The Laune Rangers side following their win over West Kerry on Sunday last
The first half of the game was very closely fought. West Kerry’s Sean Micheál O’Conchuir gave West Kerry a two point lead early in the game with a brace (1 free) before Mike Frank Russell opened Rangers’ account with a free in the 5th minute. Colm O’Muircheartaigh added to the Westerner’s tally with a well taken point before Rangers hit a purple patch, and following a Ryan Keane goal chance that was saved by WK keeper Tomás Mac an tSaoir, consistant forward pressure forced the West’s backs into conceding 3 frees that were all dispatched by Rangers – Mike Frank Russell with two and a long ranged left footer by John O’Shea gave the home side a one point lead at the quarter mark: Laune Rangers 0-4, West Kerry 0-3. Alan Fitzgerald levelled matters with a free in the 16th minute, but Rangers’ forwards – Pa Joy in particular – were proving elusive and this pressure continued to translate into frees for the home side. The trusty right boot of Mike Frank (2) and the left peg of John O’Shea punished these fouls to give Rangers the lead goin into the break as Sean M O’Conchuir added a free of his own to make the score at Half time:- Laune Rangers 0-7, West Kerry 0-5.
West Kerry introduced one Padraig Óg O’Sé – son of the legendary Paudí – at the break. The shootout between Sean M O’Conchuir & Mike Frank Russell continued into the second period also – Sean M added a brace from play following an Alan Fitzgerald free, while Russell kicked a fantastic point from distance to make the scores with 15 minutes to play: Laune Rangers 0-8, West Kerry 0-8. Alan Fitzgerald was withdrawn through injury during this period as was Rangers John O’Shea. Sean M gave West Kerry their first lead since the 9th minute with a free before wing back Colm O’Muircheartaigh got his second of the day to double his side’s advantage. Russell kept Rangers in touch with another free, before the home side struck the net for the game’s only goal – Pa Joy fist passing the ball across the small square for Shane McSweeney to punch it into the net. Rangers now led by 1-9 to 0-10 with 6 minutes to play. Sean M O’Conchuir and Eanna O’Conchuir both pointed for West Kerry to tie the game up with two minutes to play. Laune Rangers substitute David Costello edged his side ahead with a well taken point as time elapsed but there was time for another score, and it was none other than Sean M O’Conchuir – with his 8th point of the afternoon – who slotted a free to send the game to extra time.
West Kerry dominated the first period of extra time and led by two points as the teams swapped sides – Brian Raoil and Sean M (free) scoring for the Westerners, with Raoil and Paudí Óg now finding themselves at the centre of all good play for their side.
Eanna O’Concuir pointed from play to give West Kerry a three point lead, 0-16 to 1-10, with 8 minutes to play. However, Laune Rangers rallied and found an extra gear for the final stages. Shane McSweeney brought the deficit back to two points, before Mike Frank Russell slotted a free (his 8th point of the afternoon) to put the minimum between the sides. Substitute Ronan Sayers kicked a superb equalizer and with three and a half minutes to play, the outcome was anyone’s guess. There was to be a winner in this game though, and it was the Rangers skipper Shane McSweeney who took it upon himself to take the best score of the game – his left-footed effort curled the ball to clip the upright and land on the roof of the net for a score worthy of winning any game. There was time for one more piece of action, as a defensive error from Rangers gave Sean M O’Conchuir an opportunity to force a replay but his long range effort sailed wide. Referee Eddie Walsh blew the final whistle and the Rangers claimed victory after 80 minutes. Final score:- Laune Rangers 1-14, West Kerry 0-16.
The shootout between Sean M O’Conchuir and Mike Frank Russell provided an interesting side-story to the game and it was the West Kerry man who shaded the battle with 0-9 to Russell’s 0-8. The An Ghaeltacht man was the standout player for his side on the day and terrorized the Rangers defence throughout the game. Russell for his part showed that age is only a number with a masterclass. John O’Shea was playing well before his injury as he scored two long-range frees in the first half. Shane McSweeney scored two of the most important scores of the game with his goal and the winning point, and Maurice Foley was impressive at midfield. Michael O’Sullivan stood out as a rock at full back though, as well as stages spent at corner and half back.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Tommy O’Callaghan, Michael O’Sullivan, Johnny Carey, Kieran Crowley, Peter Crowley, Chris Riordan, Padraig Murphy, Maurice Foley, Ryan Keane, John O’Shea (0-2f), John Tyther, Pa Joy, Shane McSweeney (capt) (1-2), Michael F Russell (0-8, 7f). Subs used: John Sheehan, David Costello (0-1), Ronan Sayers (0-1).
West Kerry: Tomas Mac an tSaoir, Colm O’Mathuna, Gearoid O’Nuanáin, Gearoid Mac Gearailt, Gavin O’Conchuir, Cathal O’Luing, Colm O’Muircheartaigh (0-2), Roibeard Ó’Se, Micheal J Mac Gearailt, Sean M O’Conchuir (0-9, 5f), Brian Raoil (0-1), Jason O’hIceadha, Antoin O’Ceilleachair, Alan Mac Gearailt (0-2f), Eanna O’Conchuir (0-2). Subs used: Padraig Og O’Se, James Crean, Gearoid O’Léanacháin, Eoin O’Comraí.