Laune Rangers picked up their first win of the County Senior Football League season with an excellent away defeat of St Michael’s/Foilmore on Saturday evening. The clubs have now met in three separate Divisions of the County League as this Division Three encounter has followed games in Divisions One and Two in recent years. The location of the game was new to Rangers though, as the side had to make the 55km trip to St Michael’s GAA pitch in Ballinskelligs, instead of the more familiar territory of Foilmore.
Laune Rangers opened the scoring in the first minute with a Colm O’Shea point, before corner back Cian Goggin got upfield to level the scores. The home side were more clinical in the opening quarter of play, and Damien Kelly punished Rangers, pointing on three consecutive occasions from long range before John Sheehan got one back for Rangers. David Costelloe was proving to be a handful for his marker and pointed well from a difficult angle to see St Michael’s/Foilmore lead by 0-4 to 0-3 with 15 minutes played.
Connor Clarke levelled the game in the 17th minute with an excellent point for Rangers, before Mark McCarthy recaptured the lead for the hosts with a free. David Costelloe almost ended a mazy run with a goal for Rangers, but Bally/Foilmore goalkeeper Michael Galvin was equal to the shot. Colm O’Shea and Damien Kelly traded frees before O’Shea levelled the scores just before the break. Laune Rangers were defensively solid in the opening 30 minutes, and the Laune Rangers goal wasn’t threatened in the half, as Carey brothers Johnny & Patrick drove the ball outfield on multiple occasions while midfielder Padraig Murphy stole the ball twice from a Bally/Foilmore player’s grasp. Jack O’Connor and John Tyther linked play very well also in the opening period. The score at Half Time:- St Michael’s/Foilmore 0-6, Laune Rangers 0-6.
David Costelloe continued to cause problems to the home side’s defence in the early part of the second half, and won his side two early frees that were duly dispatched by Colm O’Shea – the second one from a particularly difficult position. Connor Clarke kicked his second point of the game to see Laune Rangers lead by 0-9 to 0-6 with 15 minutes to play, having kept the hosts scoreless in the third quarter.
Sean Garvey and Damien Kelly pointed in quick succession to reduce the deficit to the minimum before Laune Rangers hit the net in the 53rd minute. Some great work by John Tyther saw him feed Connor Clarke who found half a yard of space to hit a bullet of a shot to the bottom corner from 20 yards. Two great David Costelloe points book-ended points from Padraig King and Damien Kelly – the latter a super shot from 50 metres – to see Rangers continue to lead by four into injury time. A 64th minute free from Damien Kelly – his 7th point – left a goal between the sides, but Rangers’ defence again held firm, denying Bally/Foilmore a meaningful goal chance as Podge Murphy fisted a late high ball away from goal and Ronan Sayers cleaned up the loose ball. Full Time Score:- St Michael’s/Foilmore 0-11, Laune Rangers 1-11.
It was a great performance to pick up a win away from home in unfamiliar territory. At the back, Johnny Carey put in a massive shift at full back, driving his fellow defenders on and he – along with Kieran Crowley in front of him – was an assured presence for the younger defenders such the younger Carey brother Patrick & Neil O’Brien. Ryan Keane also gave a solid showing on his first full appearance after a nightmare 18 months of injury. Ahead of them, Padraig Murphy, John Sheehan & Jack O’Connor handled a lot of ball between them. However, two players in particular stood out for Rangers. David Costelloe terrorized the Bally/Foilmore full back line, ending up with three points and was fouled on multiple occasions for Colm O’Shea to add to his tally with frees. Connor Clarke was outstanding on the evening, covering a lot of ground and scoring two long range points and the goal that ultimately made the difference on the scoreboard.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Neil O’Brien, Johnny Carey, Ronan Sayers, Ryan Keane, Kieran Crowley, Michael O’Sullivan, John Sheehan (0-1), Padraig Murphy, Connor Clarke (1-2), John Tyther, Jack O’Connor, Patrick Carey, Colm O’Shea (0-5), David Costelloe (0-3). Subs used: Eamonn Carey, Pierce Tyther.
The County Senior Football League takes a break until the first weekend of June, as attention now focuses on the Intermediate Football Championship game against Milltown/Castlemaine on Easter Sunday. The game takes place at 2:30pm in Paddy Burke Memorial Park in Milltown.