Laune Rangers hosted Beaufort in the Mid Kerry Minor Championship Semi Final on Saturday afternoon. Beaufort defeated Milltown/Castlemaine in the first round, while Laune Rangers hadn’t played since winning the Central League final in September. Beaufort got off to a brighter start, scoring three unanswered points in the opening 5 minutes – Liam Carey with 2 (1 free) and Darragh Coffey scoring for the visitors. Patrick Daly got Rangers off the mark in the 9th minute with a well taken point, but it was soon cancelled out by a Mike Breen point for Beaufort. Eoghan O’Sullivan pointed for Rangers, but Liam Carey responded with a free for Beaufort to leave the visiting team in the lead by 0-5 to 0-2 at the quarter mark
Two goals lit up the game in the 2nd quarter. Danny Healy finished a great move by finding the net for Beaufort, but it was immediately cancelled out by well taken David Costello goal. Eoghan O’Sullivan found himself through on the Beaufort goal but failed to hit the target when his shot went high & was adjudged wide by the referee. Patrick Daly (free) & Jamie Clifford reduced the Rangers’ deficit to the minimum before Liam Carey slotted a free to put two between the sides at the break. The score at half time: Laune Rangers 1-4, Beaufort 1-6.
Points were exchanged between the sides at the beginning of the second half – Darragh Coffey and Patrick Daly with frees for their respective sides. Liam Carey then slotted a free of his own to increase the Beaufort lead to three, but this could have been wiped out when a Laune Rangers goal chance was missed – some great work by Jamie Clifford beat the goalkeeper but the ball came back off the crossbar, & the rebound was put wide by half time substitute Jesse McCormack. This left the score after three quarters: Laune Rangers 1-5, Beaufort 1-8.
Two frees by Patrick Daly brought Laune Rangers back to within a point with ten minutes to play, but the score of the game then came from All Ireland Minor winner Liam Carey who superbly split the posts from 50 yards to double his side’s advantage. Then, with just a minute of normal time to play, disaster struck for Rangers. A 45 yard free taken by Liam Carey dropped into the square and went untouched to bounce straight into the net. This was the winning of the game for Beaufort, and a final Patrick Daly free left the final score: Laune Rangers 1-8, Beaufort 2-9.
Laune Rangers will be disappointed with the result as they had their chances to put pressure on Beaufort. Daniel Macbeth and John Tyther worked hard under constant pressure all game, while wingback Daniel Whittleton was outstanding on the flanks and under the breaking ball at midfield, & Patrick Daly’s pointed frees kept Rangers in touch. However, the class of Liam Carey shone through, as his 1-6 was no coincidence & if his shooting boots were tightened a little more he would have reached double figures on his points tally. Mike Breen and Darragh Coffey were dangerous throughout also.
Beaufort’s game on the previous weekend probably turned out to be an advantage to them, while Laune Rangers first loss in a Mid Kerry Minor Championship match since 2005 now opens the door for another team to etch their name on the trophy, and an eight year dominance of Minor football in the division comes to an end (for one year at least)
Laune Rangers Team: Rob Lynch, Pierce Tyther, Aidan Cox, Jack Smith, Neil O’Shea, John Tyther, Daniel Whittleton, Daniel Macbeth, Gearoid Joy, Jamie Clifford (0-1), David Costello (1-0), Manus Gallagher, Patrick Daly (0-6, 5f), Eoghan O’Sullivan (0-1), John C O’Brien. Sub used: Jesse McCormack (HT).
Beaufort Team: Darragh Curran, Ciaran Kennedy, Brendan Cronin, Cormac O'Connor, Declan Floyd, Mike Breen (0-1), Michael Healy, Shane O'Sullivan, Liam Carey (1-6, 5f), Conor Cronin, Danny Healy, Kevin Coffey, Joseph Glenwood, Niall O'Connor, Darragh Coffey (0-2, 1f). Sub used: Aaron Foley.