Gale Force winds and driving rain greeted the teams in JP O’Sullivan Park on Sunday afternoon as the Mid Kerry Senior Championship began in earnest with a Round One tie between Laune Rangers and Beaufort. Both teams were forced into making changes, as marquee forwards Liam Carey & Danny Healy were both deemed unfit to start for Beaufort – they took their places on the bench – while the home side were missing Peter Crowley through injury and Mike Frank Russell through illness.
Beaufort had the aid of the wind at their backs in the first half but it was Rangers who struck first in the 5th minute. John O’Shea shot a 45 into the wind to dissect the posts for an excellent point. Darragh Coffey opened Beaufort’s tally with a point in the 10th minute to level matters, before Shane McSweeney pointed to restore the Rangers lead shortly after. Rangers found the net in the 15th minute, when John O’Shea palmed the ball home following some great link up play between Shane McSweeney and Colm O’Shea. At the quarter mark, Laune Rangers led by 1-2 to 0-1. Beaufort came back into the game and scored three successive points through Fergal Hallissey (2, 1 free) and an excellent strike from Darragh Coffey, while they also had a goal chance when Padraig Doona tested the reflexes of Tony Lyons in goal for Rangers. However, Laune Rangers put themselves in a very commanding position when, as normal time in the half expired, John O’Shea scored his second goal of the game with a palmed finish following a good run and unselfish pass from Pa Joy. Beaufort wing back Padraig Hartnett scored a fantastic long range point just before the short whistle, and the sides went for the shelter of the dressing room at Half Time with the score:- Laune Rangers 2-2, Beaufort 0-5.
Laune Rangers were aided by the breeze in the second half, but Beaufort stayed in touch with some great point taking from both sides. Pointed frees for Rangers by John O’Shea and Kieran Doona & one from play by Shane McSweeney were met with frees from Fergal Hallissey (2) and Francis Courtney to leave Laune Rangers leading by 2-5 to 0-8 with a quarter to play. The pivotal point in the game came in the 46th minute Ronan Sayers kicked the ball long from inside his own half into the edge of the square, only for the ball to remain untouched and bounce over the head of Mike Moriarty for Laune Rangers’ third goal. A well taken Colm O’Shea point shortly afterwards left Beaufort with a mountain to climb – trailing by seven points & playing into the galeforce wind. Keith Sheehan picked up a second yellow card & received his marching orders in the 51st minute. John O’Shea and Fergal Hallissey traded frees before Laune Rangers fourth goal put the icing on the cake for the home side, as Liam Quirke won the ball and beat his marker before passing to John Tyther who slotted the ball to the net. The score at Full Time:- Laune Rangers 4-7, Beaufort 0-9.
The terrible conditions made flowing football a difficult prospect for both sides, but there were some great scores kicked by players on both teams on the day. Beaufort’s Fergal Hallissey stood out for his team with some well taken frees, while Ronan Murphy was looking strong at midfield before his removal at half time. However, Laune Rangers were good value for their win, with Kieran Crowley & John Sheehan leading the charge. The fullback line of Johnny Carey, Michael O’Sullivan and Keith Sheehan (until his dismissal) remained solid throughout. However John O’Shea’s positioning on every attack allowed him to apply the finish to two good plays by his teammates, and his individual contribution of 2-3 was a telling factor in the win.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Michael O’Sullivan, Johnny Carey, Keith Sheehan, Ryan Keane, Kieran Crowley, Ronan Sayers (1-0), John Sheehan, Maurice Foley, David Costello, Shane McSweeney (0-2), Pa Joy, John O’Shea (2-3, 3f), Colm O’Shea (0-1), Kieran Doona (0-1f). Subs used: John Tyther (1-0) for Costello, Chris Riordan for Joy, Pa Sheehan for Doona, Liam Quirke for O’Shea, Aidan Cox for Keane.
Beaufort: Mike Moriarty, Michael J O’Connor, Ger Hartnett, James O’Reilly, Padraig Hartnett (0-1), Brendan Cronin, Jason Foley, Nathan Breen, Ronan Murphy, Fergal Hallissey (0-5, 4f), Francis Courtney (0-1f), Padraig O’Sullivan, Michael O’Sullivan, Padraig Doona, Darragh Coffey (0-2). Subs used: Liam Carey for Murphy, Shane O’Sullivan for O’Reilly, Conor Breen for Doona, Padraig Hallissey for M O’Sullivan.