ 0-6.
It was Southern Gaels who started the second half the brighter and with the wind aiding them a three point deficit seemed far from insurmountable. Straight from the throw in they attacked the Rangers goal at speed, and but for some frantic defending from the Rangers they would have given away the first goal of the game. Instead it was Laune Rangers who had the first score – a pointed free from Sarah Houlihan.
The turning point in the game came in the sixth minute of the second half. Southern Gaels, who were working hard around the middle, secured possession from a breaking ball and quickly moved the ball into the full forward line. A goal mouth scramble ensued with Southern Gaels having strong claims for a penalty. The ref, however, waved play on and Laune Rangers themselves attacked at speed, with Sarah Houlihan finishing a swift counter-attack to the back of the net.
The Southern side were rattled and tried to work a goal opportunity themselves straight away but again they found the Killorglin defence well up to the task. They worked a free quickly up field again, and this time Patrice Dennehy ended the move with the ball in the back of the net. It was now Laune Rangers 2-10 Southern Gaels 0-6.
The wind was up in the Laune Rangers sails and they kept attacking in waves. The southern side just couldn’t seem to hold them back any more. Anne Marie O’Donoghue added another goal shortly after and Patrice & Sarah Houlihan tacked on points. It was looking very ominous at this stage, particularly after Johanna O’Callaghan added a fourth Laune Rangers goal in somoewhate fortunate circumstances, as her attempted long range was caught by the wind and dropped in behind the keeper’s head.
It was now damage limitation for Southern Gaels. It took them 14 minutes of the second half to land a score – a point from Leanne Curran. Shortly after Patrice struck for another goal, leaving the score at 5-15 to 0-09 at the end.
Sarah Jane Joy received the cup from Chairperson Pat Harnett a great honour as it was the first senior title in the club.
They now go forward to compete in the Munster Club championship – opposition unknown at this stage.