Russell fires up Shannon’s giant-killers
By Brendan McCarthy (IrishExaminer.com)
Laune Rangers: 3 – 13
Rathmore: 2 – 04
Laune Rangers’ irresistible march through this year’s Kerry SFC continued apace as they secured a semi-final berth by comfortably dealing with the challenge posed by Rathmore in Fitzgerald Stadium on Saturday.
A powerful second-half performance by the Killorglin club, where they outscored their rivals 3-5 to 1-2, saw them progress.
Despite being comprehensively outplayed, two goals kept Rathmore in touch for almost 40 minutes. However, once Laune Rangers put their foot on the gas there was only ever going to be one outcome.
For Laune Rangers’ manager Joe Shannon the dream continues.
“We are the Stevenage of county championship football at this point in time. Every day is a battle and I’m sure when our name goes into the hat, like it did the last time, everybody hopes our name comes out again,” he said. “Fellows rise to that sort of thing and it has worked so far.”
The final scoreline might suggest that Shannon’s side had an easy passage but it betrays the spirited challenge Rathmore posed for two-thirds of the game.
After 40 minutes the scores were level at 2-3 to 0-9, thanks in no small part to a fine John Buckley goal for Rathmore after nine minutes and Eoin Lawlor’s 38th-minute penalty.
But from then on Laune Rangers took over and one could not but be impressed by the manner in which they dispatched Rathmore.
Once again, veteran Mike Frank Russell turned on the style, bagging 1-5 over the hour, while fellow attacker Pa Joy showed why he is a contender for player of the championship.
Joy’s industry in attack was a revelation as he scored 0-2 and had a hand in all three of Rangers’ goals.
Laune Rangers played all the football in the opening 30 minutes but only led by 0-8 to 1-2 at half time.
A second goal four minutes into the second half — a penalty converted by Lawlor after a foul on John Buckley — left Rathmore trailing 2-2 to 0-9. A point from Lawlor levelled matters in the 38th minute, however that was about as good as it got.
Laune Rangers, All-Ireland club champions in 1996, the last time the Bishop Moynihan trophy resided in Killorglin, simply moved through the gears and deservedly carved out a 12-point winning margin.
A 45-minute Kieran Doona goal exquisitely created by Pa Joy set them on the victory trail, while further goals from Russell and Jeremy O’Callaghan in the 51st and 61st minutes underlined their superiority.
For Rathmore manager Denis Desmond, defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.
“I’m very disappointed. Laune Rangers deserved it. We thought we would have put up a better performance than that,” he said.
Scorers for Laune Rangers: M F Russell 1-5 (2f, 2 45), K Doona 1-1, J. O’Callaghan 1-0, T McGillycuddy, S McSweeney, P Joy 0-2 each, P Crowley 0-1.
Scorers for Rathmore: E Lawlor 1-2, J Buckley 1-0, M O’Riordan 0-2 (1f).
LAUNE RANGERS: T Lyons; K Crowley, J Carey, J O’Callaghan; C Riordan, P Crowley, K Sheehan; J Sheehan, T McGillycuddy; S McSweeney, P Joy, P Sheehan; MF Russell, L Hassett, K Doona. Subs: G O’Mahony for Hassett (44), J O’Connor for Sheehan (52), A Gamble for O’Callaghan (61), R Keane for Crowley (61).
RATHMORE: P McCarthy; J O’Sullivan, B O’Leary, C Kelly; S Reen, C O’Sullivan, P Murphy; A O’Mahony, J Buckley; D O’Sullivan, G O’Keeffe, B O’Keeffe; M O’Riordan, M Reen, E Lawlor. Subs: T O’Sullivan for Kelly (11), P Reen for O’Riordan (53).
Referee: T McCarthy (Castleisland Desmonds).