AXA INSURANCE SFL DIVISION 1 SEMI-FINAL
Laune Rangers 5-14 Southern Gaels 3-7
LAUNE Rangers defied the odds when they travelled to Con Keating Park on Saturday evening and defeated the home side Southern Gaels to reach their third Division 1 final in three years where they will play equally surprise finalists Sneem / Kenmare who defeated Listowel in Listowel on Good Friday.
Laune Rangers opted to take the strong wind advantage from the toss and made it count as they enjoyed total possession in a first half where Southern Gaels handling often let them down and were behind at the short whistle 1-11 to 1-1.
Patrice Dennehy for Laune Rangers and Sarah Connor for Southern Gaels both raised green flags but it was the sharp shooting of Sarah Houlihan who with seven first half points made the telling difference.
Southern Gaels with the wind at their backs battled back into the second half with a number of personnel changes and with another Sarah O'connor goal in the fifth minute along with a Mary Cronin point reduced the gap somewhat but they failed to make more of their early possession with three further wides in that early stage.
Meanwhile, Sarah Houlihan added two points from frees to put the lead back to 1-14 to 2-3 with twenty minutes remaining. However, it was Laune Rangers who goaled twice in the 13th minute one from Patrice Dennehy before a long range effort from Bernie Breen put the result beyond doubt.
The home side continued to battle away and scored 1-4 without reply but in truth Laune Rangers were now playing out the clock and with two swift counter attacks on the 26th and 29th minute by adding two further goals from Edel Murphy to put the Champions back in their third final.
Laune Rangers on the night performed well in all departments and with the assured free flowing forward line always posed a serious threat. Southern Gaels who were without Deirdre Corridon and Caroline Kelly played a number of younger players and while they battled away well it was experience that told on the night.
Both these teams will meet again later in the year in the Club Championships and both will have stronger hands on that occasion.
LAUNE RANGERS: Sarah Houlihan 0-9, Patrice Dennehy 2-3, Bernie Breen 1-2, Edel Murphy 2-0
SOUTHERN GAELS: Sarah Connor 2-0, Leanne Curran 1-1, Anna Galvin 0-2, Megan O'connell 0-1, Bernie Cronin 0-1, Mary Cronin 0-1, Michelle Clifford 0-1
REFEREE: Tom Lynch ( Kerins O'rahillys)