JP O’Sullivan Park played host to the replayed Mid Kerry Semi Final between Laune Rangers & Keel on Sunday. Both teams lined out as they had done the previous week in Keel. Laune Rangers opened the scoring in the 2nd minute through Pa Joy, who could have found the net only for his shot to sneak over the crossbar for a point after Shane Daly had found him with a great pass. It took 5 minutes for the game’s next score to come, & it was Keel’s Gary Sayers who pointed from an acute angle on the right touchline. It was a point-for-point affair for the next few minutes, as Shane McSweeney, James Long, Pa Joy, and James Nagle all pointed to leave the sides level after a quarter – 0-3 a piece after 15 minutes. The second quarter belonged to Keel & to one Keel forward in particular. After taking a knock early in the game, Liam O’Shea recovered well and scored four points before the interval. Gary Sayers also added another, while Mike Frank Russell and Shane McSweeney pointed for Rangers to leave the score at half time: Laune Rangers 0-5, Keel 0-8.
Keel were off the blocks quickly after the break, as Gary Sayers added another point – his third – to put four points between the sides in the opening minute of the half. It took a further 8 minutes for the next score to come, as Shane McSweeney kicked a well taken point off his left foot. Colm O’Shea then forced a save from Keel ‘keeper Luke Flynn, who deflected the ball over his own bar for a point. Gary Sayers kicked the game’s first pointed free in the 45th minute to put the score after three quarters: Laune Rangers 0-7, Keel 0-10. The game could have been level on in the 47th minute, as Shane O’Connor found himself in on goal, but his shot from his weaker left foot went wide. Keel then produced a goal chance of their own, but Tony Lyons in goal for the home side pulled off a fine save. The resulting rebound didn’t clear the danger area though and the Rangers defence fouled to leave an easy free to Aaron Murphy, who duly scored to put his side ahead by 0-11 to 0-7 with 10 minutes remaining. Laune Rangers pushed forward in numbers for the final period and Keel held 11 men in defence. John Tyther got his fist to the ball to force it over the bar to leave three points between the sides, & a Mike Frank Russell free reduced the deficit even further. Pa Joy then picked up an injury with a couple of minutes to play and was a big loss to the home side. When Shane McSweeney scored a well taken point to reduce the gap to the minimum, the 60 minutes lapsed and it was up to referee Paul Hayes to add on the extras. One final opportunity was afforded to Rangers when they won a 45 and Russell stepped up to take it, only for the ball to strike the crossbar and come out to a Keel defender. Keel then won a free in defence and the clearing kick was the last of the game, and indeed the last of Laune Rangers’ season. The full time score: Laune Rangers 0-10, Keel 0-11.
Laune Rangers will be disappointed, as they had chances to win the game and only a solitary point could separate the sides after 140 minutes of play. The absence of All Star Peter Crowley as well as injured John O’Shea was a telling factor in such a close game, whereas Keel’s absent duo of goalkeeper Stephen Cahillane and fullback Gary Nagle were deputized very well by Luke Flynn & Emmet Ashe. Shane McSweeney & Pa Joy played well in defeat for Rangers, while Gary Sayers kicked some great scores for Keel. However, the performance of Liam O’Shea for Keel, especially in the 2nd quarter, was essentially the difference between the sides on the day. Keel now go on to face Milltown/Castlemaine in the Mid Kerry final.
Laune Rangers Team: Tony Lyons, Kieran Crowley, Johnny Carey, Kevin O’Sullivan, Chris Riordan, John Sheehan, Ryan Keane, Maurice Foley, Padraig Murphy, Colm O’Shea (0-1), Shane McSweeney (0-4), Shane Daly, Michael F Russell (0-2, 1f), Pa Joy (0-2), John Tyther (0-1). Subs Used: Shane O’Connor, Tommy O’Callaghan, David Costello, Kevin Flynn.
Keel Team: Luke Flynn, Gavin Evans, Emmet Ashe, Donal O’Neill, Shane Prendiville, Martin Burke, James Nagle (0-1), Thomas Ladden, James Long (0-1), Gary Sayers(0-4, 1f), Liam O’Shea (0-4), Eoin O’Neill, Terry O’Sullivan, Aaron Murphy(0-1f), Aaron Cahillane.