Laune Rangers 3-16, Milltown/Castlemaine 2-14Laune Rangers overcame Milltown/Castlemaine in the Preliminary Round of the Mid Kerry Minor Championship on Saturday afternoon in a lively encounter at JP O’Sullivan Park. Laune Rangers were without forwards Patrick Daly, Jamie Clifford and Cian O’Shea on the day, and took to the field with a young lineup – all bar 4 of the starting team will be Minor again in 2017.
Laune Rangers got off to a flying start, with points from Dáire Cleary (free), Daragh O’Connor (2), Neil O’Brien and Fiachra Clifford (2, 1 free) putting the home side six ahead after ten minutes. Rangers punished Milltown/Castlemaine even further when Fiachra Clifford was hauled down inside the square in the 11th minute, and Dáire Cleary converted the resulting penalty. The hosts would add two further points from Mark O’Connor and Patrick Carey before the visitors would finally disturb the scoreboard with a Dylan O’Neill point. With 17 minutes played, Laune Rangers led by 1-8 to 0-1. In fact it was the accuracy of Laune Rangers that made the difference in the opening stages as they had kicked no wides with Milltown/Castlemaine off target five times, including one attempt at goal.
Laune Rangers scored twice more before the break with a brace from Fiachra Clifford (1 free), but Milltown/Castlemaine settled into the game in the 2nd quarter. They added four points before the short whistle with Craig Counihan, Dan Cronin (free), Padraig O’Brien and David Leane eating into the Rangers lead, while the home side failed to stretch their lead and had five wides of their own in this period. the score may have been tighter still but for some good defending by Pierce Tyther, aided by Patrick Carey and Cathal Doyle who made some excellent runs out of defence to relieve the pressure. The score at Half Time:- Laune Rangers 1-10, Milltown/Castlemaine 0-5.
Milltown/Castlemaine started the second half stronger and points from Niall Sertutxa (2 frees) and Kieran Griffin reduced the deficit but Fiachra Clifford added two more points (1 free) to leave Rangers ahead by seven points. A Padraig O’Brien free was followed by a goal for the visitors as Dan Cronin brought Milltown back into the game. The away team’s goal at the dressing room end of the ground was cancelled out within two minutes however. Good work from Cathal Doyle, Neil O’Brien & Patrick Carey worked the ball out of the Rangers defence, and a great run by Dáire Cleary was matched by a fantastic pass to Mark O’Connor who finished with his right foot past Cormac Leane in the Milltown/Castlemaine goal. With 15 minutes to play, Laune Rangers led by 2-12 to 1-9.
Padraig O’Brien added a free before scoring Milltown/Castlemaine’s second goal in the 50th minute, and when Craig Counihan pointed from wing back shortly after, there was just a point between the sides with 10 minutes to play. A wonderful point from distance by Fiachra Clifford was cancelled out by Dylan O’Neill for the visitors before a moment of magic by Dáire Cleary put daylight between the sides. Collecting the ball inside his own half, the young forward set off on a mazy run downfield, weaving inside and out to stave off the opposition. His teammates who were in support throughout were not needed as Cleary continued to make his way towards goal and smashed the ball to the net for a superb goal. This gave Rangers the impetus to close the game out as the defence tightened up, with Neil O’Brien in particular cleaning up all loose ball in the middle third, while Patrick Carey and Pierce Tyther even getting up field to add important late scores. Substitute David Mangan also pointed for Rangers while Milltown/Castlemaine notched two frees through Padraig O’Brien and Dylan O’Neill. The Full Time score:- Laune Rangers 3-16, Milltown/Castlemaine 2-14.
Laune Rangers: Padraig Aherne, Darragh O’Shea, Conor Murphy, Pierce Tyther (0-1), Kevin Fitzpatrick, Patrick Carey (0-2), Cathal Doyle, John Francis O’Grady, Neil O’Brien (0-1), Oisín Daly, Fiachra Clifford (0-7, 3f), Daragh O’Connor (0-2), Mark O’Connor (1-1), Kealan Houlihan, Dáire Cleary (2-1). Substitute: David Mangan (0-1) for Daly.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Cormac Leane, Aaron O’Brien, Ciarán O’Connor, Roan Hegarty, Jack Dennehy, Killian Kerins, Craig Counihan (0-2), Padraig O’Reilly, David Leane (0-1), Niall Sertutxa (0-2), Padraig O’Brien (1-4), Dan Cronin (1-1), Luke Heffernan, Kieran Griffin (0-1), Dylan O’Neill (0-3). Substitute: John Dennehy for Heffernan.