Laune Rangers lost the Mid Kerry Minor Final for the second consecutive year on Saturday, as Beaufort bridged a 13 year gap to win a first Minor title since 2003 with a blistering second half display in Milltown.
Beaufort started very well and scored in the opening minute with an Aaron Foley point. Mike Breen followed it up with another before Laune Rangers settled and pointed a free through Patrick Daly. Rangers went on to put pressure on Beaufort and dominated possession through the remainder of the opening quarter, with points from Patrick Daly (2 frees), Fiachra Clifford (free), and Cian O’Shea giving the Killorglin side the lead with Mike Breen pointing the sole response from Beaufort. Fiachra Clifford also had a shot saved excellently from Beaufort goalkeeper David O’Shea to see Rangers lead by 0-5 to 0-3 with 18 minutes played.
The second quarter belonged to Beaufort with one player in particular grabbing the headlines. After Paudie Coffey had pointed excellently from an acute angle for Beaufort, Ciarán Kennedy went on to slot two 45s either side of a Fiachra Clifford free for Rangers to level the scores. Patrick Daly (free) and Aaron Foley exchanged points to maintain the stalemate before Beaufort were awarded a penalty for a pick off the ground by a Laune Rangers defender. Ciarán Kennedy stepped up but the penalty was saved excellently by Padraig Ahern at full stretch to turn the ball around the post. Kennedy immediately shrugged off the disappointment of the penalty miss to score the 45 – his 3rd of the half. That score was enough to give Beaufort the lead by the minimum at the break. The score at Half Time:- Laune Rangers 0-7, Beaufort 0-8.
Beaufort were much the better side in the second half. Aaron Foley and Ciarán Kennedy both pointed to put three between the sides, while a Neil O’Brien point for Rangers was quickly cancelled out by Joe Glinwood to leave Beaufort leading by 0-11 to 0-8 with a quarter to play.
Beaufort missed a number of kickable frees to leave Rangers within reach, but the Killorglin side also missed a number of scorable chances when scores were needed. Paudie Coffey had a shot at goal saved excellently by Paudie Ahern before Beaufort finally scored what was a winning goal in the 56th minute – Dylan O’Sullivan finishing well past Ahern to find the net. This deflated Rangers and Beaufort were able to close out the game, as Paudie Coffey and Patrick Daly traded points before captain Mike Breen scored the final point of the game. Final score:- Laune Rangers 0-9, Beaufort 1-13.
The result gave Beaufort their first Mid Kerry Minor title in thirteen years, when Damien Breen lifted the Derry O’Sullivan Memorial trophy. This year’s captain Mike Breen – a two time All Ireland Minor medalist – accepted the trophy from Mid Kerry Board Chairman Mike Sayers after the game, and was also awarded the Man of the Match trophy after an outstanding performance at midfield for his side. Aside from Breen, Beaufort were served best by Paudie Coffey and especially Ciarán Kennedy. Laune Rangers, while disappointed, will have 20 of the 26 man panel back again in 2017, with 11 of the starting 15 underage again next year including a number of Under 16s.
Laune Rangers: Padraig Ahern, Pierce Tyther, Conor Murphy, Darragh O’Shea, David Mangan, Patrick Carey (0-1), Kevin Fitzpatrick, John F O’Grady, Neil O’Brien (0-1), Dáire Cleary, Fiachra Clifford (0-2), Daragh O’Connor, Mark O’Connor, Patrick Daly (capt) (0-4), Cian O’Shea (0-1). Subs used: Cathal Doyle, Roan Moriarty, Shane Doona, Jamie Clifford. Panel: Keelin Houlihan, Sean Arthurs, Ciarán Foley, Oisin Daly, Eoin O’Sullivan, Ronan O’Shea.
Beaufort: David O’Shea, Dylan O’Sullivan (1-0), Cormac O’Connor, Ciarán O’Sullivan, Liam Curran, Declan Floyd, Kealan Cahill, Mike Breen (capt) (0-3), Ian McGillycuddy, Aaron Foley (0-3), Ciarán Kennedy (0-4), Joseph Glinwood (0-1), Paudie Coffey (0-2), Cian O’Sullivan, Padraig Cronin. Panel: Rory Clifford, Liam O’Connor, William Joy, Michael O’Shea, Ronan Curran, Eoin O’Hagan, Keith Suter, John O’Connell, Luke Sweeney, Sean Coffey.