Laune Rangers 0-8, An Ghaeltacht 0-10
On a crisp Spring Saturday evening in Killorglin, Laune Rangers started life as an Intermediate club with a 1st Round Club Championship tie against An Ghaeltacht in JP O’Sullivan Park. It was the first time the two sides clashed in Championship football since the County Senior Football Final of 2003, which the West Kerry side won after a replay. Both sides were almost at full strength, apart from the absence through injury of Brian Ó Beaglaoí for An Ghaeltacht while Mike Frank Russell and John Sheehan were on the replacements bench for Laune Rangers.
An Ghaeltacht dominated the opening exchanges, and led by 0-4 to 0-0 after 16 minutes – Sean M O’ Conchuir, Eanna O’Conchuir & Dara O’Se (2) scoring. This lead may have been greater, but Tony Lyons pulled off an excellent save from Dara O’Sé at point blank range. Veteran duo John Sheehan and Mike Frank Russell were introduced after 20 minutes, and the change made an instant impact. With his first touch, Russell won a free & pointed it himself to get Rangers on the scoreboard. Laune Rangers backs were now winning the battle at the back, but scores were very much at a premium in a mistake riddled half. John Tyther managed to get forward from wingback to score an excellent point late in the half. John O’Shea added a free just before the short whistle to leave just a point in it at the break. The Half Time score:- Laune Rangers 0-3, An Ghaeltacht 0-4.
Mike Frank Russell nearly gave Laune Rangers the lead in the first minute of the second half, but his shot at goal was saved by Tomás Mac An tSaoir. Sean M O’Conchuir pointed a free for the visitors before John Tyther scored his second excellent point of the evening in the 3rd minute of the half. Laune Rangers tied up the score with a pointed free through John O’Shea. O’Shea had the opportunity to put Rangers in command with a goal chance, but Mac An tSaoir was equal to the shot once more. An Ghaeltacht edged in front again with a long range point from Eoin beag Mac Gearailt – the point ending a seven minute period that saw no score in the game. With a quarter left to play, An Ghaeltacht led by 0-6 to 0-5.
An Ghaeltacht were still edging it with 5 minutes to play, after points by Sean M O’Conchuir and Marc O’Sé were respectively cancelled out by John O’Shea and Mike Frank Russell. When Kieran Doona – reintroduced having been replaced by Russell in the first half – scored the equalizing point in the 61st minute, it looked as though extra time was beckoning. However, there was still plenty of time to play. Kieran Crowley had no complaint when he picked up a black card after hauling Sean M O’Conchuir to the ground, and Sean M scored the free with his left foot from 50 yards to edge An Ghaeltacht in front. Rangers lost the ball up field & the quick counter attack drew another foul by the Rangers backs. Sean M stepped up again – this time with his right – and kicked the insurance score to secure the win for An Ghaeltacht. Final score:- Laune Rangers 0-8, An Ghaeltacht 0-10.
There wasn’t much between the sides on the day. Laune Rangers recovered from a slow start to get back into the game and it was largely built on strong defence as the game progressed. Tony Lyons saved superbly in the first half to stop An Ghaeltacht getting out of sight & in front of him, John Tyther added to a solid defensive game with two well taken points. John Sheehan & Mike Frank Russell rolled back the years when they came on, leading their team mates back into the game. Shane Daly & Maurice Foley gelled together well at midfield & it was Foley that stood out for Rangers on the day with a true captain’s effort. Tomás Mac An tSaoir twice saved his side, but it was Sean M O’Conchuir who would take any Man of the Match honours (if there had been an award) as he kicked some great scores, including the final two frees to win the game.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Michael O’Sullivan, Kieran Crowley, Ronan Sayers, Liam Quirke, Peter Crowley, John Tyther (0-2), Maurice Foley (c), Shane Daly, Colm O’Shea, Daniel Macbeth, David Costelloe, John O’Shea (0-3), Conal Kelly, Kieran Doona (0-1). Subs used: John Sheehan, Michael F Russell (0-2), Patrick Daly, Westley Delaney, Johnny Carey.
An Ghaeltacht: Tomás Mac an tSaoir, Cian Ó Murchú, Cathal Ó Lúing, Caoimhín Ó Beaglaoí, Pádraig Ó Sé, Colm Ó Muircheartaigh (c), Cathal Ó Fiannachta, Éanna Ó Conchúir (0-1), Ciarán Ó Coileáin, Eoin beag Mac Gearailt (0-1), Marc Ó Sé (0-1), Dara Ó Sé (0-2), Pádraig Óigí Ó Sé, Sean M. Ó Conchúir (0-5), Seamas Ó Muircheartaigh. Subs used. Peter Paul Sauerland, Máirtín O’ Gormáin, Gearóid Mac an tSaoir.