The bottom two of the County SFL Division Two came head to head in a relegation four-pointer on Saturday evening as Laune Rangers hosted St Michael’s/Foilmore in JP O’Sullivan Park.
Both sides were guilty of mistakes in the opening exchanges, as a light shower of rain at the beginning of the game made the ball & the firm pitch quite slippery. Very little separated the sides during this time and with a quarter hour played, St Michaels/Foilmore were one point ahead – Padraig King (2) and Cian O’Connor pointing for the visitors while Colm O’Shea slotted two frees for Rangers.
The first main talking point of the game came in the 17th minute, as a great pass from Rangers’ Kieran Doona found Kevin Flynn at the edge of the square and he was hauled down by goalkeeper Jason O’Shea inside the area for a penalty. The foul earned O’Shea a black card and John Tyther stepped to the spot kick with wing forward Matthew O’Sullivan facing him – the replacement goalie Michael Galvin prevented from entering the game until after the place kick was taken. Tyther made no mistake with the kick and nestled the ball to the bottom corner. Points followed for the hosts through Kieran Doona, Kevin Flynn & Shane O’Connor before Darran O’Sullivan got the last score of the half with a pointed free. The teams went for the dressing room at the break with the Half Time score:- Laune Rangers 1-5, St Michaels/Foilmore 0-4.
Colm O’Shea extended the Rangers lead early in the second half with a fisted effort over the bar, before Bally/Foilmore drew themselves back in the game as they began to gain superiority at midfield. A pointed free by Bernard Kelly was soon followed by a goal for the visitors – Mark McCarthy getting his fist to a long pass to beat Michael O’Sullivan and Tony Lyons, sending the ball to the net. Maurice Foley succumbed to injury in the 41st minute having received an earlier hit, and Mark Healy returned to senior football in his place. Darran O’Sullivan pointed to level the game up at 1-6 a piece before Shane O’Connor and Damien Kelly traded points. With a quarter to play, the score stood at Laune Rangers 1-7, St Michaels/Foilmore 1-7.
Laune Rangers got their noses in front when Kevin Flynn pointed a free, before Rangers got their second goal. Kieran Crowley broke out of defence and drove up field, sending a super pass to Shane O’Connor who had made a clever lateral run. O’Connor kept his composure to beat Michael Galvin to restore the hosts’ four point lead with 10 minutes of normal time to play.
St Michael’s Foilmore laid siege to the Rangers defence for the final stages and points from Darran O’Sullivan (2 frees) & Cian O’Connor left the minimum between the sides as the 60 minutes expired. Five minutes of injury time would follow but Rangers held out, with a late surge stopped by a Michael O’Sullivan interception and Rangers picked up the all important win. Full Time Score: Laune Rangers 2-8, St Michaels/Foilmore 1-10.
St Michaels/Foilmore will feel disappointed, but Rangers were deserved victors. Cian O’Connor, Padraig King and Darran O’Sullivan were best for the visitors. Kevin Flynn played well for Rangers and was ever-dangerous near goal, indeed winning the penalty when he was denied a sure goal himself. Colm O’Shea was carrying an injury into the game but linked play excellently both inside at his full-forward position and further outfield as the play progressed. Conall Kelly carried a knock throughout the game after an early niggle and played well at midfield. At the back, Kieran Crowley led the troops when they were needed most and, with John Sheehan returning and playing outside him, they defence held on for what seemed like an eternity in injury time. However, special mention must be reserved for Shane O’Connor, who scored two fine points and the crucial goal.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Michael O’Sullivan, Kieran Crowley, Ronan Sayers, David Costelloe, John Sheehan, John Tyther (1-0 pen), Maurice Foley, Conall Kelly, Shane O’Connor (1-2), Kieran Doona (0-1), Daniel Macbeth, Patrick Daly, Colm O’Shea (0-3, 2f), Kevin Flynn (0-2, 1f). Subs: Mark Healy, Eric Dunlea.
St Michaels/Foilmore: Jason O’Shea, Emmet Curran, Darragh Scanlon, DJ Moran, Kevin Cronin, Alan Smith, Jeremiah Moran, Mark McCarthy (1-0), Cian O’Connor (0-2), Padraig King (0-2), Damien Kelly (0-1), Matthew O’Sullivan, Bernard Kelly (0-1f), Darran O’Sullivan (0-4, 3f), Ciarán Clifford. Subs: Michael Galvin (bc rep), James Moran, Sean O’Connor.