Round 8 of the County Senior Football League took place this weekend, and John Mitchels travelled to Killorglin on Sunday to face Laune Rangers in JP O’Sullivan Park. Laune Rangers were without the services of Kerry Senior Peter Crowley, as well as John O’Shea and the injured Michael O’Sullivan. Meanwhile, Mitchels were without Niall Sheehy and John Higgins but had the Kerry Junior captain Alan O’Donoghue available to play after their All Ireland Semi Final victory the previous day.
John Mitchels started much brighter and had a 4 point lead inside of 5 minutes – Sean Maloney pointed first, and then capitalized on a defensive error between Rangers’ goalkeeper and defenders to kick the ball to an empty net for an easy goal. Laune Rangers settled though, and had taken the lead by the 18th minute as points by Shane McSweeney, Mike Frank Russell (3 frees) and David Costello put the score at Laune Rangers 0-5, John Mitchels 1-1 with goal chances being created without success by both sides. John Mitchels regained the lead with points from Wayne Duggan and Stevie O’Mahony, but another Russell free levelled the scores once more. Traded frees by Alan O’Donoghue and Russell kept the teams at stalemate, but then with just a minute to play before the break, the Tralee side took command. Jonathan O’Halloran pointed from play with the outside of his boot to take the lead, and then was at the end of a long ball into the small square to fist the ball to the net. Another Mike Frank Russell free saw the sides go in at the break with the score of: Laune Rangers 0-8, John Mitchels 2-5.Just two minutes of the second half had passed when Rangers drew level. Pa Joy beat Mitchels ‘keeper Dermot Raggett at close range for a goal. Shane McSweeney put Rangers ahead with a point but Jonathan O’Halloran drew Mitchels level shortly afterwards. Another Shane McSweeney point was again cancelled out – this time by an Alan O’Donoghue free – and with 15 minutes to play the sides were level at Laune Rangers 1-10, John Mitchels 2-7. Mitchels took the lead again with a pointed free by Alan O’Donoghue, and had a chance for their third goal only for the Wayne Duggan shot to be saved excellently by Tony Lyons. Yet another defensive mix up awarded Mitchels with a point, as Jonathan Carey kept a loose shot in play only to be dispossessed and Wayne Duggan slotted the ball over to give the Tralee side a two point advantage with 10 minutes to play. Mike Frank Russell reduced the gap to the minimum with a superb point from play, but this was cancelled out by a Wayne Duggan free. Mike Frank Russell slotted another free for Rangers (his 8th point of the day) as normal time expired to put just a point between the sides again, but the time allowed at the end of the game was not too generous and referee Eddie Walsh blew the final whistle to give the visitors the all important league points. Full Time score: Laune Rangers 1-12, John Mitchels, 2-10
The team that made fewer errors in this game was the one that took the spoils, as Mitchel’s two first half goals were both avoidable. Rangers’ David Costello and Shane McSweeney were a constant threat to the opposition, while the evergreen Mike Frank Russell punished every defensive foul by the Mitchels to finish with 0-8 with 7 coming from placed ball. The availability of Alan O’Donoghue was a huge bonus to John Mitchels as he kept Rangers’ Kieran Crowley busy throughout. Jake Moran and Wayne Duggan put in solid performances also, but the difference maker on the day was Jonathan O’Halloran. The wing forward contributed some important scores including the team’s second goal, which proved to be the difference on the day. The result of this game means that John Mitchels are very much in the hunt for promotion and are joint leaders, while Rangers are lingering above the bottom three with teams below them having a game in hand.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Tommy O’Callaghan, Johnny Carey, Kieran Crowley, Chris Riordan, Ronan Sayers, Ryan Keane, Maurice Foley, Daniel Macbeth, David Costello (0-1), Shane McSweeney (0-3), John Tyther, Pa Joy (1-0), Colm O’Shea, Michael F Russell (0-8, 7f). Subs used: John Sheehan, Padraig Murphy, Patrick Daly.
John Mitchels: Dermot Raggett, Dan Kerins, Lawrence Bastible, Cian Sheridan, Frank O’Donnell, Brendan O’Mahony, Ciarán Deane, Mike Wrenn, Mike Deane, Jonathan O’Halloran (1-2), Stevie O’Mahony (0-1), Jake Moran, Alan O’Donoghue (0-3f), Wayne Duggan (0-3, 1f), Sean Moloney (1-1). Sub used: John Horgan.