Austin Stacks 3-12, Laune Rangers 0-9
Laune Rangers Minors travelled to Connelly Park, Tralee on Thursday evening to face Austin Stacks in the Central Region League Division One. The home side had a large squad turn out, while Laune Rangers travelled with a shoestring side – only fifteen players togging out for the visitors. Rangers were without a number of regular players on the evening, with Clifford cousins Fiachra & Jamie as well as Daragh O’Connor & Kevin Fitzpatrick among those unavailable to play. However, this game did mark the return to the field of Neil O’Brien, who had been out through injury since last December.
Laune Rangers started well, as Patrick Daly (free) and Dáire Cleary pointed in the early minutes, but a fourth minute goal for Stacks put the home side ahead. Points from Cathal Doyle, Eoin Evans and Dáire Cleary were each cancelled out by Stacks points as the hosts maintained a one point lead at 1-3 to 0-5 after fifteen minutes.
A low scoring second quarter would only see the sides score a solitary point each – Patrick Carey coming forward from centre back for an excellent Rangers score as rain began to fall. The visitors saw a goal chance flash wide of the post by Pierce Tyther in a period of dominance. Rangers did well to hold Stacks before the break though. Ciarán Foley – who had been playing well – succumbed to a hamstring injury picked up earlier in the game, and Laune Rangers were a man down. The sides headed for the shelter of the dressing rooms with the score at Half Time:- Austin Stacks 1-4, Laune Rangers 0-6.
Cian O’Shea responded to a Stacks point shortly after the restart while Rangers were able to return to the full complement of players with the arrival of Ronan O’Shea in the 37th minute. Two Patrick Daly frees were sandwiched between three Stacks points to keep the Killorglin side in touch, as Austin Stacks led by 1-7 to 0-9 with fifteen minutes to play.
The home side were able to utilize their full panel of players, as fresh legs bolstered their attack on the Rangers rear guard. Some great defensive work (including excellent Crowley-esque block downs by Patrick Carey and Darragh O’Shea) saw Rangers keep in touch late in the game. Another goal chance went outside the post from Dáire Cleary following a swift counter attack through Patrick Daly and Pierce Tyther. However, having played shorthanded for a quarter of the game & with no more subs to bring on, Rangers’ bodies and minds began to tire. Austin Stacks put up an unanswered 2-5 in the final ten minutes – including a goal with the final kick of the game – to put a gloss on the scoreboard that didn’t tell the true story of the game as a whole. The Final Score:- Austin Stacks 3-12, Laune Rangers 0-9.
A defeat by a large margin is usually difficult to pardon, but there were some bright points. The return of Neil O’Brien to the field of play was a great sight to see while some of the younger players on the team – such as Conor Murphy at full back – put in performances of maturity beyond their fledgling careers, while Patrick Carey & Cian O'Shea continue to impress in their development. Hard Luck to all involved.
Laune Rangers Team: Padraig Ahern, Pierce Tyther, Conor Murphy, Darragh O’Shea, Cathal Doyle (0-1), Patrick Carey (0-1), Oisín Daly, John Francis O’Grady, Darragh O’Sullivan, Cian O’Shea (0-1), Patrick Daly (0-3f), Ciarán Foley, Dáire Cleary (0-2), Eoin Evans (0-1), Neil O’Brien. Sub: Ronan O’Shea.