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County Minor Football League Division One Final:- Laune Rangers vs Austin Stacks. 19/05/2018

posted 20 May 2018, 08:12 by Laune Rangers   [ updated 20 May 2018, 09:50 ]

Laune Rangers are County Minor Division 1 Champions

Rangers bridge a 20 year gap to take Division 1 Minor honours to Launeside

Laune Rangers 3-11, Austin Stacks 2-10

For the first time since 1998, the title of County Minor Division 1 Champions will rest on the banks of the Laune following the Rangers’ defeat of Austin Stacks at Austin Stack Park, Tralee on Saturday evening.

Stacks scored two early points through Michael Slattery and Seán Quilter (free) but Rangers soon settled into the game and found themselves ahead when Gearóid Hassett outpaced his marker along the goal line and fist-passed the ball across the square for Eoin Evans to palm it into the net. Rangers kicked on from there and by the 15th minute, they led by 1-4 to 0-3 as Dáire Cleary (2, 1 free), Daragh O’Connor and Gearoid Hassett scored while Michael Slattery pointed a free at the other end.

Mark O’Connor & Roan Moriarty pointed frees for Rangers – the latter a fantastic effort from the 45m line – while Gearoid Hassett added another point to increase Rangers’ lead to seven points. However, Stacks came back at Rangers before the end of the half and scored two goals through Gearoid Fitzgerald and Conor Myers to leave the minimum between the sides at the break. Half Time Score:- Laune Rangers 1-7, Austin Stacks 2-3.

Austin Stacks edged the third quarter, beginning with the equalizing score by Michael Slattery early in the half. Mark O’Connor (free) and Gearoid Hassett saw points nullified by Stacks’ Gearoid Fitzgerald and Michael O’Gara respectively, while Fitzgerald added another point to give the Rockies the lead by 2-7 to 1-9 with a quarter to play.

Daniel O’Rourke doubled Austin Stacks’ lead in the 52nd minute, but Roan Moriarty brought the gap back to the minimum with a well taken free. Laune Rangers turned the game back in their favour in the 54th minute when a piece of magic by Gearoid Hassett saw him turn and beat his marker and set towards goal. The young forward showed great poise as he passed the ball across the square for Shane Doona to palm the ball home and give Rangers a two point lead. Roan Moriarty kicked a super point to increase the lead to three but it was soon cancelled out by Stacks’ Slattery to leave tensions at the maximum as four minutes of additional time were announced at the end of the game.

Laune Rangers decided against flooding their defence and holding on to what they had, and instead went looking for a decisive score. That score came in the 63rd minute when, after Daragh O’Connor & James Hurley linked up well on the right flank, an outstanding 40 yard pass by Eoin Clifford took half a dozen defenders out of the reckoning and put Gearoid Hassett in on goal. There was only one thing on Hassett’s mind and he made no mistake by slamming the ball into the net to ensure the win. There was time for Stacks to go on one more attack & Gearoid Fitzgerald’s shot at goal went over the bar for a point. The final whistle was blown, cuing jubilant scenes by the Rangers supporters, who travelled to Tralee in large numbers on the evening. Full Time Score:- Laune Rangers 3-11, Austin Stacks 2-10.

Having played the entire campaign without Conor Murphy, and losing Eoin O’Sullivan to a broken collarbone just days before the Semi Final win against Dr Crokes, the winning of this County Minor League title was a huge achievement. There were heroic performances from one end of the field to the other with every player playing out of their skins. David Mangan was a colossus at centre back, as Eoin Clifford stepped into the role of wing back with a superb performance. Daragh O’Connor led by example at both wing back and wing forward, while Dáire Cleary did well under extra defensive supervision throughout. Two players in particular stood out on the day though. Roan Moriarty – having missed five months through injury with only 45 minutes game time of the previous week’s Semi Final under his belt – put in a phenomenal effort at midfield, scoring three great points and conducting traffic in the middle third of the field. The other huge performance was that of Gearoid Hassett who was given the official Man of the Match award. He scored 1-3 on the day including the winning goal, while he also played a direct role in another 2-4 – being fouled for four of the sides successful frees and the final pass across the square for both Eoin Evans' & Shane Doona’s goals.

Special mention must be given to the management. James Sheehan was manager of the last Rangers team to win this competition in 1998 and he had his charges in fantastic shape, playing a great brand of football to win this title. John Sheehan & Tim Cronin have been with this group of players since Under 14 level while Jerry O’Brien and Nigel Corkery all put in huge efforts to help this team succeed.

Team captain Daragh O’Connor put it best in the final words of his speech: “To everyone that thinks Laune Rangers are gone… this is to tell ye that we’re still here!” Watch Daragh's full acceptance speech here

Laune Rangers:- Jack Evans, Seán Cleary, Seán Arthurs, Evan Madden, Daragh O’Connor (capt) (0-1), David Mangan, Eoin Clifford, Roan Moriarty (0-3, 2f), Kevin Fitzpatrick, Ronan O’Shea, Dáire Cleary (0-2, 1f), Shane Doona (1-0), Mark O’Connor (0-2f), Eoin Evans (1-0), Gearóid Hassett (1-3). Subs: Gabriel Griffin for E Evans, James Hurley for R O’Shea, Matthew Leslie for M O’Connor; Oisin Daly, Rory O’Connor, Conor Burke, Conor Murphy, Eoin O’Sullivan.

Austin Stacks:- Ben Quilter, James Quigley, Donagh McMahon (j-capt), Eoghan Carroll, Dara Barry Walsh, Dylan Casey (j-capt), Adam Curran, Michael O’Gara (0-1), Seán Quilter (0-1), Seán Carmody, Daniel O’Rourke (0-1), Dean Scanlon, Conor Myers (1-0), Michael Slattery (0-4, 2f), Gearóid Fitzgerald (1-3). Subs: David Couchman for Carmody, Gearóid Sheehan for Scanlon, Luke Chester for Quigley; David Oba, Jack McGrath, Tom O’Farrell, Craig Teahan, Niall Fitzmaurice, Joe Looby, Danny Draghici, David Burke, Charlie Curran, Kaito Ikeuchi, Padraic Linnane.
Laune Rangers management team celebrate the win; Daragh O'Connor accepts the trophy from Competition sponsor Peter Keane of Keane's Supervalu Killorglin