Laune Rangers delivered a fantastic performance in Paddy Burke Memorial Park on Easter Sunday to defeat rivals Milltown/Castlemaine in Round 1 of the County Intermediate Championship. Laune Rangers were bolstered by the return of Peter Crowley, making his first appearance of 2017 in the royal blue.
Laune Rangers took an early lead as Jack O’Connor pointed his side ahead on their first attack, and Colm O’Shea kicked a super point from distance soon after. The visitors continued to press on for the remainder of the early stages with O’Shea (2 frees) & Connor Clarke (2) adding to Rangers tally with excellent scores, as two Cathal Moriarty frees provided the response for the hosts leaving Laune Rangers leading by 0-6 to 0-2 with a quarter played.
Cathal Moriarty pointed another free for the home side, before Laune Rangers scored four unanswered points to increase their lead – Shane McSweeney & John Sheehan deciding against goal attempts to take good points while Colm O’Shea (free) and Connor Clarke added to their individual tallies with excellent scores from distance. Laune Rangers had a goal disallowed in injury time as David Costelloe’s hand was adjudged to have made contact with the ball on the ground before he tapped it into the net. This gave the hosts some impetus and they tagged on two points later in injury time through David Roche and Jonathon O’Sullivan – Roche’s effort the sole score from play the home side could muster in the opening half as Rangers defence dominated. Milltown had one chance on goal in the half but Tony Lyons gave Cathal Moriarty no sight at goal from an acute angle and saved a bullet of a shot with help from Ronan Sayers. Half Time Score:- Milltown/Castlemaine 0-5, Laune Rangers 0-10.
Milltown/Castlemaine introduced Mike Burke & Donal Kelliher at Half Time in an effort to nullify John Sheehan & Shane McSweeney’s dominance at midfield. Rangers introduced Kerry Minor player Fiachra Clifford for his Senior debut at the interval also.
Laune Rangers got the perfect start to the half as Colm O’Shea dropped the ball into the edge of the square to Connor Clarke, breaking the ball to John Tyther who finished to the net for a goal. Clarke followed this up with his fourth point of the game to put Rangers nine ahead. Colm O’Shea & Jonathon O’Sullivan traded frees before O’Sullivan & Moriarty added two more frees for the hosts to leave Laune Rangers leading by 1-12 to 0-8 with a quarter to play – the first O’Shea free coming from a foul on Kieran Crowley who was hauled down after a great run up from the back.
Laune Rangers closed up shop for the final quarter, with a mammoth defensive effort put in by all, including a superb performance at midfield from John Sheehan against his career-long rival Mike Burke. No further score would come until the 57th minute, and then it was Laune Rangers corner forward David Costelloe who pointed from an acute angle for a well deserved score for his efforts. Moriarty added a free for Milltown/Castlemaine before Pa Wrenn scored his side’s final point – only their second from play in the game. After seven additional minutes at the end of the second half, the final whistle was blown to see Laune Rangers progress to the Quarter Final of the Intermediate Championship. Full Time Score:- Milltown/Castlemaine 0-10, Laune Rangers 1-13.
This was a fantastic performance from Laune Rangers as they combined their own ingenuity & creativity in possession with a super defensive effort. Tony Lyons pulled off a great save in the first half and his kickouts provided the foundation for many scores. The backs recovered from the early loss of Neil O’Brien to injury to put in a great effort and held every Milltown starting forward scoreless from play. Crowley cousins Kieran and Peter were an assured presence at the half back line with Carey brothers Johnny & Patrick and Ryan Keane sweeping up well. Ronan Sayers stood out at the back, at times making it look like the ball was being magnetically drawn to him. John Sheehan rolled back the years at midfield dominating with Shane McSweeney while the forwards were unplayable at times. John Tyther covered a lot of ground and was rewarded with a goal, while David Costelloe terrorised the Milltown backline and was unlucky to have what looked like a perfectly good goal chalked off. Mike Frank Russell was introduced late on and the cheer that greeted the great man’s appearance was doubled as Colm O’Shea made his way to the line to huge applause after a great showing. The stand out player on the day was Connor Clarke, however. He kicked four phenomenal points from play and broke the ball to Tyther for Rangers’ goal. The County Down native has a new wave of supporters after another excellent performance, & was also given a huge ovation when withdrawn late on.
Laune Rangers play the winner of Glenflesk vs Brosna in the Quarter Final of the Intermediate Championship.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Cormac Leane, John O’Connor, Damien Murphy, Stephen Roche, Gavin McKenna, Gavin Horan, Nigel Wrenn, David Roche (0-1), Pa Wrenn (0-1), Jeremiah Hayes, Shane Murphy, Seamus Dowd, Cathal Moriarty (0-5), Jonathon O’Sullivan (0-2), Jerome Flynn. Subs: Donal Kelliher, Mike Burke, Jack McCarthy (0-1), John Blennerhassett, Derek Twiss, Ciarán O’Connor.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Aidan Cox, Johnny Carey, Ronan Sayers, Neil O’Brien, Peter Crowley, Kieran Crowley, John Sheehan, Shane McSweeney, Colm O’Shea (0-5), Jack O’Connor (0-1), John Tyther (1-0), David Costelloe (0-1), Connor Clarke (0-4), Patrick Carey. Subs: Ryan Keane, Fiachra Clifford, Mike F Russell, Padraig Murphy, Michael O’Sullivan.