Laune Rangers – 1996
Laune Rangers won the 1995 All-Ireland Club Football Championship for the first time.
Laune Rangers retained the Co. Senior Football Championship, winning it for the 10th time.
Laune Rangers retained the Munster Club Football Championship, winning the Michael O Connor Cup for the second time.
Laune Rangers won the Co. Football League Div. 1 title for the third successive year and the 7th time in total.
Laune Rangers retained the Co. Junior Football League, winning it for the second time.
Laune Rangers retained the Co. Club ‘B’ Championship (Molyneaux Cup), winning it for the fourth time in total.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship for the 7th successive year and the 20th time in total.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry Senior Football League for the 4th year-in-a-row, the 10th time in eleven years and the 16th time in total.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry ‘B’ Football Championship for the 6th successive year and the 13th time in total.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry Minor Football League in its inaugural year.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry U-16 Football Championship for the 24th time.
Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry U-14 Football Championship for the 25th time.
Laune Rangers won the Tralee District Board U-12 Football Championship for the first time.
Kerry, captained by Billy O Shea (0-2), won the Munster Senior Football Championship. Mike Hassett played at fullback and Liam Hassett (0-1) at full-forward.
Kerry, captained by Johnny Lynch, won the Munster Minor Football Championship. Eoin O Connell played at left fullback.
Kerry, captained by Liam Hassett (0-2), retained the Munster and All-Ireland U-21 Football Championship. Michael F. Russell (0-3) played at left full-forward and Pa O Sullivan was a substitute.
Liam Hassett made his senior inter-county debut against Cork in the NFL in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sun. 31st March.
Michael F. Russell (0-1) made his senior inter-county debut against Derry in the NFL on Sun. 27th Oct. in Killarney.
Intermediate School, captained by Pa O Sullivan, won the Munster (Corn Uí Mhuirí) and All-Ireland (Hogan Cup) Senior Colleges Football Championships for the first time.
Scoil Mhuire won the Co. Cumann na mBunscol Boys’ Div. 1 Final.
James Coffey was Joint-Treasurer of the Kerry Co. Board for the 24th successive year.
Laune Rangers lost the Co. U-16 Football Championship Final to Listowel Emmett’s.
Laune Rangers lost the final of the Tralee District U-16 Football Championship to John Mitchels after a replay.
Laune Rangers lost the Co. Féile Peile na nOg final to Austin Stacks.
Laune Rangers lost the Mid-Kerry U-12 Football Final to Keel.
The Intermediate School lost the Dunloe Cup Final to St. Brendan’s, Killarney.
Kerry lost to Laois in the All-Ireland Minor Football Championship Final
* * * * * * * * * *
The AGM of the Laune Rangers Club was held in the Manor Inn, Killorglin on Mon. 22nd Jan. 1996. (The Secretary’s Report was given at the end of 1995). The Chairman, Jerome Conway, in his address, stated that the hurlers on the ditch should do more to put their criticisms to the test. 1995 was the greatest year in the history of the club. He thanked all the winning teams and stated that the ‘B’ team was due special praise. Those players were enthusiastic and extremely fit and some of them had been drafted into the senior squad during the year. The senior panel had brought glory to the club. He gave a warning not to look beyond the semi-final in Ennis on the 18th February. He praised the work of Mary Clifford, Muingaphouca, for looking after the Scór members. He asked for greater support for the Rangers’ lotto, as it was the club’s greatest source of income. He warned that 1996 would be a challenging year for the club and he advised that special attention would have to be given to the juveniles – they must not be forgotten.
The following officers were elected:
President – Paddy Crowley.
Vice-Presidents – Kevin Foley, Christy O Riordan and Mícheál O Mahony were added to the list.
Chairman – Jerome Conway.
Vice-Chairman – Jim Galvin.
Secretary – Tommy Woods (Dermot O Shea did not seek re-election).
Treasurers – James Coffey and Michael Foley.
Registrars – Liam Shannon and Batty Foley.
PRO – Bernadette Corkery.
Delegate to Co. Board – John Clifford.
Delegates to Mid-Kerry Board – John Clifford and Donal Pigott.
Senior Football Selection Committee – as the team was in the All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final, it was decided not to change that committee (Trainer – John Evans. Selectors – John Griffin and Patsy Joy). A special meeting of the club would be called to decide the issue, once the team had completed its participation in that competition.
‘B’ Team Selection Committee – Ger Counihan, Maurice Corkery and Michael O Shea.
‘C’ Team Selection Committee – Michael O Shea and Peter Lyons.
All-Ireland Club Football Championship 1995
Tony Leen wrote the following in the Cork Examiner in the week prior to the All-Ireland Semi-final: “Killorglin’s Laune Rangers have developed into one of the country’s most formidable footballing clubs. But they are not accidental heroes. A long drive down to Killorglin on a bad night, and plenty of time to dissect and analyse their achievements. More importantly, to consider the structures, and the time they took to establish, which have put Laune Rangers on an isolated, but privileged, plateau in Kerry football.
Whatever else happens in Ennis on Sunday against Corofin, no-one can deny the writing in the record-books of 1995. Statistics: Co. Senior Football Champions, Co. U-21 Football Champions, Co. Minor Football Champions, the Co. Club ‘B’ Football Champions, Co. Club ‘C’ Football Champions, Senior Co. League Div. 1 Champions, Mid-Kerry Senior Football Champions, Mid-Kerry Senior Football League Champions – a clean sweep, the whole shooting match and can we enlarge that trophy cupboard, please. The trouble is that success breeds greed and two obstacles, the first of them a very handy Galway side, stand between Laune Rangers and the ‘perfect season’.
In baseball, a pitcher covets the notion of the perfect game – nine innings with no runs and no hits for the opposing batters. But a perfect season? Is that possible? Evidently, but the pressure-meter is growing for Killorglin, who go into Sunday’s penultimate test as strong favourites, despite their protestations to the contrary. ‘Yes, we’ve won everything we contested this year,’ says John Evans, the team trainer, almost afraid to tempt fate.
The Laune Rangers’ story begins where it should – in school. The local national school principal is Jerome Conway, and when observers begin to rationalise the absurd amount of underage success of Killorglin, it doesn’t take a college degree to work out the starting point. There is probably a Jerome Conway in every club, but the trick has been to nurture the talents and, crucially, to keep them in Killorglin. When emigration comes knocking on Laune Rangers’ door, there are scarcely any takers. Fujisawa, Fexco and others have absorbed the pool of local talent – of which there is an enviable surplus.
In one Co. League Div. 1 game last year, Laune Rangers brought three Kerry seniors off the substitutes’ bench in the second half. Pat McKenna, Conor Kearney and Billy O Sullivan added 2-4 to a rout. Local grocer, Pa Foley, likes to tell that one, but then Laune Rangers are a source of chest-pouting for the entire town. Last Tuesday evening after training, ‘B’ team selector and owner of Bunkers Bar and Restaurant dished up a steak for the squad. This is a special week but, even off-peak, Ger Counihan’s lively hostelry is dishing up soup and sandwiches to the players.
They are the third different dynasty to emerge from Kerry in the last decade. Castleisland Desmonds and Dr. Crokes preceded them, and both won an All-Ireland Club title. But neither had the reservoir of underage nuggets to continue success beyond a handful of years. That is what sets Killorglin apart. The club had five players on the Kerry minor panel last year. The local Intermediate School will face St. Brendan’s, Killarney, on Sunday week in the Munster Colleges’ semi-final. Good for another seven or eight years, all going equal! Noted one rival manager, ‘Promising minors seem to disappear into the system, because there are so many of them around.’
Statistics again: Between 1986 and 1990, Laune Rangers contested five successive county minor finals, winning three with Evans as trainer. They are, also, the current champions. The system is working, but Kerry seniors like Billy O Shea, who helps with the U-10’s,ensure long-term continuity. ‘I suppose we’ve got recognition in Kerry and people in the town now enjoy the fact that Laune Rangers are known beyond the county bounds,’ said the trainer.
It has been a very satisfying experience for the older members of the panel like Joe Shannon, Paudie Sheahan, Pierce Prendiville and Peter Lyons. Prendiville has been one of the most consistent midfield grafters in Kerry for a decade but recognition in terms of green and gold has been sparse, embarrassingly sparse. They have waited a long time for flourishing youth, and after three senior championship victories since 1989, an All-Ireland is the missing scalp.
‘The players won’t be happy because the All-Ireland is a natural progression in their development as a team,’ said John Evans. A no-nonsense grafter, the Tralee-based Garda detests the notion that some of his players could become big-headed. The players are treated properly, reimbursed for financial loss and warned not to let success get a run on them. If ever a man was suited to knocking the airs and graces off a gobdaw, it is John Evans. There are quiet, studious managers, who think deeply and quietly on the sideline without fuss, but John is not one.
Ground rules for media work at their J.P. O Sullivan Park – ‘we’ll talk away to you, but Gerard Murphy, and only Gerard Murphy, will speak on behalf of the players.’ No explanation, but one senses that past experience has taught the mentors a valuable lesson. Murphy, the captain, is a confident performer, blighted by two savage and long-term leg-injuries, but a dangerously effective forward whose good days usually win games pretty much on their own. Yet, in the county final last year, he was taken off shortly after halftime. The negatives? An absence of the Meath factor, the physical presence of a McEntee or Harnan to relieve himself of a shuddering shoulder at the right time. Should that matter?”
Eamonn Horan previewed the game in the Kerryman as follows: “Laune Rangers embark on the penultimate stage of what they hope will be a dream come true when they travel to Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday to take on Corofin of Galway, in the All-Ireland Club Football semi-final. And, with an impressive Munster Championship campaign behind them, the Kerry and Munster Champions must have every chance of making it to the All-Ireland final.
However, Rangers have never been otherwise than circumspect when it comes to bidding for championship honours. Team trainer/manager, John Evans, summarises it thus, ‘Semi-finals are there to be played and won – finals look after themselves.’ Evans confessed to having ‘a couple of small problems’ on the run-up to Sunday’s showdown with the Connacht champions. He explained that Mike Hassett had picked up a hamstring injury in the League game against Tyrone a fortnight ago and had not trained last week, but he is expected to be fully fit. Brother Liam has been a flu victim and actually missed the Tyrone game as a result. But he, too, is regarded as a definite starter on Sunday at full-forward. The third Hassett brother, corner-back Adrian, has fully recovered from the injury, which forced his retirement in the closing stages of their Munster final victory over Moyle Rovers.
‘Other than that, we have had a very good preparation for Sunday’s semi-final,’ said John Evans. ‘We have had some good challenge games, which have brought us on. We played UCC four weeks ago, University of Limerick a week later and Kerry two weeks ago. We lost all three matches, which were played in Ballybunion, but they were valuable games as far as we were concerned.’
On their way to the Munster title, Laune Rangers had fine wins over Bantry Blues in the opening round, Claughaun in the semi-final and Moyle Rovers in the final. By far the toughest game was the opener against Bantry Blues at the latter venue. On an atrocious day, Rangers were pushed to the very pin of their collars to stave off the mighty Cork champions. Two dynamic first-half goals from captain Gerard Murphy proved vital for Rangers. A Bantry goal late in the game brought them within a kick of their rivals, but Rangers showed tremendous grit when holding on for a one-point win (2-8 to 1-10). They had it much easier in the semi-final, defeating Claughaun by eight points at Killorglin (0-15 to 1-4). Moyle Rovers posed quite a threat in the opening half of the Munster final at Páirc Uí Rinn but, once they found top gear, there was no stopping Laune Rangers and goals by Gerard Murphy, Liam Hassett and wing-back Shane O Sullivan saw them coast to victory on the score 3-19 to 2-4.
Corofin will have to be at their very best to contain the likes of Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville at midfield, the Hassetts, Sheahan, Byrne and O Sullivan in defence and Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea, Gerard Murphy and Paul Griffin in attack. ‘I have seen Corofin and they are a good mix of senior players and very young players,’ said trainer John Evans. ‘They have won all their challenge games recently and we have lost ours. It will all depend on the day. I would be cautiously optimistic. It’s hard to get fellows going at this time of year. We had fifteen coach-loads of supporters at the Munster final and we are expecting something similar on Sunday. I am hoping we will be totally focussed for the semi-final and St. Patrick’s Day is a long way off. I am not looking beyond Sunday.’
It looks like being a thriller at Cusack Park but, on their form to date, Laune Rangers must be taken to book a place in the final.”
Semi-final on Sun. 18th Feb. at Cusack Park, Ennis: Laune Rangers 0-8; Corofin 0-6.
The weather and underfoot conditions were atrocious and good football was certainly out of the question. In was more a matter of digging deep into reserves of stamina and experience. That the team did, none more so than Mike Hassett, when the going got tough. Timmy Fleming was superb at midfield, while Pierce Prendiville, also, showed up well. Mark O Connor didn’t give their danger-man, Derek O Reilly, a kick, while Paudie Sheahan revelled in the conditions. John Clifford, John Griffin, Michael O Shea and Jerome Conway had gone to see Corofin playing in the Connacht Club final and so a dossier on their players had been composed, which indeed helped.
Eamonn Horan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Laune Rangers kept their dream of All-Ireland glory alive at a very wet and windy Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday when they survived a mighty bid by Galway kingpins, Corofin, to topple them in this grimly-contested AIB All-Ireland Club Football semi-final. When all is said and done, it was a victory for the steely resolve and greater experience of the Kerry title-holders.
Rangers went into this game as fairly firm favourites to book their ticket to the final, but they were pushed to the very limit by a Corofin side who weren’t intimidated in the slightest by the reputation of their rivals and who stayed in contention right to the final whistle. Unfortunately, it was a game that was ruined as a real test of natural football ability by appalling weather conditions. Driving rain and a gale-force wind made it a real ordeal for the players and one can only surmise on what a fine game of football it might have been in better conditions.
Corofin were aided by the wind in the opening half, which they dominated for long periods. They had two hard-working midfielders in Gerry Burke and Pauric Glynn and this pair plied their forwards with a liberal supply of good ball. But, fortunately for Rangers, the Connacht champions missed a series of fine scoring chances and, as a result, they went in at halftime leading by just a solitary point (0-3 to 0-2). Corofin kicked no fewer than eight wides in that half and they had good reason to rue those misses in the end. Such was their territorial superiority that they should have enjoyed a cushion of at least four or five points facing into the elements after halftime. One point left them in a very weak position indeed. Rangers, for their part, had battled heroically all through the first half and it is because of their great commitment and resolve that they were able to stay within a score of their opponents after the 30 minutes.
There was much to admire about Rangers’ overall performance, given the dreadful conditions prevailing. Even when the Galway side was piling on the pressure in the opening half, Rangers kept their heads and remained unruffled. Corofin were two points up inside the opening 12 minutes, with the scores coming from centre half-forward Eddie Steede and corner-forward Shane Conlisk. There was an amount of bunching in the middle of the field and players on both sides were finding it extremely difficult to control the ball. Rangers can be thankful for the scores frittered away by their opponents in this half. In the 21st minute, the Killorglin side opened their account with a punched point from Billy O Shea and minutes later they were on level terms when Mike Hassett took a pass from his brother Liam to slot over a great point (0-2 apiece). However, Corofin regained the initiative a minute later when full-forward Trevor Burke kicked a superb point from out on the left wing and that’s the way it stayed until halftime (0-3 to 0-2).
The rain continued to spill down when the second half got under way and Rangers were quickly into their stride. Timmy Fleming pointed to tie the scores for the second time and, urged on by their huge numbers of supporters, the Killorglin side kept up the pressure on their rivals. Billy O Sullivan – he lined out in place of the injured Gerard Murphy at left half-forward – and Joe Shannon combined to carve out an opening for Billy O Shea to pop over a lovely point for the lead for Rangers in the 37th minute. Then the towering Conor Kearney – the centre half-forward really came into his own in this half – kicked a brilliant point a minute later and Rangers never looked back after that. Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville were lording it at midfield, with Fleming being particularly outstanding and the fair-haired midfielder had the fans cheering wildly again when he pointed a free in the 45th minute to leave his side leading by double scores (0-6 to 0-3).
But Rangers hadn’t quite shaken off their opponents and two pointed frees by Michael Donnellan saw their advantage reduced to a single point with 10 minutes remaining. However, Rangers responded in style when Billy O Sullivan directed a pass in the path of Mike Hassett and the wing-back lofted over a wonderful point to the sheer delight of the Killorglin supporters. Corofin were unable to find any chinks in Rangers’ defensive armoury, with the centre halfback displaying tremendous form and being ably supported by the likes of Mike Hassett, Mark O Connor and Adrian Hassett. There was always the danger of a snap goal by Corofin, but Rangers never relented for one moment and, when wing-forward Joe Shannon booted over a magnificent long-range point, it served to underline their overall mastery of the situation. The losers had the last say when Michael Donnellan pointed another free, but Rangers had survived in the worst imaginable conditions.
The winners were unable to bring their excellent team-work into full play in the circumstances. But what their game may have lacked in fine subtlety was amply compensated for by the vigour and wholeheartedness of their game. Once again, they proved that they are ever a difficult team to compete with in adverse conditions. Who can ever forget their Trojan display in similar artic-like conditions against Bantry Blues in their opening game of the Munster Championship?
Now they face their biggest test of all in the final against Éire Óg of Carlow, on St. Patrick’s Day, but I have no doubt that they will have honed their game to a very fine degree as that big challenge approaches. As stated, Byrne, O Connor and Mike Hassett stood out in defence, Fleming was a veritable powerhouse at midfield, while in attack Conor Kearney, Billy O Sullivan, Billy O Shea and Joe Shannon were most impressive.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan (capt. for the day), Mark O Connor, Mike Hassett (0-2), Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Timmy Fleming (0-2, 1 free), Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon (0-1), Conor Kearney (0-1), Billy O Sullivan, Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea (0-2). Subs: James O Shea, Pat McKenna, Pa Murphy, John Doona, John Sheehan, Fergal O Brien, Pa O Sullivan, Michael F. Russell, Jason Griffin, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh and Brian Gannon. Gerard Murphy (capt.) had a shoulder injury and was unable to play.
Corofin: M. McNamara, J. Lardner, Danny Ryder, Ger Comer, A. Fahy, Tom Greaney (capt.), Ray Silke, Gerry Burke, Pauric Glynn, Michael Donnellan (0-3, frees), Eddie Steede (0-1), Aidan Donnellan, Shane Conlisk (0-1), Trevor Burke (0-1), Derek Reilly. Subs: Michael Kenny for P. Glynn, Alan Roe for S. Conlisk.
Ref: Seamus McCormack (Meath).
Afterwards, Jim O Sullivan of the Cork Examiner conducted a few interviews and reported as follows: “Rangers’ coach, John Evans, expressed the hope that the thought of playing Éire Óg would motivate his players for the final. ‘They have been favourites to win out the championship for a long time now,’ he said, ‘but that gives us a huge incentive to win. The conditions (against Corofin) were very tough but we were delighted with the way the players responded. Team captain, Gerard Murphy, had to sit it out on the sideline, following an injury he received in training. It was close enough. We made hard work of it. I was always hoping we would get the extra few points to stay in front of them. They kept plugging away, though the wind wasn’t a big factor.’ Club Chairman, Jerome Conway, said he was delighted to be returning to Croke Park. ‘We were last there in March 1893 (representing Kerry in the All-Ireland Final) and we lost. We will be up against it in the final. Éire Óg is one of the most experienced sides in the country, but you can be sure that we will be trying our best.”
The following article appeared in the Kerryman: “Laune Rangers Joint-Treasurer, James Coffey, said afterwards that the last time he remembered such appallingly bad weather conditions was when Kerry and Mayo met in the All-Ireland U-21 Football final in 1973 at the same venue. ‘That was a dreadful day too,’ said James. I don’t believe our lads got the chance to play the football they wanted to. They were being crowded out and there was an awful lot of bunching.’
James thought referee Seamus McCormack of Meath, made a poor job of the game. ‘He allowed a lot of pulling and dragging and it only served to bring down the standard of the game,’ he said. ‘Corofin were tough opposition. They were supposed to have some great forwards but they didn’t get the kind of advantage they would have liked. Timmy Fleming had a massive game at midfield and I thought Mark O Connor was brilliant at left fullback. Likewise Conor Kearney had a great game and Billy O Sullivan was fantastic in the attack. He missed a few scores but he did not have the back-up he needed.’
The Killorglin publican felt Billy O Shea had a Trojan game in the forward line, even though he received a heavy knock in the thigh. James extolled the contribution of defender Mike Hassett and wondered if he would yet prove to be one of the best forwards around. The right wing-back popped up in attack on Sunday to hammer home crucial scores. ‘Adrian Hassett showed a great return to form after being out through injury,’ he continued. ‘It was a day suited to big men and Tommy Byrne was on top of his game at centre halfback.’
James pointed to the fact that Tommy’s father, Tom, was himself a Carlow man. He had come to Kerry to work with Klinge in Killorglin. Wonder if he’ll have divided loyalties in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day. In relation to that Croke Park date, James said, ‘We should have the bit of class if we can produce it on the day. We’ll be taking a day at the time until we have the title won.’
James, who is also Joint-Treasurer of the Kerry Co. Board, is quick to stress the important role the club supporters play in the team’s success to date. ‘From half past eight on Sunday morning there were coaches, mini-buses and cars leaving for the game,’ he said. ‘Somebody said that seventeen coaches made the trip. We also had supporters from places like East-Kerry and South-Kerry and I saw my old friend Cormac O Leary from Moyvane there. He never misses one of our games.’
Before Sunday’s semi-final, I met Christy Kissane, who had travelled especially from London for the game. Christy hails from Killorglin and was the former proprietor of the Goat Inn. He emigrated to London 30 years ago and he now owns five bars in the metropolis. They are the Kingdom Bar, The Black Lion in Kilburn, the Prince of Wales in Harrow Road, the Portman’s Arms in Edgeware Road and the Lord High Admiral in Maida Vale. Christy played minor football with Laune Rangers before leaving for England when he was 17. ‘If we win here today, we will form a Laune Rangers Supporters Club over,’ he enthuses. ‘We would hope to have a coach coming over about the Friday and going back maybe Tuesday. This is a great occasion in the club’s history.’
Christy was in the company of Noel Lucey of the Shamrock Bar in Killorglin when we met him in the Queen’s Hotel in Ennis – all part of the big build-up for the All-Ireland Club final in little over a month’s time.”
Sister M. Fabian, Balloonagh Convent, Tralee, penned the following lines in memory of the event:
“All hail to the hurricane heroes, the men from the banks of the Laune,
Your victory was thrilling and splendid, Rangers’ Club, new glory you have found.
Driving rain, swirling wind and cruel hailstone, the followers whimpering in pain from the cold,
But our stalwarts showed their strength and endurance, their courage and their skill did unfold.
Peter Lyons, ‘neath the crossbar was super, kept his head in the thick of it all,
Paudie Sheahan, Tommy Byrne and O Connor strong ‘backline of glory’ we call.
Mike Hassett and Liam and young Adrian, their worth in the team weighed like gold,
Their fielding was really fantastic, Mike’s scoring a joy to behold.
Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville shone at midfield, with vision and control of the ball,
Fed the forwards with brilliant long passes, scoring points from accurately-placed ball.
Conor Kearney, Billy Shea and Joe Shannon shone forth like jewels in a crown,
Each man placed his mark on the scoreboard, as they played their hearts out for the hour.
Billy Sullivan, Paul Griffin and Sullivan, they too did their share for the clan,
To bring glory and honour and pleasure to each supporter, relation and fan.
The buses and coaches were crowded on the road to Ennis that day,
But the home-coming was joyful and happy, Laune Rangers, you are victors – hurray!”
Lee Strand Co-operative Chief Executive, Bill Kennedy, himself a former Laune Rangers’ player, was quietly confident that the Killorglin-based club might get the better of the Leinster Champions, Éire Óg. ‘We’re all hoping they can do it. I think that at this level it’s all about the depth of the panel – and we have a very good panel. The emergence of this team dates back to about twenty years ago when a lot of people started to work on the club’s youth policy. The team captain Gerard Murphy’s late mother and father put an awful lot of work into the club and it is from the seeds that were sown many years ago that this current side has developed. Laune Rangers is a role model for every club in the country,’ Bill pointed out.
The following interview with Bill Kennedy, Lee Strand Co-op CEO, was carried out on the week preceding the All-Ireland Final: “Having formerly spent more than twenty years with Golden Vale, Bill Kennedy is in his twelfth year as Lee Strand Co-op Chief Executive. Since 1985, Lee Strand has sponsored the running of the Co. Football and Hurling Leagues, Divisional Championships and Bord na nOg fixtures throughout Kerry. Delving into unchartered territory at a time when GAA sponsorship was not what it is today, it was quite a natural progression for Lee Strand to get involved in the promotion of Gaelic Games. Lee Strand is also renowned for the organisation of its own All-Ireland Div. 1 Ladies basketball team and the sponsorship of Kerry’s Rás Tailteann team and two cycling teams (in Castleisland and Tralee). Bill believes that it is natural for the Co-op to liaise with sports orientated organisations and individuals.
Boasting an annual turnover of some ten million pounds, Lee Strand is dedicated to providing quality dairy products (such as fresh milk, butter, cheese and cream) throughout Kerry and West Limerick. Lee Strand also caters for families or groups visiting Kerry at its recently built self-catering apartments at Main Street, Tralee. Employing approximately forty people directly and another twenty indirectly as agents around Kerry, Lee Strand is a progressive company whose involvement in GAA sponsorship has been prompted by its affable chief.
A native of Killorglin who admitted that Gaelic games have always been extremely close to his heart, Bill is a long-time member of the Laune Rangers Club and was a no mean player with the club himself back in the sixties. Along with the likes of Tom Pender, Pat Griffin and Pat Ahern, Bill helped himself to a Senior Co. Championship medal in 1967 when Mid-Kerry beat West-Kerry in the decider.
Bill was one of the principle instigators behind the entry of Lee Strand Co-op into the Kerry and Munster inter-firm football competitions. A Lee Strand selector along with Garrett Savage, Tom Leen and TJ Daly, Kennedy was delighted to see the team reach the Munster inter-firm final at the first year of asking (1993) only to be beaten by the Gardaí from Cork. Drawing players from clubs such as Laune Rangers, Austin Stacks, John Mitchels, Kerins O Rahillys, Desmonds, Ballylongford, Ballymacelligott, St. Brendan’s and St. Pat’s, Lee Strand enjoyed a great first year in inter-firm competition.
Now that Laune Rangers has finally made it to their first All-Ireland Club final, Bill is keeping his fingers crossed that his hometown club can finish the job on St. Patrick’s Day. ‘In this season’s Kerry Championship the standard was quite high and, while we started as favourites, we were delighted to win it out. We will probably go into Sunday’s clash as underdogs because Éire Óg have been here before. But, having said that, Laune Rangers aren’t exactly inexperienced either, most of our players have played at Croke Park before at one level or another. As for Éire Óg, I saw them against O Donovan Rossa at Limerick in the 1993 club final replay and they’re a tough, hard team with a lot of experience. Bobby Millar has proven himself to be an exceptional trainer and I honestly don’t think we could have a sterner test than Éire Óg,’ Bill admits.
A native of Killorglin, Bill hails from a farming background. He schooled in the Mid-Kerry town before progressing to study Dairy Science in UCC. After leaving college, he joined Golden Vale where he was to spend twenty years – moving up from Brand Manager in Milford to join the head office as Members Relations Manager. Then, in 1985, he joined Lee Strand as Managing Director.
After taking the reins at a time when Lee Strand Co-op was going through a bit of a bad patch, Bill has put the Tralee-based movement back on the map. The Co-op enjoys the backing and confidence of four-hundred share-holders and makes a vital contribution to the economy in Kerry through providing both employment and a quality service. Indeed, Lee Strand has also made a significant contribution towards the development of Tralee itself, by helping finance the building of a new complex on the site of the old creamery and mart. This project includes the one-hundred bedroom Abbeygate Hotel, apartments (which are used by students in winter and tourists in the summer), an office block, a radio station, shop units and a multi-storey car-park. The project was completed between April and December 1994 and gave Tralee a badly-needed facelift.
Of the opinion that the weather will determine quite a lot when it comes to sorting out the men from the boys on Sunday, Bill Kennedy believes that ‘if it’s a dry day and we have good open football, we’ll revel in that.’ But are the Killorglin men good enough to bring home the national title? ‘Hopefully! But once it’s a good open game, that’s the most important thing. This is our first appearance in the final, so even if we lose, it won’t be a disaster. This team is good enough to come back again. Kerry people have learned down through the years that you win some and you lose some. Sometimes we worry too much about winning and forget that the main thing is to play the game in a good spirit.’
All in all it has been a good couple of years on the football front. Add to Laune Rangers’ great run in the 1995/’96 club championship the fact that his son Cormac starred at midfield for the Austin Stacks side which claimed last year’s Kerry Championship. Cormac also occupied one of the midfield berths on the Kerry team, which was beaten by Meath in the 1990 All-Ireland Minor final. A supporter of Kerry football both vocally and financially, Bill Kennedy admits that he would love if his own sons had been able to play for Laune Rangers – but the fact that they neither lived nor worked in Killorglin meant the Association rules couldn’t accommodate such a move. ‘The success of this Laune Rangers team is the culmination of a great youth policy. A lot of very hard work has gone into building this team. The GAA in Killorglin has been great and they’ve done a lot of work securing jobs for players, etc. to keep them in the area. Perhaps clubs everywhere should do more to get jobs for players,’ he notes.
So then, are Laune Rangers going to come away from Croke Park with the All-Ireland club title in their possession? And, if they are to win on Sunday, who are the men from whom big performances will be required? ‘The experienced fellas like Pierce Prendiville, Timmy Fleming, Joseph Shannon and Paudie Sheahan are the ones we’ll be expecting to lead by example. When those four play well, they lift everybody on the team.’ The countdown is on. The 1996 All-Ireland Club finals are just around the corner now. Can Laune Rangers take the final step? Time will tell.”
The following interview with Jerry Coffey, former Laune Ranger player, was printed in the Hogan Stand Magazine in the week prior to the All-Ireland final: “Jerry Coffey used to be a Kerryman in Dublin. He is still a 100% Kerryman but is now back in his native Killorglin from where he runs his thriving crane-hire business. On March 17 however, he will be a Kerryman in Dublin again – and so will the rest of the parish when their team, Laune Rangers, travels to Croke Park to meet the Carlow and Leinster champions, Éire Óg, in the All-Ireland Club final.
It is a trip familiar to the good people of that county for many generations. Indeed, Kerry’s most famous Dublin exile, Con Houlihan, has often written lovingly of that trip, undertaken as far back as the forties, when it wasn’t so much a journey as an odyssey. In one beautiful account, he relates a trip undertaken by car in the early 60’s. He and his two companions set off in the pre-dawn hours when it is still dark; the lights blinking on in the windows of hillside cottages; the dawn breaking and farmers herding their cattle along quiet country roads as they venture north and east into Tipperary; then pulling in along the rolling plains of the Curragh for breakfast; a fire is lit, the pan is produced, the boiled potatoes sliced and fried and, of course, a few rings of black pudding thrown in for good measure! On to Dublin then, the All-Ireland and a few pints in O Donoghue’s of Merrion Row after. Sounds like a perfect day – though he omitted to say when, exactly, they got home!
Jerry, like Con, spent a lot of time in the city when the two great Dublin and Kerry teams of the 70’s were at their prime. Those were great days with loads of fun and banter and slagging between people who loved the game and the crack. Both sets of supporters had their good days and bad; the Dubs emerging victorious in ’76 and ’77, Kerry’s young tigers surprising everyone in ’75 and coming again in ’78 and ’79. For Jerry, however, 1978 was the ultimate. Mike Sheehy’s unforgettable free kick – the goal, as Con wrote, that launched a thousand quips.
It is business that takes him to Dublin these days as much as sport; his partner in Irish Crane & Lifting, Michael Kenny, runs their Dublin base in the Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght. Jerry meanwhile directs operations at their Killarney premises. Their company is in business since 1981 and has prospered in recent years following a lean period in the mid-eighties. Their business is hiring out tower- cranes to building contractors; they have the agency for the German-based Liebherr cranes, which were originally manufactured in Killarney but are now made in Germany and Austria. Ship-to-shore cranes are now built in Killarney as opposed to the tower-cranes. Contractors doing fairly high-rise projects such as office blocks or apartments will usually need the use of a tower-crane, which will distribute all sorts of building materials, from blocks to concrete, around the site. ‘The crane will lift the material and position it wherever you want, from the first floor to the top floor,’ explains Jerry. A tower-crane can extend up to 50 or 60 metres high. It will save a huge amount of labour-time but they don’t come cheap; in or around a quarter of a million if you want to buy one. The construction industry is going through a boom period in Ireland at the moment, confidence is high, the incentives are in place and money is being turned. One of the most potent and visible symbols of this upsurge is to be seen on the Dublin skyline – it is dotted with dozens of these cranes, standing tall and dwarfing the city’s buildings. The crane-hire business, like every other satellite business in the construction industry, is therefore on an upward trajectory. The company also has agencies for German, Spanish and English lifting gear, such as steel wire ropes for cranes and hoist units. They employ upwards on 20 people between their Dublin and Killarney depots.
Now 43, Jerry Coffey was born and reared in Killorglin, home of the famous Puck Fair and about 12 miles from Killarney. He played with Laune Rangers for years, right up to Senior level, finishing in 1982 after 15 years with the Seniors. Rangers didn’t supply any players to the great Kerry side of ’75-’81 but Jerry himself, along with Barry Harmon and Mike O Shea, played on the Kerry U-21 team that won the All-Ireland in 1973. In any other era, they might have been expected to progress to the county senior team. But, in sport as in life, timing is everything and they were unfortunate to be competing for inclusion on a team that was arguably the greatest this country has ever seen. ‘The standard was unbelievable that time, it would be very hard to describe it to people nowadays,’ he remarks. That U-21 team also contained subsequent greats like Ger Power, Mike Sheehy, Ger O Keeffe, Tim Kennelly and the underrated Paudie Lynch, among others. It formed the basis, says Jerry, of the senior All-Ireland winning team of ’75.
While he didn’t make the senior ranks, at least, Jerry left the county colours behind with one All-Ireland medal in his pocket – which is one more than the majority of Gaelic footballers win in their lifetime. He continued to play for Laune Rangers, of course, a club that didn’t acquire senior status in its own right until the late ‘60’s. Prior to that, its best players played for the Mid-Kerry combination. It was still therefore finding its feet as senior level when Jerry came into the team around 1968/’69. An active youth policy was instituted, which finally came good in the last half-dozen years or so and almost all of the Rangers’ players lining out on March 17th will have been nurtured carefully along the way. The good times, however, have come a little bit late for Jerry who soldiered with Rangers throughout the ‘70’s alongside quality players such as the Lucey brothers, Noel and Paul, Timmy Doyle and Patsy Joy (now a selector).
Like many other excellent club players from the Kingdom in those years, they laboured under the shadow of that all-conquering team. A team which was exceptional not just for its extraordinary array of talent, but also for its longevity – their hunger for success never seemed to dwindle and, as long as they stayed hungry (and healthy), it was always going to be very hard for any outsider to break in. Occasionally, however, despite the success, rumblings of dissent emerged about players not being picked who might have been. Does Jerry think that Mick O Dwyer could have cast his net a little wider? ‘He did a fantastic job with what he had but, I suppose, in hindsight – and it’s very easy to be wise looking back – he probably lost a generation of footballers.’ But it must have been very hard to see the wood from the trees in those years, to see what was happening? ‘Well, you had the proven product and you had something that was red raw and it’s very hard to take the raw item over the proven product,’ he remarks.
Jerry points to mainstays of the current Laune team like Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon and Paudie Sheahan as very good players who never got a chance to make it on the Kerry team. These are almost veterans with Rangers now and are vital components of the team. ‘Some of them should still be knocking around as the experienced Kerry players now but they never got a chance to get on the team. They are very valuable to us,’ he says, adding that they are just as important to the team as the county players such as Billy O Shea and the Hassett brothers. ‘You’ll never have a good team without having a mix of an age group between, say, guys in their late twenties and guys in their early twenties – a mix right through the twenties. You might carry one or two young guys but, from my experience, it’s very difficult to win a whole pile without experience and a blend of youth.’
The Rangers have that blend at the moment, he believes. The Irish Times reporter, Tom Humphries, agrees. He covered their Munster Final against Tipp Champions, Moyle Rovers, a game Rangers won in impressive style by obliterating Rovers 3-19 to 2-4. ‘The best club team we have seen this year,’ was his conclusion. Champions in ’89 and ’93, they didn’t break out of Munster until this year and, having seen off Galway Champions, Corofin, in the All-Ireland semi-final, are now on the threshold of their first All-Ireland final. They are a serious team with serious ambitions.
There is ‘fantastic interest’ down in Killorglin at the moment, a town of about 2,000. The locals have followed their team all through the Kerry Championship, through the Munster series in the winter when they also beat a strong Bantry team, and up to Ennis to see them play Corofin on Feb. 18th – it is a long haul for players and public alike. It’s a close-knit community with a strong bond between team and community. There were terrific celebrations in the town when they won the Co. Championship last autumn – and will be again if they come home with the cup on St. Patrick’s night.
Jerry Coffey, needless to say, will be in Croke Park on the day, along with the rest of Killorglin. ‘Only the very old and the very young will be left behind,’ he says. And what about the Puck? ‘We’ll probably bring him!’ he says, with a hearty laugh.”
Eamonn Horan previewed the final in the Kerryman as follows: “At last the moment of truth has arrived for Laune Rangers as the Kerry and Munster kingpins gird themselves for one of the most treasured titles in Gaelic football – the AIB All-Ireland Club Football Championship. Barring their way are the Leinster champions, Éire Óg, who go into the final at Croke Park on Sunday with pretty outstanding credentials. The Carlow standard –bearers have been tilting at the championship for the past four years but, to date, the big prize has eluded them. They reached the final in 1993, only to lose somewhat controversially, it should be said, to O Donovan Rossa of Cork in a replay in Limerick. The Carlow club team has been steeled in club championship campaigning over the past four years. They have endured the fire of championship battle at both All-Ireland final and semi-final level in that time, having been foiled by Ballina in another bid for glory. From goalkeeper, John Kearns, out, the team bristles with an array of experience and accomplished players.
Laune Rangers make one change from the side, which started against Corofin. Team captain, Gerard Murphy, recovered from injury, returns at left wing forward to the exclusion of Billy O Sullivan, now listed as first sub. Indeed, I won’t be in the least surprised if O Sullivan makes an appearance at some stage in the game. He’s no stranger to Croke Park and he’s also a player who is capable of turning it on on the big day. Remember the 1990 All-Ireland U-21 final against Tyrone, when he hit the Northerners with a hat-trick of goals in Mullingar, which wrapped the title up for Kerry.
It’s going to be a pressure day for defenders Paudie Sheahan, Tommy Byrne, the Hassetts, Mark O Connor and Shane O Sullivan. Only their best will be good enough to contain the volatile Éire Óg forwards. Assuming that Rangers can win good ball in the middle of the field, then it will be up to men like Gerard Murphy, Liam Hassett and Billy O Shea, ably assisted by Conor Kearney, Paul Griffin and Joe Shannon, to find the target for match-winning scores.
Can Rangers do it? Having seen them all through their campaign, I have no doubt but that, at their best, they can lift the title on Sunday. For me, the real acid test of their ability and resilience came in their opening Munster game against the much-vaunted Bantry Blues of Cork. Rangers decimated the Corkmen early on and then had to survive a major fight-back. But, in the end, they came through with flying colours in appalling conditions. That same spirit and will-to-win can see them crowned All-Ireland champions on Sunday evening. But it’s going to be one heck of a struggle for the men in royal blue jerseys.
The last word to team manager, John Evans: ‘The lads are feeling good and are moving well. They know that they have a battle on their hands. I think it is falling very much in their favour that they are a Kerry team. The fact that they know they are representing Kerry has given them a tremendous boost and they are going to go out and give their almighty best. I think we will surprise them. The team will have to be at its best and our supporters at their vocal best. But, at the end of the day, it’s the footballers themselves who can quieten everybody.”
Liam Horan wrote the following article in the Irish Independent on the Saturday prior to the game: “Come with me as I slide open a peep-hole to the heart of Laune Rangers – so called because the Laune River flows lazily by at the bottom of the town of Killorglin. It’s not pronounced ‘lawn’ by the way. Laune rhymes with down. Laune Rangers are Killorglin – Killorglin famous for the annual Puck Fair festival every August.
John Evans is the manager – a vocal presence on the sideline. Native of the town, he is now a Garda in Tralee. He won an All-Ireland U-21 medal with Kerry in 1973. A typical club manager in many respects, full of, and larger than, life. The sheer power and passion of his personality masks an astute football brain. Jerome Conway is the club chairman and principal of the local National School, where centre half-forward Conor Kearney also teaches. He is one of those credited with firing the club’s underage revival in the 1970’s. Declan Falvey is a local publican and teaching colleague of Conway’s during the day. He’s also the spiritual leader of Falvey’s Choir, Laune Rangers’ army of travelling crooners.
Gerard Murphy is the team captain. When not troubled by injury, he gets on the score-sheet a lot. He cuts a good dash, said to do a super job as captain. Captaincy includes the chore of talking to the press. No other player is permitted to do that. Jimmy, or James, Coffey is…..well a lot of things. He’s Treasurer of the club and also of Kerry Co. Board. He’s a local historian of sorts. The lazy Laune River slopes along by his pub, which is just over the bridge as you come into the town. His bar is a kind of Checkpoint Coffey. Laune Rangers hang out in J.P. O Sullivan Park, known colloquially as ‘The Track’. There Evans bellows out instructions to what he terms a very mature, intelligent bunch if players.
Falvey’s Choir held a full-scale rehearsal on Thursday night. The world premiere of ‘The Boys in Blue’ took 15 minutes to complete. Each member has a Laune Rangers’ jersey with his nick-name emblazoned. Premiership-style, on his back an official ‘Travelling Party’ photograph was commissioned. Through the back-room a lady expertly transforms strips of royal blue and white into flags for Croke Park. Bunting, which was blown down in Tuesday night’s high wind, has been erected again. It would be inappropriate to dub this the calm before the storm, but the entire exercise depicts a town in waiting – the dizziness of it all!
You see, Killorglin still has to pinch itself every now and then. From afar, they have watched the O Donovan Rossa’s and the Éire Óg’s and the Dunloy’s and the Sarsfield’s contribute to the onward march of the All-Ireland club championship. They have been towns and villages swept forth on a tide beyond their control
‘For years, we dreamed of a Mid-Kerry title, never mind a county title,’ remarks Conway, in summary of the barren years between 1973 and 1982. In those times, terrific underage talent rarely blossomed. ‘Men of knowledge around Kerry were wondering what was wrong with our system, and we were beginning to doubt it ourselves,’ adds Conway.
And, now, it’s Killorglin’s turn to sample the Matt the Thresher stuff. No one else can claim it. Unlike the appearance of the Kerry county team in an All-Ireland final, they don’t have to share it with anybody else. The players are all local, totally accessible. You might bump into them on the street or share a work-place – home-grown, touchable heroes.
The ‘feel-good factor’ is irresistible. A voyage of this magnitude unhinges the inhibited. Evans calls it a mission. The reticent become animated, just talking about the game. The occasion catches the cynics off-guard. ‘Come on, Killorglin, for puck’s sake,’ says one sign.
As a town, Killorglin has seen worse times. Jimmy Coffey remembers the emigration exodus of the 1950’s. Just two of his classmates in school are still around. A few steady factories have contributed much to the town. Tralee and Killarney are all within striking distance. Killorglin has coped better with the recent emigration wave than it did in the 1950’s. Of tomorrow’s team, only Paul Griffin is based in Dublin. Joe Shannon, Billy O Shea, Tommy Byrne and Liam Hassett are all in Limerick. The rest are close at hand.
An understanding of Kerry’s unique divisional system is central to an understanding of what has gone before to create the team, which will attempt to deny (once again) Éire Óg tomorrow. The half-dozen teams in the Mid-Kerry division play out their own championship. They also come together to field a team in the county championship. In 1970, Laune Rangers decided that the promotion of football in Killorglin would be better served by their going it alone in the county championship. ‘We knew that we had to build up our underage structures. We put in a lot of work with the result that we won three Kerry U-12 titles in-a-row – 1972, 1973 and 1974. Joe Shannon, Peter Lyons, Paudie Sheahan and Pierce Prendiville, all of whom play tomorrow, won U-12 titles then,’ explains Conway.
In 1977, the going-it-alone Laune Rangers won the Kerry Minor Championship. In 1983, they won their first Mid-Kerry title since 1972. ‘We said at the time that the boys had finally become men,’ says Coffey. Yet it would be another six years before they would capture their first Kerry senior title in modern times – 1911 was their last previous victory. Noel O Mahony trained the 1989 team. The county title was, understandably, the extent of their ambition. Celebrations were exhaustive and they were beaten by Castlehaven in the Munster championship. In 1993, another county title was added. This time Nemo Rangers chinned them in a replay. In 1994, Dr. Crokes regained the county title, beating Laune Rangers with a vicious late burst in the semi-final.
John Evans took over the team in 1991. Like O Mahony, he had plugged in a few good years with the minor team. He had, also, done well as manager of Knocknagoshel, where he had been based before his transfer to Tralee. On his first night in charge of the minors, Evans gathered the youngster around him, a short distance away from a pocket of curious club officials. ‘Never mind Jerome Conway up there and never mind Jimmy Coffey, and never mind anyone else. From now on I’m Jesus Christ to you lads,’ he roared.
The All-Ireland club championships are all about local empowerment, minus the Leader grant. Evans knows his players intimately, their backgrounds, their parents, their girlfriends, there wives. It is how Evans and his selectors, John Griffin and Patsy Joy, have dealt with, and juggled around, the teeming array of talent that has moulded this team into the force it now is. For instance, virtually all of the subs have played with Kerry. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches.
Billy O Sullivan holds the all-time record for scores in an All-Ireland U-21 final. He scored 4-1 versus Tyrone in 1990. O Sullivan, having subjected himself to a rigorous training programme, lost over a stone last year, and played some great football. ‘But, as I always say, someone else started to play better in that role,’ explains Evans. O Sullivan is a sub tomorrow.
Evans is sold on the idea of oneness. It’s something he learned from his days playing rugby with Garda, Castleisland and Abbeyfeale. He talks of players befriending each other, having the crack together – all within the context of the team being the most important thing at the end of the day. ‘When you’re injured, there’s no big deal. It’s up to you to get yourself back in shape again,’ comments captain Murphy. ‘These past few weeks, the players have been cocooned. They have taken no part whatsoever in fund-raising. All they have to do is train, focus and win,’ spells out Conway.
Evans knows that Éire Óg is a formidable force, to use his own words. He wonders, though, if they would come out of Kerry as often as they come out of Carlow, if the geography was different. He wonders about Éire Óg’s employment of a sports psychologist (Betty Cody). Speaking to Seamus O Mahony on local radio yesterday morning, he opened up about the sports psychologist. ‘There’s no way I would insult fellas like Timmy Fleming, Paudie Sheahan, Billy O Shea and Joe Shannon with a sports psychologist, and there’s no way I’d insult a sports psychologist with a few of the rest of them,’ he joked.
Evans is passionate about the men in his care. To illustrate a point in relation to the team, he lists off three or four names just as he did above. Each time, it’s a different set of names. He likes to keep everything on an even keel. ‘This team is not about John Evans, or any one man,’ he declares. Fleming, he says, is the most naturally fit man he has ever seen – repeat, ever. He has suffered in these recent lean years for Kerry. ‘You can do what you like with a player, but you should never take his self-respect away and I think that, unfortunately, has happened to Timmy Fleming a few times.’
Liam Hassett, he describes, as a ‘sleeping time-bomb’. Tommy Byrne’s best attribute is ‘this’, accompanied by a gentle thumping of his temple with his middle finger. Paudie Sheahan has made only one mistake all year. So on, so forth, tossing his players over in his mind.
The last time Laune Rangers appeared in an All-Ireland final was 1893. They lost to Young Irelands at Clonturk Park in Dublin. There was talk that the Laune ‘keeper was intimidated by Dublin fans behind the Laune goals. Laune lost. Later that year, they didn’t play the next Munster final because CIE wanted £20 for a train to Mallow. Tomorrow, it will be £20 a head on the special trains from Killarney. The club expects the weekend will cost about £7,000.
Evans promises that his team will play with a mixture of the toughness of North-Kerry, the point-getting of South-Kerry and the craft of Tralee and Killarney. Consequently, it doesn’t surprise that Evans feels that Laune may have a slight edge in terms of skill. One way or the other, small town or near-city, local empowerment will take another leap tomorrow.”
The team departed the Square in Killorglin on Sat. afternoon by bus to meet the train at Farranfore, having been given a great send-off by the supporters. Jerome Conway had gone to Limerick in the morning to give an interview to RTE on the game. Michael Lyster, the interviewer, extolled the virtues of Éire Og and the Laune Rangers representative, though tempted to say that Kerry teams do not go to Croke Park to lose, agreed wholeheartedly that the Carlow men were the favourites and, indeed, deserved to win an All-Ireland title. Having given the impression that the Kerry men were rank outsiders, he returned back to Killorglin to join the departing party. The team reached Heuston Station (6.25pm) and was whisked by bus to The Grand Hotel, Malahide for dinner (8pm).
Two trains had been chartered by the club to help transport the supporters to the game on Sunday morning. Hundreds had travelled on Saturday. The Garda Club in Hartcourt Street had been booked as a focal point for Saturday night. Myles and Finbarr Coffey travelled to supply the music (free of charge) and a tremendously successful night was had by all.
Sun. 17th March at the Grand Hotel, Malahide: Mass at 11am; Depart for Croke Park at 1.30pm.
Final on Sun. 17th March at Croke Park: Laune Rangers 4-5; Éire Óg 0-11.
Eamonn Horan reported on the game for the Kerryman as follows under the headline ‘Club Champions Supreme’: “Their ability to poach killer goals at crucial stages, allied to a cast-iron spirit of defiance and an insatiable hunger for success, were the key factors in this story of fairytale proportions, which saw Laune Rangers reach the dizzy summit of success when carrying off the All-Ireland Club Football Championship title in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day. And they realised their cherished ambition at the expense of opponents who mounted a mighty challenge to the men from Puck, a challenge that would have, I’m sure, succeeded against any other opposition.
It was Éire Og’s second time in four years bidding for the coveted Andy Merrigan Cup and they had 6,000 or 7,000 supporters in the crowd of 21,000 in Croke Park to shout them on. But, alas for the Leinster standard-bearers, they encountered a Laune Rangers side who were right at the peak of their form and whose physical fitness for the fray was equally matched by their psychological approach to the business at hand.
Even before the ball was thrown in, there were some tactical ploys by both sides. Éire Og moved Joe Murphy from left corner-back to right corner back in a swop with John Wynne, while Rangers switched team captain, Gerard Murphy, from left to right half-forward in an interchange with Joe Shannon. Éire Og were only too keenly aware of the threat posed by the will-o’-the-wisp O Shea and felt that Murphy was the man to curb him. But, as it transpired, it was a stratagem that misfired on the Carlow side, as O Shea produced one of the most devastating displays he has ever given in his career to date. In the corner, he turned the losers’ defence inside out and then, when he operated further outfield, he continued to battle and bamboozle the opposition with his speed on and off the ball and his blinding runs opened up the Éire Og defence like a tin of sardines.
On reflection, it was this same insatiable appetite for the game, combined with total commitment to achieving victory at all costs on the part of the Laune Rangers’ players in every sector of the field, which broke the back of their opponents’ mighty challenge and eventually brought the crown of glory home to Launeside. Then, of course, Rangers wanted to put the record right for the old Laune Rangers’ near success in the 1892 All-Ireland (played in ’93) when they lost to Dublin (Young Irelands). And this they did in regal fashion.
This was a final that throbbed with excitement and passion. At times the football was top-drawer stuff, at times it became a dour and bitter contest and, as it coursed through the second half, we saw frayed tempers, short-fused reactions and petty retaliations. The worst one of all was unquestionably Garvan Ware’s silly but glaring affront on Gerard Murphy, when he levelled the Rangers’ skipper with an elbow and was dispatched from the game by the referee.
Afterwards, Éire Og followers were cribbing about some refereeing decisions, particularly the one which gave Laune Rangers a penalty after goalkeeper John Kearns had upended Gerard Murphy on the edge of the small square. Perhaps the Kerryman was fractionally inside the rectangle, but the referee deemed otherwise and gave the penalty.
Éire Óg won the toss but decided to play against the swirling wind and they were left to ponder the wisdom of that decision. Rangers struck the first telling blow just three minutes after the start when Mike Hassett and Paul Griffin combined to put Murphy clear on the left of goal and, picking his spot with absolute ease, the wing-forward steered a marvellous left-footed shot low into the right corner of the net, well out of goalkeeper Kearns’ reach. What a start for a team in an All-Ireland final and the banner-waving Rangers’ fans chorused their approval.
But, all credit to Éire Óg, they didn’t lose their nerve under this kind of adversity and gradually began to find their feet. By the seventh minute they had drawn level with points from Paul McCarthy, Colm Hayden and Joe Hayden, the latter score coming from a flowing movement down the left flank involving the brilliant Willie Quinlan and wing-back Alan Callinan. The battle was being waged with fierce intensity and Rangers widened their shoulders in an attempt to regain the ascendancy.
Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville were finding the going extremely tough against Jody Morrissey and Hugh Brennan at midfield. The Éire Og pair were good fetchers and quick on the break and, over the hour, put some colossal pressure on the winners’ defence. Prendiville, for his part, excelled at times and, once or twice, he dropped back in defence for vital interceptions. I recall one such case early in the second quarter when Ware was clean through but Prendiville was there to stop him in front of his own posts.
Fleming played with his customary power and conviction and, even if he didn’t lord it to the manner born, nevertheless he was always there when the going was toughest to rally his team-mates. Indeed, it was Fleming who put his side back in front with a pointed free in the 12th minute, after a foul on Billy O Shea.
But, Éire Og, with an army of cheering supporters to will them on, showed why they are so highly rated in club football circles by hitting back to regain the initiative. Fleming was wide with a free from his hands and Colm Hayden missed at the other end for the losers before Darren Moore placed Morrissey and the midfielder pointed after 16 minutes to level the scores (1-1 to 0-4). The Leinster men were in full flow and, a minute later, they grabbed the lead for the first and only time when Colm Hayden landed a fine point, after Adrian Hassett had been harried off the ball. These were surely crisis moments for Rangers as Éire Og settled into their rhythm and began to find one another with inch-perfect passes. In the 20th minute, fullback Paudie Sheahan fouled Colm Hayden and ‘Muckie’ Keating extended the lead when he pointed the free. Éire Og were on the ball just then and the question was whether Laune Rangers could stay with them.
But John Evans’ cavaliers answered the call with a vengeance. In the 23rd minute, Rangers won a ‘45’ and Fleming pointed. Two minutes later, Mike Hassett cut off the danger from Joe Hayden. The game was 27 minutes old when Rangers struck for another killer blow in the shape of their second goal. Fleming directed a free to Liam Hassett who, in turn passed to Billy O Shea. The latter took the ball on the burst and, with a blinding turn of speed, raced goal-wards before uncorking a blistering shot, which saw the ball billow the net, with the losers’ defence in tatters.
This, in reality, was the main difference between two very evenly-matched teams. Rangers had the penchant for ripping the defence open and scoring goals. Éire Og were very good in the build-up, but they had nobody of the calibre of O Shea, Murphy, Billy O Sullivan or, indeed, Tommy Byrne, to bag the goals that separated the men from the boys in the end.
That Billy O Shea goal was unquestionably the score, which put Rangers on the high road to victory, while at the same time sending distress signals coursing through the losers’ ranks from which they never fully recovered. Murphy first-timed the ball over the bar in the 28th minute. Then, a minute later, came the disputed penalty award against Kearns and Tommy Byrne clinically dispatched the shot low and hard into the corner of the net. That left Rangers leading by 3-3 to 0-6 at halftime. As the teams went into the dressing-rooms at the interval, Éire Og looked a very dejected side indeed.
On the restart, the Leinster champions moved Garvan Ware to midfield, with Morrissey taking over on the ‘40’. The losers reduced the deficit with two points from Keating inside the opening seven minutes of the half – the second was a real beauty with the left foot – and the Éire Og fans began to get behind their team again. Callinan blundered in defence and Byrne cashed in on it to set Murphy up for the winners’ first score of the half. ‘Smokey’ Joe Hayden missed a good chance of a score. By now, the Carlow mentors had switched Quinlan from the attack to left halfback to mark the elusive O Shea, with Gerard Murphy now operating at top of the left.
Éire Og continued to battle for all they were worth and their efforts were rewarded with points from ‘Smokey’ Joe Hayden, Ware and Colm Hayden and, suddenly, with 10 minutes left in the game, Rangers’ lead had been sliced to a precarious two points (3-4 to 0-11). Rangers soaked up an amount of pressure all through the second half as their opponents came at them in waves of attacking movements, which stretched the Kerry side’s defence to the very limit on occasions.
Ware soloed through but shot wide and the, at the other end, Conor Kearney put a nice ball Murphy’s way but he couldn’t quite control it. In the 53rd minute, Liam Hassett, O Shea and Mike Hassett got moving and, when the latter was fouled, Fleming pointed the free to put three points between the sides. Indeed, that was Rangers’ first score in 15 minutes of play. Éire Og raided again but goalkeeper Peter Lyons was there to make a timely save from a shot by ‘Smokey’ Joe Hayden.
The title was still up for grabs until Rangers produced yet another master stroke from their magic locker. Billy O Sullivan had come on a short time earlier in place of Paul Griffin. Billy O Shea set the attack in motion and, when the ball came Conor Kearney’s way, he flicked it first-time into the path of O Sullivan. The goal-poacher supreme steadied himself and aimed a great shot for the goal. The ball was partly blocked down but the force of the shot caused it to spin on and into the net for the golden goal that finally wrapped the All-Ireland title up for the Kerry and Munster champions.
Éire Og knew that their fate was sealed at that stage, but they battled on gallantly to the finish. Brennan had a shot but Lyons was there to handle it once again and he followed up with another save from ‘Smokey’ Joe Hayden. Callinan tried to burrow his way through for a goal, but Tommy Byrne put up the shutters and the spoils belonged to the men in blue and white jerseys. Heroes one and all!
This was, first and foremost, a triumph for team-work, magnificent guidance from the sideline and heart and spirit to match the stoutest that was ever known in the McGillycuddy Reeks. But a few men must be given special mention – men like Billy O Shea, who broke the hearts of Éire Og from start to finish of this game, Mike Hassett, who excelled all through and showed the opposition a clean pair of heels on several occasions. There was mighty Tommy Byrne in the pivotal role in defence whose onrushes through the middle devastated the opposition as did his penalty goal. Team captain Gerard Murphy led by example. His opening goal paved the way for even better things to come and he was ever a thorn in the side of the losers’ backs. Then there was Liam Hassett, the real powerhouse of the attack. First at full-forward and later when he moved to midfield, he probed and plundered his way goal-wards with relentless fire and fury. Éire Og had no answer to his wiles. Goalkeeper Peter Lyons, often daring, was always alert and alive to the slightest threat to his posts. And, of course, that man Billy O Sullivan made yet another piece of football history by grabbing yet another goal in an All-Ireland final. Scarcely on the field for 10 minutes in all, and he snatched the all-important goal in the process. What a tour de force performance! Laune Rangers are the best in the land and full credit for the magnificent achievement must go to trainer/manager John Evans and his fellow selectors, Patsy Joy and John Griffin.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, Mike Hassett, Tommy Byrne (1-0, pen.), Shane O Sullivan, Timmy Fleming (0-3, 2 frees), Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy (capt.) 1-2, Conor Kearney, Joe Shannon, Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea (1-0). Subs: Billy O Sullivan (1-0) for P. Griffin, James O Shea for P. Prendiville, Pat McKenna (he was about to go on as a substitute when the final whistle blew – he had trouble taking off the bottom of his tracksuit), Pa Murphy, John Doona, John Sheehan, Fergal O Brien, Pa O Sullivan, Michael F. Russell, Jason Griffin, Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon and John O Sullivan.
Éire Og: John Kearns, Joe Murphy, Derek Wynne, John Wynne, Brendan Hayden, Darren Moore, Alan Callinan, Jodie Morrissey (0-1), Hugh Brennan, Joe Hayden (capt.) 0-2, Garvan Ware (0-1), Willie Quinlan, Paul McCarthy (0-1), Colm Hayden (0-3), Anthony Keating (0-3, 1 free and one 45). Subs: John Owens for J. Morrissey, Kevin Haughney for P. McCarthy, Jimmy Dooley, J.J. Eyre, Noel Fallon, Phil Kehoe, John O Brien, Turliugh O Brien and Donal Nolan.
Ref: Pat McEneaney (Monaghan).
That was the greatest day in the lives of the Laune Rangers – players, officials and supporters. They had devoted their lives to that end and did they get their reward! All the hype beforehand had Éire Óg winning – Rangers were given very little chance of success. Little did the ‘experts’ realise what Croke Park did for Kerry teams. It was certain, also, that the ghosts of the 1892 team were flitting about, giving a little help here and there.
Fair dues to John Evans – he had achieved the ultimate for any team. The tension before the game was unreal in the dressing-room. He had spoken to the team – psyching them up – from 2.45pm to 3.25pm non-stop (There was a delay in finishing the hurling final, which preceded the football final). Eventually, he concluded his speech by flinging the massage table upside-down on the floor. The players nearly took the jamb off the door as they ran onto the field! They proceeded to give a marvellous team performance. Every player was a hero. The goals were gems.
The team had stayed in the Grand Hotel, Malahide, on Saturday night (It had been booked by Bart Moriarty since Christmas). Father James Griffin said Mass on Sunday morning in the hotel (11am). The team ate in the Aisling Hotel before boarding the train for home, afterwards (7.20pm). The crowd in town was unbelievable, the night of celebrations, hectic.
Paudie Herlihy was engaged by the club to video the week-end, excluding the game, which was on RTE, and he did a great job.
There had been a disagreement between Croke Park and Laune Rangers prior to the game. The Club Championship was sponsored by AIB and Laune Rangers’ sponsor was Killorglin Credit Union. It was deemed that the Laune Rangers’ sponsor was a direct opponent of AIB and the club could not wear its sponsors’ name on its jerseys. Agnes Foley, MD of Killorglin Credit Union, approached the local AIB manager, Aidan Gannon, and threatened to withdraw the Credit Union’s assets, totalling £1,000,000, from the bank unless the ultimatum to the Laune Rangers was withdrawn. The response was immediate and positive. Tommy Woods, club secretary, was dispatched to Dublin to convey that message to Croke Park officials and the problem was resolved.
Prior to the final, John Evans received a late-night call from a Kerry man domiciled in Carlow for the previous thirty years. His wife had been at bingo and he had availed of the opportunity to give the Laune Rangers’ trainer a run-down on the Éire Og team. Once a Kerryman, always a Kerryman! Prior to the final, John Evans was asked if Laune Rangers had a sports psychologist, as Éire Og had one. John replied that he would not insult the likes of Joe Shannon and Paudie Sheahan by foisting a psychologist on them and he concluded the interview by saying, ‘sure we have our own psychologist – Patsy Joy!
Eamonn Horan reported from the Laune Rangers’ camp after the game: “Laune Rangers’ captain, Gerard Murphy, said they were all ‘tired but thrilled’ as he reflected on the team’s achievement more than 24 hours after it was all over. As far as the captain and his men were concerned, Sunday’s All-Ireland Club Championship victory was the very pinnacle of success and achievement.
By then, the reality of their achievement had finally begun to sink in. Laune Rangers were the new All-Ireland Champions and they had achieved victory at the expense of a much-vaunted Éire Og team, which tested the character and fibre of Murphy’s team to the very limit in the cauldron that was Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day. ‘We have had a look at the game on television and it was very tough,’ said Gerard. ‘I’ll be very sore for a couple of days after it. All the lads are just tired. Éire Og’s whole game was based on competitiveness. They stuck with us all through. They made it very hard.’
He said that when Rangers got their chances they took them and they didn’t get that many chances. Reflecting on his great opening goal, he said it was like a dream come true. ‘To get a goal in an All-Ireland final in Croke Park is something you dream about,’ he said. ‘I got the pass from Paul Griffin and made the most of it. It was very important to settle the team. We had ten or fifteen minutes to settle and they were never going to get that far ahead of us. They kicked some good points and went two points up. The main difference was that we got the goals and they did not. They went in at halftime six points behind and that had to be demoralising.’
Murphy said that at halftime they realised that Éire Og had dominated them for periods in the first half. ‘But we were absolutely confident that we could win the game,’ he continued. ‘We had got the goals just before halftime. That demoralised them and pepped us up.’ He said that Liam Hassett had played a lot of the ball when he came out to the middle of the field in the course of the second half. It was a case of having big men with pace on the day. ‘You always want to do your best on the big day and an All-Ireland is as big as you are going to get. They are an attacking team, so a lot of our work revolved around dispossessing players. Our finishing was good. We only had four goal-scoring chances and a few half-chances. If we were to miss any of them, it could have made a difference. I would say that Éire Og are probably the fittest team we have met. They were superbly fit – far fitter than us. We do all our work with the ball. Éire Og had done a lot of fitness work. But we had the Billy O Sheas, the Mike Hassetts, the Adrian Hassetts and the Mark O Connors. Guys with pace, which Éire Og did not have. This victory has to be the high point of one’s career. What we have achieved, we have achieved together. These are guys I have been playing with for ten years. It is every fellow’s ambition to win an All-Ireland. Personally, it a fantastic feeling, but to do it with a bunch of guys like this makes it even more fantastic.’
Team trainer, John Evans, even though maintaining a cool exterior, was obviously feeling quite emotional about it all as he mopped his fevered brow in the dressing-room under the Hogan Stand after the game. ‘It’s still a case of pride in our parish and in our team,’ he said. ‘I’m proud to be a Kerryman and I think it was Kerry football that won it out there.’ He attributed the success in no small way to his team’s direct way of playing the game. They had players like Tommy Byrne in the centre and Mike Hassett attacking on the flank and the likes of Billy O Shea up front to capitalise on it, he reflected. ‘We had the double option and we caught them,’ said Evans. ‘I have sympathy for Éire Og, but when you get out onto Croke Park, sympathy is forgotten. This is the twenty-fifth year of the championship and it is my twenty-fifth title.’ He said they rattled Éire Og and made them very insecure at the back and their halfbacks could not come forward. ‘Ours was a team performance second to none,’ added Evans. ‘They were all stars out there.’
Mike Hassett, outstanding at right wing-back, said they had set out at the start of the campaign with one goal in mind – to win the All-Ireland title. ‘We realised our ambition today and I’m just delighted for everybody,’ he said. ‘When they brought us back to two points, I was worried. But then, we got another point to put three points between us. Then came Billy O Sullivan’s great goal and we finished the stronger after that.’
Penalty hero, Tommy Byrne, said the feeling at the final whistle was euphoric. ‘I can’t come down. I can’t settle,’ he said. ‘I knew I had to score from the penalty as I had missed two previously against Crokes. We’ll celebrate tonight.’
Conor Kearney said there was a great buzz in Killorglin prior to the game. ‘It’s a great feeling,’ he said. ‘I never thought I’d see the day I would win an All-Ireland medal in Croke Park. It was very tough out there today. There was no real pattern to the game and it was very scrappy around the middle. There was a lot of open running and loose play. What won it for us was the way our forwards harried them. Midway through the first half, we were struggling. Then Billy O Shea got a goal and Tommy Byrne got another from the penalty. They were good for about ten minutes in the second half and they got to within two points of us. At that stage, anything could have happened. It was great to come back up-field and get a point and then the goal by Billy O Sullivan. It was the toughest game we had in the entire campaign.’
Man-of-the-match Billy O Shea said it was very hard to find words to describe the feeling. ‘I am so happy for everyone involved,’ he said. ‘They all gave a hundred per cent in preparation. For the older members of the team, it is a fabulous way to crown their years of glory. It’s a fantastic feeling. I am thrilled. I was out of the game for a long period. It was a very strong team performance. As far as the goal is concerned, I just grabbed my chance and hit it.’
Most of the crowd had long since departed Croke Park as Gerard Murphy and John Evans made their way to the waiting team coach to get to the city centre and begin the celebrations, with the Andy Merrigan Cup being paraded as the most precious piece of silverware in the land.”
John Barry, Sports-Editor of the Kerryman, paid his tribute to the newly crowned All-Ireland Champions as follows: “What a way to make history! Laune Rangers delivered in real style in Croke Park on Sunday and brought joy to every Kerry heart as they swept to glorious victory over Éire Og in the All-Ireland club football final. It wasn’t just that they claimed the Andy Merrigan Cup and joined a very exclusive club. It was the way it was done. An embracing celebration of football on the national feast day that embodied all the qualities that go into making champions – heart, guts, teamwork and oodles of class.
It was as if the men from the Laune were groomed for this day from a long way back – and, in truth, they were, by Jerome Conway, by Pat O Shea, by Liam Shannon, by others. Completely at home on the big stage, they paraded their splendid range of talents before a Croke Park audience of 21,986 and before a television audience of millions.
And, I bet, even the much celebrated Riverdance spectacular couldn’t produce a piece of magic that matched the speed of thought and speed of action that brought Laune Rangers’ second goal in the 27th minute by Billy O Shea. There hasn’t been a score like that on a football field for years and, for me anyway, it was very definitely the high point of the afternoon. It also demonstrated one major difference between Laune Rangers and Éire Og – the capacity of Rangers to strike a mortal blow as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. An innocent sideline kick from Timmy Fleming, a good, old-fashioned catch under-pressure by Liam Hassett and then, hey presto, the ball was nestling in the net! It was one man reading the mind of another to perfection. Liam Hassett knew, just knew, that Billy O Shea had begun a searing run and he fed him the pass he wanted. Everything after that was just pure poetry in motion. O Shea, in full flight, did allow himself one tap off the foot before getting into the position he wanted and he clinically finished to the roof of the net.
Éire Og just didn’t have creativity like that, or the lethal firepower to back it up and that’s why they were beaten 4-0 in the goal-scoring stakes. Éire Og, though, did have a lot of other things going for them, most especially an unlimited supply of courage. They also had a great deal of strength in their team, which allowed them to control the play for long periods, and there was a great deal to like about some of the points which they scored.
However, champions at this level need a stronger cutting edge and Éire Og didn’t have it. Because of that, there was never much doubt in my mind that Laune Rangers would win, even when they fell in arrears by two points in the first half and when a six-point lead was reduced to two points in the second half. Gerard Murphy did much to inject that feeling of confidence by the manner in which he hammered home Rangers’ first goal inside the opening three minutes. There had to be more to come – and there was.
Tommy Byrne’s penalty goal just before the break, controversial or not, was driven to the net with equal authority and it was always going to be an uphill battle for Éire Og in the second half. The effort required to narrow the gap to two points in that second half had to take an awful lot out of Éire Og and, worried though Rangers must have been, it was always likely that a team with the pedigree of Laune Rangers would regain control of the situation, which is exactly what happened.
Mind you, Rangers had it aft as well as fore – meaning that their defence held tight even in the most trying of circumstances. Everywhere, let it be added, there was a tremendous spirit of defiance, as well as a very high level of support play. One for all and all for one, for sure, and, while some contributions were greater than others, this was a day when every man clad in the blue and white of Laune Rangers was truly a hero. We heartily salute them!”
Eamonn Horan reported further in the Kerryman as follows: “As dejected Éire Og supporters, in their thousands, trooped from Croke Park in the aftermath of Sunday’s All-Ireland Club Football final, it seemed as if the day belonged entirely to the men of Laune Rangers. The blue and white banners and favours of Laune Rangers were everywhere to be seen as the overjoyed supporters shouted and sang the praises of their heroes who had just cut their Carlow opponents down to size as they laid claim to the Merrigan Cup. In presenting the trophy to Rangers’ captain, Gerard Murphy, GAA President, Jack Boothman, said it was hard luck on Éire Og who had been trying hard for a number of years to win the title but without success. ‘Today they were just not at the races as regards the speed and ability of the Laune Rangers team,’ said Mr. Boothman rather bluntly. He added that Laune Rangers had proved that ‘Kerry football is not far off the mark at all.’ Accepting the cup, Gerard Murphy praised the ‘fantastic bunch of guys’ he had played with. It had all started 20 years ago when a group of people started to train an under 12 team. He said it was a very professionally run club today. He praised the officers, selectors John Griffin and Patsy Joy, and, in particular, trainer John Evans
Club Chairman, Jerome Conway, said they were simply ‘over the moon’ at their triumph. ‘We had hoped to win,’ said the chairman. ‘But to come to Croke Park and score four goals is a marvellous achievement for Kerry football. At times we played great football but, fair play to Éire Og, they played great football as well. They came back very strong after we got the first goal.’ Commenting on the fact that Éire Og had won the toss and decided to play against the wind in the opening half, Mr. Conway said that showed they were used to Croke Park. ‘I thought bringing Liam Hassett to midfield was crucial,’ he said. ‘It swung the game back in our favour.’
One of the first people in the Laune Rangers’ dressing-room afterwards to extend his heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the Kerry Co. Board was chairman, Sean Kelly. He said it was a great triumph for a club like Laune Rangers with a small population. He admired them for the manner in which they had built up from a position where they were not even eligible to compete in the county championship a number of years ago. ‘Through sheer hard work and organisation and commitment they worked their way to the top in Kerry and Munster and now they have climbed Mount Everest,’ said the Kerry chairman. ‘They have done so with great style and panache. They are a team with great flair and they are never beaten.’ Mr. Kelly said it was also important for Kerry football. It showed that Kerry is as good as any county in the country. In addition, some of the Laune Rangers’ players had very important roles to play with Kerry teams. ‘Once again they showed that when a Kerry team comes to Croke Park, they become inspired,’ said Mr. Kelly. ‘It’s a great day for the GAA and its promotion. Other clubs will look at Laune Rangers and say, if they can do it , we can do it. It will give impetus and motivation to other clubs to do the same. It is not just the victory itself. It’s the whole build-up, the sportsmanship and the goodwill, which is reflected in the local community.’
Veteran selector Patsy Joy said, ‘It’s great. Christ. It’s great. It’s emotional. It’s great for the players, for the whole of Killorglin and for the whole county. We were dead and buried by the papers in Leinster. The goals were magnificent. The switch we made and Billy O Sullivan’s goal killed them off.’
Selector John Griffin admitted that Rangers were in trouble for a while in the first half, but they had really got into it in the last ten minutes of the half. ‘We knew going out at halftime that they would come back at us,’ he said. ‘But we had the stamina to resist them. It’s a fantastic feeling. It’s a great day for the club and it’s been worth all the trouble.’
Former selector John Clifford was there to savour Laune Rangers’ greatest ever success. ‘We’ve been waiting for this for over a hundred years,’ said John, who was a selector for nine years during which time Rangers never lost a final. ‘Billy O Sullivan’s goal took the pressure off us. We did seem to be labouring before that. Liam Hassett coming outfield also made a difference.’
Evergreen Laune Rangers’ trooper and joint club vice-president, Christy O Riordan, felt quite vindicated at the way things turned out. ‘My prediction was right,’ said Christy. ‘I said that the team that would settle best would win the match. Things looked very good at halftime. But there was too much pulling and dragging. Without a shadow of doubt, this victory today should lift the heart of every player in the county, not only in Killorglin but every player who wears the Kerry jersey.’
On the day, of course, Laune Rangers’ supporters were everywhere to be seen and heard. They came by train, plane and bus for the final and they certainly made their presence felt. It didn’t matter a whit to them that they might be outnumbered by their Éire Og counterparts. A contingent of Laune Rangers’ supporters travelled by plane from London for the final. Sadly missing was the very supportive Christy Kissane. The London-based publican was unable to make the trip as he had planned because of a recent accident, which had discommoded him.
I’ve witnessed many a proud occasion for Kerry football in Croke Park over the years. This was yet another such occasion and one to be kept safely in memory’s storehouse. They’ve every good reason to celebrate in style in the town of Killorglin for days and nights to come. It was a fabulous achievement for a town of its size.”
Donal Hickey reported from Sunday night’s celebrations in Killorglin in the Examiner: “They were singing the local anthem ‘My Wild Flower of the Laune’ into the dawn hours to mark the end of Killorglin’s 104-year football famine. Unbridled celebrations followed the victory of Laune Rangers in the All-Ireland Club Football Championship.
Cars jammed the streets and thousands of revellers crowded into the Co. Kerry town to toast the latest football heroes. It was just like Puck Fair – without the goat. An old man, sipping a medium in the corner of a bustling hostelry, was heard to say that any party they waited 104 years for had to be a good one. He was referring to Laune Rangers’ last appearance in an All-Ireland final. That was in 1892 when, as Kerry’s representatives, they were defeated by Young Irelanders of Dublin. Blue and white club colours – hats, teddy bears, tee-shirts, balloons and ribbons – were everywhere to be seen and flags and banners were hoisted triumphantly into the air as team members were introduced from a lorry in the square, late on Sunday night.
Celebrations started on the two trains bringing supporters home from Croke Park and exciting scenes were also witnessed in Killarney railway station where local councillors and GAA personalities were out in force to welcome the heroes and the fans. Bonfires blazed along the route to Killorglin and a band led the team and officials, trailed by a large crowd of fans, over the Laune bridge and into the town where they were accorded an unforgettable reception.
Laune Rangers’ veteran and joint-treasurer James Coffey, who has been involved with the club since 1952, said it reminded him of nothing but the glory days when Kerry were winning All-Irelands. ‘Yes, I’m very happy, but there’s only one other thing I want to see – a Killorglin man bringing the Sam Maguire Cup over the Laune bridge next September,’ he declared. ‘I won’t be surprised if that happens because I think that Kerry are not that far away from an All-Ireland,’ he added optimistically.
Speeches by various officials were cheered to the echo and amongst those to praise the players and trainer, John Evans, were club chairman, Jerome Conway, Kerry Co. Board Chairman, Sean Kelly, and Mid-Kerry Board Chairman, Kevin Griffin. Kudos were heaped on Evans, a Tralee-based garda, for his never-say-die commitment and the respect in which he was held by the players in his charge.
Pubs in Killorglin could hardly cope with the rush and people from all over south and mid-Kerry travelled to the riverside town to join in the celebrations. An estimated 2,000 Killorglin folk were at the match against Éire Og, Carlow, with some of them travelling from the US, Canada, London, Birmingham and Coventry. Up to 1,000 attended at the Garda Club, Harrington Street, Dublin, on Saturday night. James Coffey described the re-union as a ‘real Killorglin night’, with nobody even thinking of defeat. ‘The message coming through from everyone was that we were going to win. It certainly set the scene for Sunday,’ he commented.
The birds were singing when many Killorglin revellers went to their beds yesterday. And, despite the epidemic of sore heads, the party was continuing last night. The club’s annual social, later this month, will be a massive victory dinner and tickets are already being snapped up. But, it will be back to football fairly soon for the Rangers’ players. Some of them are thinking in terms of winning the All-Ireland club championship again next year.”
Letters of congratulations flooded in from former players and genuine Gaels, as follows:
‘Comhghardas, Jerome, ó chroí ar eachtraí Fánaithe na Leamhna i bPáirc an Chrocaigh inniu. Enjoy being King from 2,500 GAA clubs. Special regards to Billy and James O Shea, also, Conor Kearney. Beir bua. Fr. Tom Looney.”
“Jerome, a chara, a belated note of congratulations to you on Laune Rangers’ success in the All-Ireland Club Championship. It gave me great pleasure to see your sterling work for GAA teams at all levels for at least 30 years rewarded finally with the ultimate prize in club football. Perhaps your dedication may spur others in the county to work as diligently as you to achieve success for county and club. Le gach dea-ghuí, Declan Horgan.”
“Jerome, as a big GAA supporter and a South-Kerry man who has just opened a business in the town, just a short note to congratulate Laune Rangers on a superb performance in Croke Park. It really made me proud to be associated with the town. Here’s hoping that this result will spur the county team on to bring ‘Sam’ back to Kerry. Diarmuid O Sullivan, O Sullivan Pharmacy, Upper Bridge St.”
“A Chara, The committee and members of our club wish to heartily congratulate your club, the team and mentors and yourself on the magnificent achievement in winning the All-Ireland Club Championship on St. Patrick’s Day. You did yourselves, your county and the province proud. With every good wish from Moyle Rovers, Is mise, le meas mór, Séamus Mac Cárthaigh, Rúnaí.”
Edso Crowley penned the following lines in celebration of that historic win:
The Mighty Rangers
“An All-Ireland club title
Is a hard task to be won.
When to first win out the county
Only then the job’s begun.
Well, in ’96 we did it,
When the circus left the town
And headed west for Bantry Bay
To seek out the Munster crown.
And ‘twas there the steel was toughened
For the job that lay ahead
When the fifteen Mighty Rangers
Gave their all, till nearly dead.
And ‘twas then back to Killorglin
Against the Shannonsiders best
The fifteen Mighty Rangers
Rose again to pass the test.
Now for the Munster final
To fair Cork the whole van went,
And ‘twas there against Moyle Rovers
Football skills were freely spent.
Oh for catch-and-kick and scoring,
Sure it filled our hearts with joy
And again the Mighty Rangers
Headed onwards towards the sky.
Now the bandwagon was rolling
Up to Clare the throng struck out
To meet the champs of Connacht,
Corofin, strong, staunch and stout.
Well, the game was tough and trying,
Played in weather most unkind,
But no doubt the Mighty Rangers
Dug deep the win to find.
And now we’re off to Dublin,
To Croke Park, that hallowed ground,
To clinch the All-Ireland title
For the people by the Laune.
And lest we forget these heroes
Who’ll bring us home the Cup,
I’ll call their names out one-by-one,
For the glory brought to Puck.
There’s Pete Lyons and Mark O Connor,
The Hassetts, Adrian and Mike,
And the mighty Paudie Sheahan
Sure we’ve ne’er fore seen their like.
There’s lion-hearted Shane O Sullivan
And the thundering Tommy Byrne,
The lighthouse Conor Kearney,
For they all gave great return.
And what about Joe Shannon
And Pierce Prendiville, boys so rare,
These mighty men for so long now
Have given all for sweet Puck Fair.
And then there’s great Tim Fleming,
Fleet-foot on the mountain side,
He’ll be the man to bring home Sam
And restore the Kingdom’s pride.
Then our captain Gerard Murphy
And no surrender, Billy Shea,
Well you won’t keep down Paul Griffin,
Sure they truly brought the day.
And then flying Billy Sullivan,
With Liam Hassett, still in youth,
These men, the mighty Rangers,
The very best, that’s gospel truth.
You’ve Steelroe’s Pat McKenna,
And Cromane’s own James O Shea,
The Kingdom’s own John Doona
And Pa Murphy, too, to play.
Then to recall, now playing football
In heaven’s pastures high,
Our Noreen and husband, Jim,
Who gave us both their boys.
For, in times now gone, they led along
Our youth and taught them true
To grow and be Laune Rangers
And wear with pride the blue.
And finally the backroom boys
Patsy Joy and Griffin John,
The coach and trainer, Evans,
Forged their team as time went on.
I salute the Mighty Rangers,
Champions now of all Ireland,
And in years to come, when we’re all gone,
They’ll again recall this band.”
Sister M. Fabian of Balloonagh Convent, Tralee, penned the following lines in memory of the occasion:
“We greet you club champions of Ireland,
A noble title of glory you have won.
The toast of Killorglin and Kerry,
What a wonderful deed you have done.
You conquered that great team from Carlow,
Éire Og, smouldered out like a wick,
As Laune Rangers shone forth as a beacon
Your victory was brilliant and quick.
Gerard Murphy, the captain, was super,
His goal inside minutes a peach!
His strength and courage undaunted
Good example to his club-mates did teach.
Billy O Shea – ‘Imperial Call’ we name you –
Man-of-the-match, indeed it is true,
Your galloping and speed are tremendous
Your goal, like a bolt from the blue!
Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville at midfield
Were swift as two hares, oh so free,
Fielding balls with daring precision,
Timmy’s score of points – they numbered three.
Liam Hassett, Conor Kearney and Shannon
Were tireless all through the hour,
Grasping balls, sending thrilling long passes
Under pressure, mighty men full of power.
Tommy Byrne, your goal like a bullet
Shot low to the back of the net.
The cheer that greeted your penalty
Was heard down in Killorglin, I bet.
Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan and O Connor
Were well in control at the back,
While Mike Hassett, Shane Sullivan and Griffin
Had the Éire Og garsúns on the rack.
Peter Lyons, the goalie, what a treasure,
Broke hearts of those dashing Carlow men,
No ball passed in o’er the goalmouth,
Like a lion standing guard at his den.
Billy Sullivan, you too shared the glory,
Your minutes on the field numbered ten,
Took a flying hand-pass from Kearney,
A smashing goal from your boot you scored then.
The bonfires, they blazed throughout Kerry,
As the heroes returned, late that night,
The victory and honour and glory
Were truly a recompense right.
So cheers for the team and the sub-line,
For their trainer JOHN EVANS THE GREAT,
For their sponsors and band of selectors
GAA history of fame you did make.”
Barry Harmon wrote the following songs in praise of that historic feat:
The Rangers’ Song
(Air: O Connell, the Boy from Valentia)
Chorus It’s John Evans, the boy from the Garda,
He trains the Laune Rangers, you see.
In goals, Peter Lyons was as swift as a bee.
Nothing passed him that day, and he saved the penalty.
Paudie Sheahan, at fullback, was smiling away,
As he held the full-forward quite easily at bay.
Now Adrian Hasset, at right corner-back,
Cleared every ball right up into attack.
Marky O Connor makes up our back three,
A man bursting with speed and football ability.
At centre halfback, there’s no need for concern,
For we’ve a man of the match, the bold Tommy Byrne.
On his right Michael Hassett, sure-footed and light,
To watch him play football is sheer delight.
And over to the left, we have Shane Sullivan,
Who hits the opposition as hard as he can.
Then into the middle like oft-times before,
If you don’t get the ball, sure you can’t get a score.
Now Pierce Prendiville is a footballer rare,
He covers the field from square to square.
His partner, Tim Fleming, so straight and so tall,
He hangs in the air as he catches the ball.
Chorus (That’s young Fleming, the boy from the mountain,
The pride of Laune Rangers is he).
On the right, we’ve Joe Shannon, of footballing fame,
Who gives only his best in every game.
Then into the middle, a big man you see,
No bigger or better, it’s Conor Kearney.
On the left, we’ve Ger Murphy, that gentlest of souls,
Who wraps up the games with the greatest of goals.
On the right, we’ve young Griffin, that’s wily Paul,
Forever and always, he’s calling for the ball.
Then, in with Liam Hassett, they play tug-o-war,
And all the placed balls are sent over the bar,
By young Timmy, the boy from the mountain,
The pride of Laune Rangers is he.
To Billy O Shea, now what can I say?
He’s magic, sheer magic in every way.
He dances, he prances, he skips all around.
He covers damn near every inch of the ground.
Chorus (That’s Billy, our red-headed wizard,
The pride of Laune Rangers is he).
The subs on the bench are footballers renowned.
They helped us once more bring the Bishop to town.
Billy O Sullivan is cool, calm and slight,
Pat McKenna kicks points with his left foot and right,
And into the middle came James O Shea,
Another point for the Rangers. Olay! Olay!
And now to conclude and to finish my rhyme
Here’s a word or two in praise of the line,
Liam Shannon draws water, John Griffin takes stats,
While Patsy shouts out, ‘Come on now’, to the lads.
Laune Rangers on the Road
(Air: The Wild Colonial Boy)
We have a brilliant team, you know, Laune Rangers is the name.
They are a mighty bunch of guys and football is their game.
They are Killorglin’s only sons, the supporters’ pride and joy,
Dearly do their followers love the mighty Rangers boys.
Chorus (Yippy yae yai, yippy yae yo,
Laune Rangers on the road).
It was in October, our journey did begin.
We all headed for Tralee, hoping for a win.
It was the county final, East-Kerry we had to play,
The boys in blue, they pulled us through, we cheered them home that day.
We are the County Champions, the kingpins of Kerry.
We travelled all the way to Cork, to take on Bantry.
They played it tough, they played it rough, they played it mighty slick,
But the boys in blue, they pulled us through, and a point, it did the trick.
Our next game, it was at home, against the Limerick champs,
Claughaun, they were fighting fit, they knew they had a chance.
The game, it started very slow, and it didn’t suit our play,
But the boys in blue were coming through and we were on our way.
It is mighty stuff, you know, as Edso he would say,
History in the making, they all want to play.
The Munster Club Championship, to win it we will try,
Dearly do the supporters love the mighty Rangers boy
Ten buses left the square that day, four hundred and twenty cars,
There was no one left at home, not even in the bars.
Moyle Rovers, they had come to play and to take with them the cup
But the Rangers’ boys knew otherwise, they were not giving up.
The game it was electrifying, best ever in Páirc Uí Rinn.
Rangers, they played brilliantly and scored three goals nineteen.
They are Killorglin’s proud sons, the supporters pride and joy,
And the Munster Cup was going home with the mighty Rangers boys.
We are the Munster Champions, the flagship of the South.
The All-Ireland semi-final, it was our next day out,
Against the Connacht champions, the mighty Corofin,
But the boys in blue kept coming through, they pleased us with a win.
And now our journey ended, we had one game to play.
The All-Ireland Club Final was on St. Patrick’s Day,
Against the mighty Eire Og, they were the fancied team,
But the boys in blue kept coming through, they handed us our dream
We have a brilliant team, Laune Rangers is their name.
They are a mighty bunch of guys, and football is their game.
They are Killorglin’s only sons, the supporters pride and joy.
Dearly do their followers love the mighty Rangers boys.
Boys in Blue
(Air: Ceannovree Biddy-Ball)
The lights of Killorglin were shining, the supporters all headed for town,
To talk of their Laune Rangers heroes and the thought of an All-Ireland crown.
They talked of the game down in Bantry, they talked of the game up in Clare.
They talked of the game up in Croke Park and hoped that we all will be there.
Chorus: So here’s to the boys of the Rangers, here’s to the boys in the blue,
Here’s to that great day in Dublin, let’s hope that our dream will come true.
Now Evans, he has the players training, they fitted the Park with new lights,
They go through their paces complaining, they’re raising their game to new heights,
They’re jogging and sprinting and running, they’re passing and fielding the ball,
They know that a win up in Croke Park will make them the best team of all.
In goals, we have Lyons like a tiger, outside him we have Paudie so tame,
With Adrian and Mark in the corners, they truly live up to their name.
In the centre, we have red-headed Tommy, he’s flanked by Mike Hassett and Shane,
With Pierce and Tim Fleming at midfield, from there they take charge of the game.
Up the middle, we have Conor Kearney, on his right we have sure Shannon Joe,
On the left we have Captain Ger Murphy, we’re hoping he’ll run the whole show.
In front of the posts is Liam Hassett, on his right is mighty Paul,
On the left, we have fleet-footed Billy, let’s hope that he’ll run through them all.
John Evans and his fellow selectors, there’s no more for them to say,
Just hope that their team is now ready for that glorious St. Patrick’s Day.
They know that their subs are the greatest, as they wait for their noble call,
All we want is a dry day in Croke Park and we’ll do the rest with the ball.
Just look at James Coffey, he’s beaming, a Laune man sure body and soul,
To go with Killorglin to Croke Park, will truly fulfil his life’s goal.
To Jer Conway, we say a big thank you, a Rangers’ man true and true,
To the rest of his team in the back-room, we appreciate the hard work you do.
The Banks of the Laune they are buzzing, the game is on everyone’s mind,
There are three and four going from each household, there will be but a few left behind.
Some are going up on the Friday, some are going up on Saturday morn,
The rest are going up on the Sunday, they’ll be leaving bright and early at dawn.
The love of our football is calling, our exiles are all coming home.
They want to be up there in Croke Park, where all our support will be shown.
They’re coming from New York and Boston, they’re coming home from Canada,
They’re coming from all over England, they’ll give us a mighty hurray.
For the Love of our Football
(Air: Quayer Bundle Rye Roddy Rye)
Come all you supporters and a song we will sing,
For the love of our football is a wonderful thing.
We forget all our troubles when we hear of a game
And it makes us all proud of our Laune Rangers’ name.
Chorus: Toor a loo, toor a lay,
And it makes us all proud of our Laune Rangers’ name.
John Evans, we know, is a trainer renowned,
He helped this great team to their All-Ireland crown.
He coaxed and he harassed, he cajoled and he prayed,
He respected them al for the great games they played.
Chorus: Toor a loo, toor a lay
He respected them all for the great games they played.
Twelve months have gone by since that glorious day,
Murphy lifted the Bishop in his own special way.
We cheered and we cried out at our brilliant win,
We drank and we sang ‘til morning came in.
Chorus: Toor a loo, toor a lay,
We drank and we sang ‘til the morning came in.
They say that teams past are as good as you’ll get,
I wouldn’t think so, the boys are the best.
They’ve four County titles and eight County Leagues,
They’re All-Ireland Champions, what more can they be?
Toor a loo, toor a lay,
They’re All-Ireland Champions, what more can they be?
To the players and their mentors, we say well done,
For all the enjoyment and all of the fun.
We’ll support and we’ll follow and will not complain,
Let’s hope we can do it again and again.
Toor a loo, toor a lay,
Let’s hope we can do it again and again.
So, come back to Killorglin and join in the crack,
Now we have two titles that are back to back.
We’ll sing, we’ll dance and we’ll be in good cheer,
If you join us in Puck, we’ll buy you a beer.
Toor a loo, toor a lay,
If you join us in Puck, we’ll buy you a beer.
We are the Champions
Laune Rangers are the champions, we shall not be moved.
Laune Rangers are the champions, we shall not be moved.
Just like a tree that’s standing by the River Laune, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
Just like a tree that’s standing by the River Laune, we shall not be moved.
We are the champions, we shall not be moved.
We are the champions, we shall not be moved.
Just like the hill Killorglin is built upon, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
Just like the hill Killorglin is built upon, we shall not be moved.
We are the champions, we shall not be moved.
We are the champions, we shall not be moved.
Just like the bridges o’er the River Laune, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
We shall not, we shall not be moved.
Just like the bridges o’er the River Laune, we shall not be moved.
Repeat first verse.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Laune Rangers, Oh! Oh! Oh! Laune Rangers.
Walking along, singing a song, walking in the Rangers’ wonderland.
Repeat those two lines..
Come on, ye boys in blue, come on, ye boys in blue,
Come on, ye boys, come on, ye boys in blue.
Come on, ye boys in blue, come on, ye boys in blue,
Come on, ye boys, come on, ye boys in blue.
Oró, Fánaithe na Leamhna
(Air: Oró, sé do Bheatha Abhaile)
Beir an liathróid, is buail go fada. Beir an liathróid, is buail go fada.
Ná bac leis an bpeil gairid, is imir cluiche álainn.
Chorus: Oró, Fanaithe na Leamhna, Oró, Fánaithe na Leamhna.
Oró, Fánaithe na Leamhna, Ar aghaidh go Páirc an Chrócaigh.
Killorglin town stands on the Laune, its people, they are more than friendly.
Visitors are always welcome, and they won’t be short of porter.
The town is famous for its Puck Fair, put on the map by Chub O Connor,
Brian McCarthy and the Prize-Bonds, but now it is Laune Rangers.
Games of all sorts we play here, rugby, darts, basketball and soccer.
There’s a sport for one and all, but our greatest love is football.
Give a thought for the boys in blue, they have played their hearts out for you.
They have given us what we dreamed of, and to them we are grateful.
They played with guts and they played with grit, you can’t outdo the Rangers’ spirit.
They have given us untiring service, let’s hope they are victorious.
Roll on, roll on the Rangers! Roll on, roll on the Rangers!
Roll on, roll on the Rangers, and play your mighty football.
Rangers, On we Go
Chorus: Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
We play football by the Laune, we’re from Killorglin town.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
Today we’re on the road again once more
With hats and scarves and banners to the fore.
Sure we’ll be there to help our lads and cheer them on their way.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers one we go.
We travel on, we’re happy as can be.
We’re football mad, as anyone can be,
And with our team we will march on and have another go.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
Our boys in blue, they are the team to meet.
They play hard and victory would be sweet.
They give their all when on the ball, each one is like a pro.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
So, come on now and give a mighty cheer,
Come on, come on and let them know we’re here.
They’ve done us proud, let’s shout aloud, let everybody know.
Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, as Rangers on we go.
Co. Senior Football Championship
Eighteen teams played in the Co. Senior Football Championship, Laune Rangers, Annascaul, Mid-Kerry, St. Brendan’s, Feale Rangers, Kenmare, St. Kieran’s, John Mitchel’s, Legion, Shannon Rangers, Dr. Crokes, Austin Stacks, South-Kerry, West-Kerry, Desmonds, Kerins O Rahillys, Spa/Gneeveguilla and East-Kerry.
Preliminary Rd. on Sun. 16th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-17; Annascaul 0-4.
Eamonn Horan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Even allowing for the fact that they had a runaway victory and that the level of opposition, provided by Annascaul on the particular occasion, was distinctly sub-standard, defending champions Laune Rangers are going to take all the beating in this year’s AIB Co. SFC on the evidence of their commanding and composed performance in this preliminary round game at the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Killorglin.
Apart from a very brief spell in the opening two minutes, when Annascaul missed two scoreable frees, Laune Rangers were in control from an early stage in the proceedings. They ruled midfield where Tommy Byrne had a stormer all through and he was ably assisted by Pierce Prendiville. In contrast, Bingo Driscoll struggled with his game in this area for the losers until late in the second half and, likewise, Pat McKenna never found his true form here for the visitors.
The winners laid constant siege on Annascaul’s rear-guard throughout the opening half. Byrne was the instigator of many of these sallies but, in addition, Rangers also mounted several piercing offensives from out of defence. Corner-backs Adrian Hassett and Mark O Connor and right-half John Sheehan moved the ball out of defence with power and poise and this ensured that the ball spent a lot of time in their opponents’ territory in the opening 30 minutes.
Granted the losers were well below full strength. They were without Timmy Falvey and Paul O Driscoll, both of whom are suspended, county defender Johnny O Driscoll, out with a foot injury, and a number of other players who are currently sojourning in the US. As a consequence, Annascaul was forced to ring the changes and, quite obviously, this resulted in dire limitations in various positions.
The first half was all one-way traffic, with right corner-forward Gerard Murphy picking off four fine points and these were supplemented by similar scores from Liam Hassett (2), Pa O Sullivan and John Sheehan. Weeshie Lynch kicked Annascaul’s solitary first half score from a free in the 14th minute, which left Rangers in front by 0-3 to 0-1 at that stage. The home side continued to apply the pressure and, at halftime, they led by 0-8 to 0-1. Indeed, Rangers would have been further ahead but for a marvellous point-blank save by goalkeeper, Sean Farrell, from a Liam Hassett shot, which had goal written all over it, in the 27th minute. In the opening half, Annascaul tried to play Genie Farrell, but the volatile full-forward was unable to shake off the shackles of the hard-tackling Mike Hassett who was in control of matters in front of goal for the winners. Annascaul did mount a number of offensives, but their finishing was very flawed – they shot seven wides to four for their opponents in the first half.
It was all Laune Rangers in the third quarter, at the end of which they led by 0-14 to 0-2, Weeshie Lynch’s 42nd minute points interspersing Rangers scores from Liam Hassett (2), James O Shea and Adrian Hassett. But Rangers never relented and in the final ten minutes they saw fit to introduce substitutes Conor Kearney, Pat McKenna and, very late in the game, county minor star, Michael F. Russell. Indeed, the fact that the title-holders can afford the luxury of calling up such ‘subs’ in the course of a game demonstrates the abundance of talent they have at their disposal.
The game was over as a serious contest long before the finish. Laune Rangers unveiled their consummate skills and magnificent teamwork in all its glory and the home fans lapped it all up. Pa O Sullivan plied Billy O Sullivan with a deft pass for the left corner-forward to shoot a lovely l point in the 49th minute. Conor Kearney was scarcely a minute on the pitch when he booted over a smashing left-footed point. Substitute Pat McKenna crowned a highly satisfactory evening’s work for Rangers when he knocked over a great long-distance point. Bingo Driscoll’s 58th minute point – punched over the bar by goalkeeper Peter Lyons – was purely of academic interest.
As stated, Tommy Byrne had a thundering game at midfield for the winners, with fine back-up from Pierce Prendiville. The fullback line of Adrian Hassett, Mike Hassett and Mark O Connor was rock-solid, while John Sheehan and Shane O Sullivan stood out in the half-line. Up front, Gerard Murphy was right at the top of his form and kicked some wonderful first-half points. Young colleges’ star, Pa O Sullivan, looked a class act anytime he moved onto the ball and one looks forward to seeing more of this man’s talents in the immediate future. Liam Hassett made life extremely difficult for Pat Flahive and the full-forward contributed no fewer than five of his side’s scores. Billy O Shea, Billy O Sullivan and Conor Kearney also impressed.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett (0-1), Mike Hassett, Mark O Connor (capt.), John Sheehan (0-1), Pa Murphy, Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Pa O Sullivan (0-2), Billy O Shea (0-1), James O Shea (0-1), Gerard Murphy (0-3), Liam Hassett (0-5, 1 free, one ‘45’), Billy O Sullivan (0-1). Subs: Conor Kearney (0-1) for J. O Shea, Pat McKenna (0-1) for B. O Sullivan, Michael F. Russell for G. Murphy, Paudie Sheahan, Joe Shannon, Paul Griffin, John Doona, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh.
Annascaul: Sean Farrell, Kieran O Driscoll, Pat Flahive, Paul Moriarty, Joe McCormack, Vincent Knightley, Mark Moynihan, Bingo Driscoll (0-1), Pat McKenna, Weeshie Lynch (0-3, frees), Tommy Doyle, Niall Sheehy, Clement Crean, Genie Farrell, John Herlihy. Subs: Brendan Falvey for P. Moriarty, Derek Moynihan for V. Knightley.
Ref: Aidan Mangan (Austin Stacks).
Rd. 2 on Sun. 30th June at Fitzgerald Stadium: East-Kerry 1-13; Laune Rangers 1-13.
Eamonn Horan reported in the Kerryman as follows: “Defending champions Laune Rangers will never get a bigger fright than they got at Fitzgerald Stadium on Sunday evening when they came within a fraction of making their exit from the AIB Co. SFC. Unfancied East-Kerry stormed all over them early in the second half to come from behind to grab a four-point lead within five minutes of the restart and it took a supreme effort from Laune Rangers to pick themselves up off the floor and stave off imminent defeat.
The second half of this encounter throbbed with excitement and spine-tingling action as the challengers threw down the gauntlet to their rivals and rocked them to their very foundations in the process. The East-Kerrymen were a revelation in that riveting second half as they overhauled the mighty men from the Laune and streaked into a commanding lead. Nearing the end of the third quarter, East-Kerry had jumped into a four-point lead (1-12 to 1-8) and their supporters in the good-sized attendance cheered them to the echo, sensing that they had the champions on the run.
From there to the finish, thrill mounted upon thrill as Rangers battled with might and main to get back into contention. Gradually, they got to grips with the situation and slowly but surely began nibbling away at East-Kerry’s lead. By the 58th minute, they had drawn level and, a minute later, they hit the front, thanks to a brilliant point from substitute James O Shea. It looked all over bar the shouting and one was feeling a sense of heartfelt regret at the cruel fate that seemed to have befallen the lion-hearted divisional side. But, mirabile dictu, they pulled the game out of the fire in injury time with a magnificently-struck point from a free by corner-forward Paud O Donoghue. A more thrilling and nail-biting finish would be difficult in the extreme to find. It is worth noting that East-Kerry had eight wides when playing with the wind, one more than their opponents, whilst East-Kerry hit four wides against the wind to the opposition’s one.
After a rather desultory first half, at the end of which Rangers led by 1-5 to 0-7, the game exploded into action in the opening minutes of the second half. The title-holders were now playing with the aid of the strong breeze and were expected to cruise to a comfortable victory. Indeed, when full-forward Liam Hassett slotted over a point within two minutes of the restart, it looked as if East-Kerry were going to be the latest victims to fall prey to the poise and power of the All-Ireland champions.
But what a shock was in store for John Evans’ warriors! In a three-minute spell, East-Kerry took the game by the scruff of the neck and bombarded their opponents’ goal with a series of scorching attacks, which were as lethal in their execution as they were rewarding in the scores that ensued from them. It was tall, tenacious midfielder Con O Connor who triggered off the blitzkrieg in the 33rd minute when he got in on the end of a defence-splitting movement and soloed his way goal-ward before booting an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Peter Lyons for a capital goal. That magical goal of O Connor’s transformed both the game itself and East-Kerry as a team.
Suddenly, from being a team of shreds and patches, they became a team inspired as they struck the front (1-7 to 1-6). With Donal Daly and Con O Connor continuing to play superbly in the middle of the field – they out-fetched and outplayed a variety of Laune Rangers’ partnerships over the 60 minutes – East-Kerry laid siege to their rivals’ lines. A minute later, East-Kerry came attacking again and Donal Daly slotted over a classy point. They surged forward again from the kick-out and Seanie O Leary pointed. Straight away, the divisional side were back once more on the offensive and, when O Donoghue set up Daly for another point, the East-Kerry cheers were loud and long.
Laune Rangers were quite plainly stunned by the sudden transformation in events. Five minutes into the second half and they trailed by four points (1-10 to 1-6). For the remainder of the half, Rangers switched players here, there and everywhere in a bid to loosen East-Kerry’s grip on the game. But they had to call on all their reserves to pull themselves out of this river that was flowing steadily against them in those early stages of the second half.
In the end, it took an awesome display of heart and raw courage to enable Laune Rangers get back into the game. But it was the kind of heart and courage, which have become synonymous with the champions in latter times. They refused to surrender at a time when everything was going smack smooth for East-Kerry and not at all too well for themselves. Indefatigable Billy O Shea it was who sparked off the comeback when he landed a brilliant left-footed point after 39 minutes. This was quickly followed by a point from Pa O Sullivan, but Paud O Donoghue negatived this when he scored almost immediately at the other end. Rangers attacked again but, when Gerard Murphy kicked wide when well-positioned, there seemed to be a certain air of desperation about the effort. Then, Liam Hassett kicked a very poor free. Crowley was fouled and Paud O Donoghue pointed the ensuing free and again there were four points between them after 44 minutes of play.
But from there on Rangers exerted relentless pressure on their opponents’ lines. They came forward in waves of attacking movements, which had the East-Kerry defence running around in circles at times. Conor Kearney placed Gerard Murphy and the wing-forward shot a peach of a point in the 45th minute. The exchanges were fast and fairly vigorous and both sides missed chances of scores. In fact, a 10-minute spell went by without a score and when it did come it fell to Rangers when Murphy pointed a free after Tommy Byrne was alleged to have been fouled. That score came after 55 minutes. Shortly after that, corner-back Adrian Hassett foiled Crowley of what looked like being a certain goal. Then Murphy missed a chance at the other end.
Mike Hassett and Tommy Byrne led a Rangers’ attack and Joe Shannon finished it off with a point, the ball going over off the upright in the 56th minute. Liam Hassett was foraging for all he was worth at midfield, with centre halfback Tommy Byrne producing some Herculean stuff from the heart of the champions’ defence. Fittingly, it was the tireless Byrne who tied up the scores with a wonderful point in the 58th minute (1-12 each). The tension was palpable as the game ebbed to a close. Rangers pushed forward again and Billy O Shea saw his shot come back off the post before wing-back John Sheehan streaked up-field on a brilliant run and when he parted to James O Shea, the substitute struck the ball between the uprights and Rangers had hit the front, with just seconds remaining in normal time.
But, in injury time, East-Kerry were handed a lifeline by referee Tommy Sugrue when he awarded them a free. It was real pressure kick for free-taker Paul O Donoghue – out to the left of the posts and against a swirling breeze. It was quite a while before O Donoghue stepped up to take it but, as supporters held their collective breath, the Glenflesk man steered the ball unerringly between the posts and East-Kerry had lived to fight another day, with the game in the second minute of injury time. In the end, justice was seen to be done.
East-Kerry won the toss and chose to play with the strong breeze. Paud O Donoghue put them two points up from frees before Gerard Murphy rattled the East-Kerry net for a great goal after 10 minutes. The scores were level twice in the half at 1-2 to 0-5 and 1-3 to 0-6 before the mercurial Billy O Shea put Rangers two points up with a great double strike in the 25th and 28th minutes. Paud O Donoghue pulled one back for East-Kerry and, just before the break, substitute Billy O Sullivan hit the crossbar with a sizzling drive to leave Rangers in front by a point at the interval (1-5 to 0-7).
Rangers had men apart in Tommy Byrne, Billy O Shea, Joe Shannon, Liam Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, John Sheehan, Mike Hassett and Pierce Prendiville.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Mike Hassett. Mark O Connor, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne (0-1), Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-1), Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy (1-2, 1 free), Conor Kearney, Joe Shannon (0-1), Paul Griffin (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-2, 1 free), Billy O Shea (0-3). Subs: Billy O Sullivan for P. Griffin (inj.), James O Shea (0-1) for C. Kearney.
East-Kerry: Declan O Keeffe (Rathmore), Dan O Sullivan (do.), Niall Mangan (Kilcummin), Michael O Donoghue (Glenflesk), Denis Moynihan (Rathmore), Owen O Doherty (do.), Michael O Connor (Kilcummin), Con O Connor (Firies) 1-0, Donal Daly (do.) 0-2, John Crowley (Glenflesk) 0-1, Seamus Moynihan (do.) 0-1, Davie O Donoghue (do.), Paud O Donoghue (do.) 0-8, six frees, Jerry Murphy (Rathmore), Seanie O Leary (Kilcummin) 0-1. Subs: Stephen Flynn (Firies) for M. O Connor, Michael D. Cahill (Rathmore) for D. O Donoghue.
Ref: Tommy Sugrue (St. Pat’s).
Rd. 2 (replay) on Wed. 24th July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-14; East-Kerry 0-10.
Eamonn Horan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Unlike the drawn game between the teams over three weeks earlier, it was Laune Rangers that turned on the style in the second half of the AIB Co. SFC second-round replay against East-Kerry in the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Killorglin, last Wednesday evening as the defending champions romped to a most comprehensive victory. This replay, watched by a big crowd in brilliant sunshine, had spectators in a buzz of excitement throughout the opening 30 minutes as the teams battled for supremacy.
East-Kerry, aided by the breeze, completely dominated the opening quarter, at the end of which they led by 0-5 to 0-0. But then Laune Rangers got on their bikes and started to take the game to their rivals, with midfielders Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville turning the tables on Donal Daly and Con O Connor, who had held sway in the earlier exchanges.
Michael Francis Russell left corner-back Michael O Donoghue flat-footed, but he blazed the ball wide. However, for the remainder of the half, Rangers took over and, after Liam Hassett and Paud O Donoghue had exchanged points, the All-Ireland Club Champions drew closer to their rivals with points from Russell and the unerring Gerard Murphy (2). Then, seconds before halftime, Rangers struck for the only goal of the game. Tommy Byrne centred the ball, which was fielded by right corner-forward Pa O Sullivan and the schoolboy star soloed his way through the defence before sending an unstoppable left-footed shot to the roof of the net. It was a classic goal and sent the home side in at the interval leading by 1-4 to 0-6.
On the restart, Gerard Murphy and Paud O Donoghue exchanged points, but then Rangers hit a purple patch, which left the opposition shaken and shattered. Between the 35th and 40th minutes they added a stream of vintage points from Murphy, Russell, Liam Hassett and Murphy again and the issue was as good as decided at that stage. East-Kerry soon lost their way. Their earlier confidence and belief in themselves had been undermined by the flair and fluency of the Killorglin men and thereafter it became little short of a football lesson as the winners stamped their authority on the game with wave after wave of dazzling, attacking movements, which saw the ball being moved out of defence with absolute precision.
Byrne and Prendiville lorded it at midfield where East-Kerry fell apart. Midway through the second half, it was 1-10 to 0-9, but it was all Rangers from there to the finish. They lost star-forward Gerard Murphy through injury but there was no stopping them and they embellished the proceedings with some picture points by Russell, Pa O Sullivan (2) and Billy O Shea. East-Kerry tried to retaliate, but goal-scoring attempts by Gerry Murphy and Jerry O Sullivan were repelled by goalkeeper Peter Lyons.
This was vintage fare from the defending champions and it is very difficult to see any team stopping them in the days ahead. It must have been particularly gratifying to supporters to witness the classy touches displayed by the new ‘youngsters’ on the team like Pa O Sullivan, Michael F. Russell and John Sheehan. Then there was the sheer brilliance of Gerard Murphy, as he kicked some memorable points. There were other admirable displays from Mike and Adrian Hassett and Shane O Sullivan in defence and Billy O Shea, Joe Shannon and Liam Hassett in attack.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Pa Murphy, Mark O Connor (capt.), Shane O Sullivan, Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy (0-5), Billy O Shea (0-1), Joe Shannon, Pa O Sullivan (1-2), Liam Hassett (0-3, frees), Michael F. Russell (0-3). Subs: James O Shea for G. Murphy (inj.), Conor Kearney, Paul Griffin, Pat McKenna, Billy O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon and John O Sullivan.
East-Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Michael O Donoghue, Niall Mangan, Owen O Doherty, Dan O Sullivan, Seamus Moynihan, Denis Moynihan, Con O Connor, Donal Daly, John Crowley, Stephen Flynn, Davy O Donoghue, Sean O Leary, Paud O Donoghue, Gerry Murphy. Subs: Kieran O Donoghue for M. O Donoghue, Jerry O Sullivan for D. O Donoghue, Mike O Connor for S. O Leary.
Ref: Tommy Sugrue (St. Pat’s).
Quarter-final on Fri. 23rd Aug. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Laune Rangers 0-13; Kerins O Rahillys 1-9.
Eamonn Horan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “For the second time in the campaign, reigning champions Laune Rangers came within a hairs-breath of defeat in this pulsating, exciting and dramatic quarter-final game in the AIB Co. SFC against gallant Kerins O Rahillys at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney on Friday evening. In the end, the All-Ireland champions hung on by the skin of their teeth for a precious one-point victory, which booked them a place in the semi-final against St. Kieran’s but, truth to tell, O Rahillys were very hard done by in the circumstances.
They failed to draw with a missed long-range free with the very last kick of the game but, even that aside, they should have at least got a draw on the overall run of the game. And, when it was over, the consensus of most neutrals present was that the Tralee side had been harshly treated by referee Tom McCarthy over the 60 minutes. The Castleisland official didn’t blow for a number of infringements by the Killorglin men, particularly in the second half when the battle was being waged with a vengeance. O Rahilly’s trainer, Eoin Bomber Liston, even went onto the pitch at one stage to remonstrate with the referee, but the former Kerry star was promptly ordered off by the official in charge.
Laune Rangers had gone into the game as hot favourites to make it comfortably to the semi-final. But such proved far from being the case. The scores were level twice in the first half, but then Rangers, showing pace, power and craft fore and aft, asserted themselves in the second quarter and, prompted by the power-play of Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville in the middle of the field, they opened up a four-point halftime lead (0-8 to 0-4), having played with the assistance of the breeze.
The winners were being told in their dressing-room at half that ‘a point will do, lads’, but even their most ardent supporters would scarcely give credence to such a suggestion. Were the champions going to turn on the heat after the interval and methodically dismantle the opposition, as has happened so often in the past? However, O Rahillys had other ideas. They came out for the second half with batteries recharged and ready for the fray.
They signalled their intentions when, in a whirlwind start to the half, they scored three points in the opening five minutes to rock the title-holders back on their heels. After Pa O Sullivan’s punched effort came back off the post, Maurice Carroll pointed a free after Tim McCarthy was fouled. The challengers, with Carroll and his partner Ger O Brien warming to their task, launched another hot offensive and Cathal Sheehy brilliantly struck a point. Then corner-forward Jason Moriarty swung over a great point from out on the left wing and Rangers’ lead had been reduced to just a single point and the Strand Road followers shouted themselves hoarse in the process.
But, once again, when the pressure was at its height, Laune Rangers showed why they are All-Ireland champions. They refused to panic and, steadying themselves, proceeded to find a new gear. They settled into their familiar patterned play, moving the ball adroitly out of defence, finding a team-mate with the intelligently-directed pass as they stormed their way forward. It was vintage fare from the champions and the scores duly flowed as the O Rahillys defence was placed under incessant bombardment. In a magical nine-minute spell, Rangers laid siege to their opponents’ goal and picked off a stream of marvellous points, which had O Rahillys tottering in their wake. It would be difficult for an even more experienced team than O Rahillys to survive such a display of power-play as that produced by Rangers.
Michael F. Russell was fouled and he pointed the free himself. Some sloppy play by the losers paved the way for Russell to put Joe Shannon through for a point. Rangers had another fine chance of extending their advantage but Conor Kearney kicked a dreadful wide. Then Prendiville passed to Byrne and the tall midfielder booted over a mighty long-range point and, keeping up the intense pressure, the winners struck again when Billy O Shea put Kearney through for another point. Fourteen minutes into the half and Rangers were leading by five points (0-12 to 0-7) and looking like winners.
However, O Rahillys, marshalled defiantly from the sideline by the Bomber, dug deep into their reserve tank to launch a tremendous fight-back, which saw them come within an ace of causing the biggest upset of the season. Maurice Carroll kicked a great point from a long-range free in the 47th minute, but Byrne countered this with another well-taken point a minute later. Then, in the 50th minute, the stand erupted to thunderous O Rahillys cheers when the Blues struck for the only goal of the game and what a great goal it was too! Carroll put Tim McCarthy through and the wing-forward fired in a rocket-like shot, which had goal written all over it. For a split second, it looked as if it had been saved but, when it came back out, there was Morrissey to make doubly sure and he blasted it to the net, with the winners’ defence in tatters.
Suddenly, a game that appeared a few minutes earlier to be well beyond O Rahillys’ reach, had been thrown wide open and Laune Rangers had a real challenge on their hands. Just two points between them as O Rahillys stormed their way forward again. Morrissey kicked a peach of a point to leave just a solitary point separating the teams. It was all to play in the pulsating last 10 minutes as O Rahillys tried with might and main to overhaul their wilting opponents. The exchanges were tough and sometimes short-fused and Tim McCarthy had his name taken for drawing a boot a little carelessly.
Rangers attacked but goalkeeper Declan Sweeney saved well from a Billy O Shea attempt. Then O Rahillys were presented with a gilt-edged chance of an equaliser but Simon McCarthy kicked the ball wide with the posts staring him in the face. It was a pressure game all the way to the very end, with Rangers hanging grimly on to their slender lead and O Rahillys frantically trying to overhaul them. The crowd loved every minute of it.
Rangers were awarded a free but Russell showed that he, too, was fallible by sending the ball wide from a scoreable position. O Rahillys launched another searing attack but a shot at goal by Morgan Nix was saved on the line by Peter Lyons. The game finished in a welter of excitement as O Rahillys were awarded a free about 45 yards out on the right – a last chance for the Tralee men to take the game to a replay. It was real pressure kick but, to the chagrin of supporters, Ger O Brien’s kick had a tail on it as it veered well wide on the right and the referee blew fulltime.
Laune Rangers had survived in a cliff-hanger. Shane O Sullivan and Mike Hassett in defence, Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville at midfield, and Michael F. Russell, Joe Shannon, Pa O Sullivan and Gerard Murphy played superbly.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan Mark O Connor (capt.), Pa Murphy, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Tommy Byrne (0-3, one 45), Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon (0-1), Conor Kearney (0-2), Gerard Murphy, Billy O Shea, Pa O Sullivan (0-2), Michael F. Russell (0-4, 3 frees). Subs: Paul Griffin for G. Murphy, James O Shea for P. Sheahan, Pat McKenna, Brian Gannon and John Doona. Missing – Liam Hassett (inj.) and John Sheehan (inj.).
Kerins O Rahillys: Declan Sweeney, Morgan O Shea, Niall Savage, Morgan Nix, Philip O Connor, Ken Savage, Simon McCarthy (0-1), Ger O Brien (0-1), Maurice Carroll (0-3, frees), Cathal Sheehy (0-1), Ollie Molloy, Tim McCarthy, Mark Fitzgerald, Noel O Sullivan (0-1), Jason Morrissey (1-2). Subs: Barry O Shea for N. Savage, Mike O Halloran for J. Morrissey.
Ref: Tom McCarthy (Desmonds).
Semi-final on Sun. 22nd Sept. at Austin Stack Park, Tralee: Laune Rangers 2-10; St. Kieran’s 0-6.
Eamonn Horan reported fro the Kerryman as follows: “Defending champions Laune Rangers experienced little or no difficulty in qualifying for the final of the AIB Co. SFC when they dismissed the challenge of a St. Kieran’s side, which promised much but delivered little in this one-sided semi-final at Austin Stack Park on Sunday.
After a fairly even opening quarter, Rangers turned on the heat and two brilliantly-struck goals in the 23rd and 27th minutes decimated the opposition and Kieran’s were always struggling thereafter. The Rangers supporters in the crowd of 4,500 had scarcely any suspenseful moments over the hour, unlike their earlier games against East-Kerry and Kerins O Rahillys.
Twice in the opening quarter, Rangers went a point up, but each time St. Kieran’s overtook them and they were playing with an ease and abandon, which suggested that they were going to mount a mighty challenge to the title-holders. But, as the half unfolded, it became palpably clear that the divisional side was devoid of any finish up front and an amount of fine build-up went for nothing as attacking movements broke down or else were quelled by the solid Rangers’ defence.
Nineteen minutes into the half, Gerard Murphy, who had earlier kicked two bad wides, struck for the lead point for the winners (0-3 to 0-2) and this was to herald a burst of fire-power from the Killorglin men that was to effectively end the game as a contest. The winners launched a hot attack in the 23rd minute and, after goalkeeper Liam O Sullivan saved an initial shot by Liam Hassett, Murphy was on the spot to whip the ball to the net for an opportunist goal. Kieran’s continued to battle on, despite this reverse, and for a while it seemed as if they might pose a serious threat to the champions.
But the challengers were dealt a deadly body-blow in the 27th minute when Liam Hassett found brother Mike with a lovely pass and the centre halfback hared up the middle before unleashing an unstoppable shot, which sped past goalkeeper O Sullivan and rattled the net. So, at halftime, Rangers went in leading by seven points (2-3 to 0-2) and it was obvious that Kieran’s would have to produce something special if they were to stand a chance of upsetting the odds in the second half.
In fairness to them, they tried to stay with the All-Ireland champions on the resumption but they were plagued by poor forward finish. They were wide with a few good chances soon after the restart, but Ruairí O Rahilly finally broke the deadlock when he kicked a great point in the 37th minute. The Ballymac man showed Billy O Shea a clean pair of heels in the process as he jinked his way goalwards. Russell pointed a free for Rangers two minutes later and Billy O Shea stretched the lead to eight points with a well-taken point in the 44th minute. However, Kieran’s were nothing if not determined and, points by Jimmy Keane and O Rahilly reduced the deficit to six points (2-5 to 0-5) after 47 minutes.
Soon afterwards, Kieran’s had a fine chance of snatching the goal, which they so badly needed to get back into serious contention but Pa Dennehy over-played the ball and a golden opportunity was squandered. Instead, it was Rangers who again seized the initiative when corner-forward Paul Griffin swung over a magnificent long-range point in the 49th minute. Brian Gannon replaced centre half-forward James O Shea for the winners and Gannon proceeded to make his presence felt by scoring two points.
Sean O Connor led a Kieran’s attack but goalkeeper Peter Lyons made a tremendous save at point-blank range from substitute Sean Dennehy’s blistering shot and, when play moved to the other end of the field, Murphy once again displayed his deadly marksmanship with a great point from out on the left flank. By now Rangers were firmly in control of the situation. They hunted in packs and moved the ball with slide-rule precision. Kieran’s simply had no answer to their superior team-work and ball control.
Denis Dennehy did manage to slip through for a point after 53 minutes. But that proved to be their swan-song and the title-holders copper-fastened their grip on the game with additional points from Gannon, Murphy and Gannon again to book their place in the final. Indeed, Gannon’s second point might well have been a goal but for the reflex action of goalkeeper Liam O Sullivan, who parried the ball over the bar.
Overall, it was a game devoid of the tension and excitement one usually associates with the championship when it reaches the penultimate stages. Rangers showed some nice touches but one felt that they were always playing well within themselves and reserving the real fire-power for the final showdown against either Dr. Crokes or West-Kerry.
Rangers owed much to Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan and Billy O Shea in defence, Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville at midfield and Gerard Murphy, Michael F. Russell, Liam Hassett, Joe Shannon and substitute Brian Gannon in attack.”
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, John Sheehan, Mark O Connor (capt.), Billy O Shea (0-1), Mike Hassett (1-1), Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy (1-3), James O Shea, Joe Shannon, Paul Griffin (0-1), Liam Hassett, Michael F. Russell (0-2). Subs: Brian Gannon (0-2) for J. O Shea, Paudie Sheahan, Pa Murphy, Pa O Sullivan, Billy O Sullivan, Conor Kearney, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh and Pat McKenna.
St. Kieran’s: Liam O Sullivan (Ballymac), Tony Brosnan (Currow), James Flynn (do.), Tim Geaney (Brosna), Padraig O Connor (do.), Jack O Connell (Knocknagoshel), Jimmy Keane (Brosna) 0-1, Sean O Connor (Currow), Padraig McElligott (Knocknagoshel), Denis Dennehy (Currow) 0-1, Pa Dennehy (do.) 0-1, Ruairí O Rahilly (Ballymac) 0-2, 1 free, Tommy O Connor (Cordal), Con Fleming (Currow), Liam Brosnan (do.) 0-1. Subs: Sean Dennehy (Currow) for L. Brosnan (inj.), John Maguire (Currow) for T. Brosnan, Kieran Cronin (Brosna) for P. McElligott.
Ref: Danny Enright (Tarbert).
Having reached the Co. Final for the second year in-a-row and the third time in four years, Eamonn Horan visited the Laune Rangers training camp and reported on the preparations in the Kerryman as follows: “In the 12 months since Laune Rangers last contested the county final, there has been a lot of water under the Laune Bridge in Killorglin. Success has been heaped upon success, with winning the All-Ireland Club Championship the crowning glory for trainer John Evans and his charges.
But as Sunday’s championship final against West-Kerry approaches, it is clear that Evans is treating it as an entirely different matter. It’s another year and another county championship has to be won. And that means intensive preparation, which, in turn, calls for hard graft, total commitment and evenings of exhaustive training at the J.P. O Sullivan Park. As Evans puts his players through their paces under the floodlights, it is difficult to pick out the different faces. But you know whose there as the trainer calls individual names in a shrill tone, which leaves nobody in any doubt as to who is calling the shots. Garda John Evans is calling the shots in earnest.
He expresses concern about the injured players. Paul Griffin has an ankle injury and is receiving physio treatment in Dublin. Gerard Murphy picked up a hip injury in a recent County League game and was not able to train on the particular night we visited the training camp. Likewise, James O Shea is carrying a hip injury. However, it is hoped that all three will be fit for the fray on Sunday.
‘We are hoping to have enough fuel left in the tank to win the county championship,’ said trainer Evans. ‘It has been a very difficult year and I suppose we have been lucky on occasions. We have played good football on occasions but it is our never-say-die heart, which has been bred into us over the last few years, that has stood to us, most particularly against East-Kerry in the drawn game in the second half and again in the first half of the replay. Again we had to hold off a mighty onslaught by Kerins O Rahillys in the quarter-final when we were again put to the pin of our collars. I think it is more or less a combination of experience, skill and determination that has brought us to the final. We know we are up against an in-form West-Kerry side, which is dotted with county players in various grades and all of them are good footballers.’
But, whatever about the outcome on Sunday, Evans believes it will be a great occasion, which will attract a big crowd and he is absolutely sure that Kerry football will benefit from it. He doesn’t look at it as an opportunity for Laune Rangers to put back-to-back county championships together. He feels that, having won the All-Ireland Club title last year, Rangers have now done what most other clubs in the county have not done – and that is, reached the county final the next year. ‘I know that if we win the county final on Sunday, we will be absolutely unique, but I think it’s the enjoyment of playing the game and having a great bunch of lads who are so dedicated to training together, which makes it all worth while,’ he stressed. ‘Then, of course, the honesty the players have shown in their training and attitude also makes it worthwhile. I think the pendulum may have swung a good bit towards West-Kerry. The replay against Dr. Crokes will have brought them on no end and the fact that they have beaten Crokes for the first time in ten years indicates to me, like a beacon light, that West-Kerry are a formidable force.’
Evans points to West-Kerry’s strength down the centre – Fergal Ó Sé, Colm Geaney, Dara Ó Sé, Fintan Ashe, Dara Ó Cinnéide and Murt Moriarty. Throw in men like Jack Ferriter and a bang-on-form Sean Geaney and one has a measure of West-Kerry’s all-round strength. He says that going into the county final last year was like a mission. ‘We set our sights on the county championship and the All-Ireland Club Championship,’ he said. ‘I think this year every game we have played in is a bonus, but what a bonus a county final win would be!’
The Killorglin man believes the standard has risen in county championship football in the county over the past three or four years and he says the two teams in Sunday’s final are proof of that. ‘I think the scene is set for a cracker and I expect to see good traditional football, high fielding and long kicking and, hopefully, we might kick a few more points than they will!’
He is also thrilled with the fact that in West-Kerry’s trainer, Mossie O Donnell, he will be coming face to face with a Garda colleague and a long-time friend as well ‘We think along the same lines, so I hope there will be surprises pulled!’ he quipped. ‘When I dipped into the tank earlier on in the year to see how much fuel was in the tank for the county championship, the gauge was not reading too well. But in the last three or four weeks I again dipped in the tank and found that the gauge had risen a bit. As a result, I am now more hopeful than confident.’
Laune Rangers captain, Mark O Connor, feels West-Kerry are going to be a tough side to beat. ‘They have played tougher games and the extra game against Crokes will probably stand to them in the long run,’ said the sterling corner-back. Pointing to their injury problems, O Connor also bemoans the fact that Pa O Sullivan has been ruled out through injury and that Timmy Fleming has retired from the game. But the advent of players like Michael Francis Russell, John Sheehan and Brian Gannon has helped to offset these losses. But a county championship final will be a new experience for these young players.
Mark O Connor has been playing with the senior team for 10 years now. ‘It doesn’t get any easier,’ said the 27-year old captain. ‘The last two years have been very tough but, at the end of the day, it’s the results that keep you going – when there’s light at the end of the tunnel. In the last few weeks we haven’t been playing up to our usual standard. But we have been there before and the spirit is good. But coming up to the final, there will be a great buzz about the place. Winning the All-Ireland championship was the ultimate prize but winning county championships back-to-back would be a big thing, also.’
However, Mark acknowledges the fact that a lot of the players have been around for the last couple of years and legs and heads have to be getting tired. Players like Dara Ó Sé, Dara Ó Cinnéide and Sean Geaney are playing very well at the moment and we are going to have to watch these fellows very closely,’ said the captain. ‘We had some very anxious moments in the drawn game against East-Kerry, but once again our experience showed through and we pulled through. We didn’t play up to scratch but we played well for the last ten or fifteen minutes and we pulled them back and that’s what it’s all about. Then, against Kerins O Rahillys, everyone was saying it would be easy but we knew it was going to be a tough game. We’ll be trying our best to win back-to-back championships but we realise that West-Kerry are very strong. They seem to be the team to beat.’
As far as any aspirations about winning another All-Ireland Club title are concerned, O Connor says they’ll concentrate on Sunday’s game first. ‘It’s a big strain on the players,’ he said. ‘Some of them are coming all the way down from Limerick to train. But we’re taking Sunday’s final as it comes and we’ll see what happens after that. The appetite for the game is still there. We just want to get out there and get into it.’ Mark deems it a great honour to be captain of the side on Sunday. ‘It would be a great honour to lift the Bishop Moynihan Cup on Sunday,’ he said. ‘Their inter-county players are going to be the ones to hold at the end of the day. But we’re looking forward to Sunday and we’ll be giving it our best shot.’
Selector Patsy Joy admits that the last two years have been tough for Laune Rangers as far as the amount of football the team has played in that time. ‘We have been going two years up and down,’ said Patsy. ‘West-Kerry are a good side and we are going out on Sunday with a fifty-fifty chance. I have seen West-Kerry play and they have very good players. I saw them against Crokes and they spread the ball well.’ Have Rangers gone back? ‘People say that but we are still winning our games by one or two points,’ replied the long-serving selector. ‘Maybe we’re gone back from winning games by five or six points. We’ve been badly hit by injuries but we have a couple of great young lads after coming through. But you still need all your players to get the best out of them. Pa O Sullivan has the cast off but he is not training yet. But the likes of Michael Francis Russell, John Sheehan and Brian Gannon are all in line for places.
Patsy admits that it’s a big drain on the physical resources of the team. ‘It is very hard to keep the players motivated,’ he said. ‘We are putting in that bit extra now for the championship and I hope we will get through. We are the team to be beaten by all of them. East-Kerry put it up to us in Killarney but we had the experience and it pulled us through. The game against Kerins O Rahillys was a strange type of game. I suppose we were lucky to hold out for a point win. But I feel a draw would have been a fair result for O Rahillys.’
The selector said the club had achieved everything that it could achieve in winning the All-Ireland Club Championship last March. ‘Looking out there tonight, I think we have a small bit of bite back in our game,’ he said. ‘But I suppose the championship will do that.’ Referring to their supporters, Patsy said support had been a bit slow of late but he hoped this would build up for Sunday’s final. ‘It is very hard for supporters and for players to keep going all the time,’ he said. ‘We are more hopeful than anything else. We are going out there with a fifty-fifty chance and on the day maybe we’ll get a few breaks. We are just holding on by a point or two and let’s hope we can do the same on Sunday by a point.’
Jerome Conway was unable to be present on the night that Eamonn Horan visited the Laune Rangers training camp but, in response to a request, he wrote the following article for the Kerryman: “One would have thought that, having won the All-Ireland Club Championship last March, Laune Rangers would have rested on their laurels for 1996. Forebodings of burn-out were rife about the place. Nevertheless, though we have stuttered through the championship thus far, the players are really well geared for Sunday’s final.
Trainer John Evans and his selectors, Patsy Joy and John Griffin, must be credited to a huge degree for nurturing their charges through the summer. They have rested players when the opportunity arose and yet have them in peak shape. To do this and retain top spot in the Co. League has taken much thought and planning. Undoubtedly, they have been helped by the progress of some of last year’s minors onto the team. Players such as Michael Russell, John Sheehan, Pa O Sullivan (at present injured) and Brian Gannon are either on the team or knocking on the door. The knock-on effect of this has been that all players are vying for positions.
Equally, I am in awe of the total commitment shown by the older statesmen of the team – Joe Shannon, Pierce Prendiville, Paudie Sheahan and Peter Lyons. They rarely, if ever, miss a training session and are a source of great inspiration to the others. Nobody will take their places on the team easily. What motivates a team to keep going – those endless exercises, running, practising and playing? Well, there is no doubt but that winning begets winning. It gives players the confidence and desire to dig even deeper in search of even more success. The knowledge, that any one club will only be at the top for a limited time, is another sobering but motivating factor. The wheel turns, thus ensuring that the spoils will be shared but equally dictating that the incumbent should win as much as they can, while they can.
Certainly, one could argue that we have had our share of success over the past few years. Little enough was said or written about it at the time, but the feat of contesting five county minor finals in-a-row from 1986 to 1990, in a county as steeped in football as Kerry, was a truly marvellous achievement. Those teams have been the source of our strength at senior level in the ‘90’s. In 1990, we won the Co. U-21 Championship, lost the Co. U-21 final to South-Kerry in 1992 and won both the minor and U-21 titles in 1995. These victories reflect the great work being done at juvenile level in the club.
We have outstanding team mentors, most of whom are former players, who are dedicated to ensuring the life blood of the club. It is particularly gratifying to see an even greater influx of mentors this year, to such an extent that each team now has four adults in charge. Herein lies the key to future success. It can be very easy in the heady days of All-Ireland success to forget or neglect the youth of the club. This would be a gross mistake, as the youth of today will be the seniors of tomorrow and the effectiveness of our present-day juvenile policies will be judged on the future performances of our seniors.
With an eye on Sunday’s game, it must be said that many of the clubs in West-Kerry have very good Bord na nÓg sections. This is borne out by the excellent minor teams produced by Ciarraí Thiar over the last few years. They defeated us the 1990 final. Of that team, they have players on duty today while we have three in Adrian Hassett, Mike Hassett and Billy O Shea. For many of their team, it will be their first county final experience, while for many of ours, it will their fourth. This experience should serve us well. West-Kerry have excellent forward talent, which has not yet gelled, but the replays against South-Kerry and Dr. Crokes will have benefited them greatly. If they succeed in gelling on Sunday, we could be in trouble. Nevertheless, we have not played well thus far and are due a really good game. If that transpires, they could be in trouble. Either way, it will be a tough game to win and perhaps our yearning to put the county senior championships back-to-back could swing it in our favour.”
When the Laune Rangers’ team was announced on the Tuesday night prior to the final, Eamonn Horan previewed the game in the Kerryman as follows: “They (Laune Rangers) selected veteran Paudie Sheahan at fullback in an obvious move to counter the expected threat posed by the challengers’ full-forward, Murt Moriarty. In their defensive reshuffle, Laune Rangers have moved young John Sheehan from fullback to right halfback. He takes over at No. 5 from play-anywhere Billy O Shea, who has been moved to the ‘40’ where he displaces James O Shea. The latter has been recovering from a hop injury, as has Gerard Murphy. Murphy moved from right to left half-forward in a swop with Joe Shannon. Otherwise the team is unchanged from the side, which overcame St. Kieran’s in the semi-final a month ago.
A lot in interest will be focussed on Billy O Shea’s clashes with Colm Geaney at the heart of the West-Kerry defence. Likewise, there should be some tremendous jousts between the champions’ centre halfback, Mike Hassett, and his county team-mate Dara Ó Cinnéide. Laune Rangers’ selector John Griffin believes that, whilst the team has been a bit sluggish, they are coming back to what they were and there is a ‘bit more bite’ in training in recent weeks. ‘If players don’t have an appetite for the county final, they won’t have it at all,’ said Griffin. ‘We have seen West-Kerry on a few occasions. They are a strong team. Their forwards are possibly the strongest part of the team and midfield. West-Kerry have a lot of big names. Dara Ó Sé and Dara Ó Cinnéide will take a lot of holding. They have other players on the fringe of the county team. We are confident that preparation has been done and that we have the players to carry it off on the day.’
So the scene is set for what should be a thrill-packed hour’s football and, whatever the outcome, spectators, who flock to the Tralee headquarters on Sunday afternoon, are in for some wonderful entertainment.”
Final on Sun. 20th Oct. at Austin Stack Park: Laune Rangers 2-7; West-Kerry 1-9.
Eamonn Horan reported on the game in the Kerryman as follows: “In a game, which they looked like running away with at halftime, county champions, Laune Rangers, had to call on all their experience and expertise to stave off a stern second-half fight-back by West-Kerry. But, while the challengers will bemoan that fact that they didn’t get a second bite at the cherry, nevertheless, Laune Rangers were deserving winners and worthy county champions – reflecting their Munster and All-Ireland status.
In some ways, this was an extraordinary game of football. For one thing, both teams played their best football against the strong breeze, which blew into the Clash end of the ground. West-Kerry had it to their backs in the opening half, but they failed miserably to utilise it and, in fact, it was the defending champions who cut out the running all through the first half. West-Kerry were never moving with the confidence of a team that was going to take this game by the scruff of the neck and throw down the gauntlet to the champions. They were very tentative around the centre of the field where Dara Ó Sé played in snatches, with periodic assistance from Paul Quinn, the Gaeltacht player having been chosen to play in place of regular midfielder Final Ashe, who was ruled out because of a serious eye injury.
Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville were right bang in form for the winners at midfield, and they used their understanding of each other’s play to utmost effect in this half, as they fetched some fine balls and linked up slickly with their forwards. Indeed, Rangesr woudl have enjoyed a much greater advantage on the score-board at halftime were it not for some stouthearted defending by the West-Kerry backs, particularly Mickey O Connor, Sean O Mahony and Tomás Ó Sé. But, as far as West-Kerry were concerned, they were totally lacking in flair and ideas all through the opening 30 minutes when they should have been putting scores on the board to cushion them against the anticipated bombardment from the wind-assisted title-holders after the break.
Dara Ó Cinnéide was never the commander of the attack that he was expected to be with the result that the losers’ forwards were always closely policed by the opposing backs who never gave their rivals an inch of space in which to manoeuvre. Mike Hassett kept a tight rein on Ó Cinnéide. Paudie Sheahan was the essence of solidity at fullback for Rangers and kept Murt Moriarty well in check. Likewise, wing-back Shane O Sullivan gave Jack Ferriter little change all through the first half and the end result was that the losers’ attack lacked finish and this was to prove very costly for West-Kerry. O Sullivan was forced to retire with an injured shoulder early in the second half.
Dara Ó Sé was booked in the opening quarter for striking Shane O Sullivan. At that stage the sides were level at 0-2 apiece. But Rangers missed a golden chance of a goal when Liam Hassett and Paul Griffin combined to put Gerard Murphy through but he blazed the ball wide with his left foot with the goal at his mercy. It wasn’t a particularly happy afternoon for the former captain who was moved to top of the left, with Michael Francis Russell moving out to the left wing. And what a notable contribution young Russell was to make to this memorable triumph. He kicked four points in all – three from frees – over the hour but hsi overall contribution performance-wise was truly immeasurable. He chased every ball with a passion and when he got possession he used it to utmost advantage, linking up magnificently with his fellow forwards. Rangers have truly got a star in their ranks in this young man.
Of course, the fact that West-Kerry could only muster three scores in the entire first half shows how disorganised and fragmented was their standard of play in this period. We waited in vain for the fireworks to come from the likes of Ó Cinnéide, Ferriter, Sean Geaney and Moriarty. The losers’ attack was very shot-shy in this half, but the plain fact of the matter is that the Rangers’ backs put the shackles on them. Ó Cinnéide pointed frees in the 5th and 11th minutes and the Galetacht man had their only other score of the half after 15 minutes when he took a pass from Quinn to steer the ball between the posts for the lead for his side (0-3 to 0-2) – the only time they led in the entire game.That was after Murphy’s bad miss at the other end. In the meantime, Rangers had settled into their game. They were playing man-to-man football as only they can, and West-Kerry appeared to have no answer to their scintillating teamwork. They never seemed to get flurried and kept coming forward in waves out of defence.
Russell tied the scores from a free after 18 minutes and he quickly added another from a placed ball. He was like a pimpernel as far as the overworked West-Kerry defence was concerned.And he again showed his class when he rounded his man out on the left wing and moved inside to float over a gem of a point in the 23rd minute. A minute later, the Champions struck for the first of their goals. Mike Hassett, ever a thorn in the side of the opposition, came careering through the middle and, spotting Billy O Shea loose inside him, plied him with a lovely pass and the centre half-forward coolly slid a left-footed shot under the feet of advancing goalkeeper, Diarmuid Murphy, for a cheeky goal, and a score, which sent the champions in at halftime leading by 5 points (1-5 to 0-3).
However, West-Kerry came within a fraction of pulling back a goal after 27 minutes when Hannafin and Sean Geaney worked the ball through to JJ Corduff, but goalkeeper Peter Lyons made a magnificent one-handed save from a blinding shot by the Gaeltacht man, and the ensuing ’45’ by Ó Cinnéide was cleared. A goal at that stage might have worked wonders for the losers who were very much at loggerheads with their game in this half. However, full credit to them for the manner in which they came storming back into the fray after halftime.
West-Kerry certainly gelignited the exchanges straight from the restart. They launched a quick attack and, when Sean Geaney fired in a shot at goal, Peter Lyons somehow fumbled the ball badly as he went to stop it and, when it broke loose to Dara Ó Cinnéide, the Gaeltacht man accepted the ‘gift’ and casually slotted the ball to the net from close range. Suddenly, what had appeared to be a hopeless situation for West-Kerry, had taken on a new dimension. The men from the peninsula were back in business when Hanafin followed with a pointed free from his hands, there was just a point between the teams and the second half barely a minute old (1-5 to 1-4). Rangers were distinctly rattled and Russell was wide from a sideline ball in the 33rd minute. Then West-Kerry had a chance to level the scores when, after a hot attack, wing-back Sean O Mahony was fouled, but, amazingly, O Cinnéide sent the ensuing free wide on the left and a great chance had been lost.
Liam Hassett and Sean Geaney exchanged points before a ’45’ from Russell went wide of the post. But it was at this juncture that Rangers dug deep into their resources and between the 42nd and 44th minutes they struck for two all important scores, which were to seal their rivals’ fate. Russell and Murphy pressed forward, and, when the latter was fouled, Russell pointed the free. Then Dara Ó Sé made a fine clearance from a centre by Byrne, but the winners came raiding again as they struck for their second goal. Prendiville triggered off the movement out on the left flank. The ball reached Murphy and he transferred it to the in-rushing Mike Hassett. In a jiffy, the burly centre halfback crashed an unstoppable shot to the roof of the net, giving goalkeeper Murphy no chance in the process. That was a brilliantly taken goal by Hassett and helped to earn him the man-of-the-match award at the finish. Once again he had utilised his penchant for coming forward out of defence to most telling effect and little wonder he should have been hailed by delirious supporters when it was all over.
That goal opened up a five-point gap between the teams and it left West-Kerry fighting an uphill battle trying to get back into contention at a time when they seemed to be right back in the game. Their full-forward line sallied forward and the winners were lucky to escape when goal-man Lyons fumbled a shot from Geaney, but the danger was averted. Then Hannafin sent wide before Ó Cinnéide narrowed the deficit with a pointed free in the 47th minute. Ó Sé and Quinn pressed forward and goalkeeper Lyons made a timely interception when he first-timed the ball out over the sideline. West-Kerry had got their second wind, and, when Ó Cinnéide found O Mahony with a pass, it looked as if the Castlegregory wing-back was on for a goal – he was deprived of it when Adrian Hassett made a diving block at his feet. Dara Ó Se was again in the wars when he pulled across Tommy Byrne, but it went unnoticed by the referee. However, Ó Sé was playing superbly in the middle of the field at this stage, and he above anybody else kept West-Kerry’s chances afloat right to the very finish.
In the 52nd minute, Corduff was fouled and Ó Cinnéide obliged from the free, and there was just a goal in it. It was exciting stuff at this juncture as Billy O Shea popped up back in defence for Rangers and they won a free out to relieve the pressure. Young Brian Gannon was introduced to the Rangers’ attack in place of Murphy, and he more than justified his call-up, getting into a few dangerous attacks. But the West-Kerry men kept battling for all they were worth. A movement involving Fergal Ó Sé, O Mahony and Moriarty ended with Sean Geaney picking off a lovely point to close the gap to two points after 54 minutes, and, when Corduff tacked on another, seconds later, there was just one point dividing the sides. It was a gripping affair from there to the finish, with the challengers giving it everything in their attempt to snatch a draw and the crowd relished every spell-binding minute of it.
Rangers attacked in numbers but Byrne drove the ball wide and then Gannon was just wide on the left. Russell missed from a free and Liam Hassett followed with another wide. But time was running out on West-Kerry. Fergal Ó Sé and Mickey O Connor led the charge, but Ó Cinnéide was deprived of a score by the alertness of Mike Hassett. Then Griffin was wide at the other end. With the game in injury time, West-Kerry made one last surge, and they won a free out on the right wing. Could they bring the game to a replay? The kick was entrusted to Brendan Hannafin, but the Lispole man’s effort fell short and there was the heroic Joe Shannon to win the ball as the final whistle sounded and Laune Rangers were still the Champions.
West-Kerry can only blame themselves at the end of the day. They turned in a sub-standard display in the opening half, and left them selves with too much to do against the strong wind in the second half. It was a day when quite a few of their stars failed to shine. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that Laune Rangers didn’t permit them to shine.Once again, John Evans’ troops rallied to the call and, when the battle was at its fiercest, they weathered the storm and their great determination, excellent teamwork and never-say-die spirit saw them through to yet another historic victory. Little wonder that trainer Evans should say afterwards, ‘I’m absolutely thrilled. No other team has ever retained the county championship after winning the All-Ireland Club title, and don’t forget that we’ve played a lot of football. When any team comes out of Kerry you are a potential force for any club in Ireland. Some people said we were tired, but I didn’t see a tired team out there today. I think we are capable of winning another All-Ireland.’
It was a wonderful team triumph by each and every man on the Laune Rangers team. But, that having been said, special praise must go to Mike Hassett, Michael Francis Russell, Tommy Byrne, Joe Shannon, Shane O Sullivan, Billy O Shea and Paudie Sheahan for the magnificence of their contribution to victory. Apart from the very strong breeze, the game was played in dry conditions and the pitch was in excellent shape. The attendance was 7,000.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), John Sheehan, Mike Hassett (1-0), Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon, Michael F. Russell (0-4, 3 frees), Gerard Murphy, Paul Griffin (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-2), Billy O Shea (1-0). Subs: Conor Kearney for S. O Sullivan (inj.), Brian Gannon for G. Murphy, James O Shea, Pat McKenna, Pa O Sullivan, Pa Murphy, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh and Billy O Sullivan.
West-Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy (dingle), Noel Murphy (do), Fergal Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Micí Ó Conchubhair (do), Tomás Ó Sé (do), Colm Geaney (Dingle) capt., Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory), Pól Ó Cuinn (Gaeltacht), Dara Ó Sé (do), Jack Ferriter (Dingle), Dara Ó Cinnéide (Gaeltacht) 1-5, 4 frees, JJ Corduff (do) 0-1, Brendan Hannafin (Lispole) 0-1, Murt Moriarty (Dingle), Sean Geaney (do) 0-2. Sub: Mairtín Ó Grifín (Gaeltacht) for J. Ferriter.
Ref: Maurice O Sullivan (Ballyheigue).
The team travelled in Sean Houlihan’s bus. They ate in the Grand Hotel, Tralee, courtesy of George Boyle. There was one stop in Milltown on the way home and then it was on to Killorglin to a tremendous reception. There were the usual bonfires, the tour of the town in Quirke’s lorry and the addresses in the Square. The Chairman introduced the players to the assembled singing fans. John Evans and Mark O Connor also spoke. The occasion was suitably toasted.
` On Monday night many of the players went to Dingle to celebrate with the West-Kerry players in Geaney’s pub especially.
The AIB sponsored reception was in the Ballygarry House Hotel, Tralee on Tuesday 22nd Oct. The menu consisted of: Starters – Seafood Crepe or Savoury Stuffed Mushrooms; Fresh Cream of Potato & Leek Soup; Main Course – Grilled 8 oz. Minute Steak, Saute Onions or Roast Chicken & Ham, Savoury Stuffing or Fried Fillet of Plaice, Tartare Sauce with Selection of Fresh vegetables; Dessert – Fresh Fruit Salad or Selection of Ice-Cream; Tea or Coffee. The team travelled by bus. Mike Hassett was chosen as man-of-the-match in the football final and Brendan O Sullivan, Ballyheigue, in the hurling final. Referring to the recipient for the football award, Sean Kelly, Chairman of the Co. Board, said he was one of a trio of brothers on the team. To have three brothers on the team was a wonderful achievement. Mike Hassett had proven himself to be as good a halfback as there was in the country for a long time. He said they hoped Laune Rangers would go on to win the Munster and All-Ireland titles again. ‘We look forward to many more entertaining games from them,’ he added. Jim Clifford, Senior Manager for North-Kerry AIB said, ‘As far as the man-of-the-match in football is concerned, there could hardly be a worthier winner or a more popular recipient of it than then the man who has been chosen – the peerless Mike Hassett himself.’ He said that Mike Hassett had established himself as an outstanding defender since he first came to prominence as an U-21 star with Kerry in 1993. ‘Since then he has helped his county to All-Ireland U-21 honours and a Munster senior title,’ he said. ‘He was one of the stars of the team, which annexed the All-Ireland Club Championship earlier this year and once again on Sunday he revealed the silken talents, which have helped to make him one of the best backs in the game today. Sunday was once again a great day for Laune Rangers – also for trainer John Evans, selectors Patsy Joy and John Griffin as well as each and every one of the team itself.’
At a subsequent Laune Rangers’ club meeting, thanks were expressed to all those who helped to decorate the town prior to the final and especially those who spent time and effort on their wonderful window displays. The town had really looked well and had added greatly to the build up and subsequent victory of the Co. Championship. The winners of the window display were Nick’s Restaurant, Sheahan’s Bar and King Print. The prize for the correct score forecast was shared by the following: Aidan Spillane, c/o Klinge; Gene Kelly, Ballagh , Killarney; Maura Foley, Boheishill, Glencar; Sean P. Clifford, Waterville; Gerard Clifford, Laharn Court; Ann O Sullivan, c/o Fexco and Dermot Griffin, Gurrane West.
Barry Harmon put pen to paper to compose this song in celebration of the win:
The Mighty Rangers
(Air: The Irish Rover).
In the year of our Lord nineteen ninety six, we set out on a football campaign,
With a point for us to prove and a firm belief we’re the best at the footballing game,
With a trainer, selectors and twenty four players, we took to the fields in good form.
Sure we trained night and day to be sure we were right
And they call us the mighty Rangers.
Chorus: Sure we trained day and night to be sure we were right,
And they call us the mighty Rangers.
We had spirit and skill in the backs you could see, the centres were holding their own.
The team was alert as Lyons guarded his net and Mike Hassett, he soloed alone.
Now Pierce and Tom Byrne, they stood very stern, as Evans surmised all the dangers,
And Marky, that man from the Chub Connor clan, was the skipper of the mighty Rangers.
Chorus: And Marky, that man from the Chub Connor Clan, was the skipper of the mighty Rangers.
In the county, we’re the best, sure we won all contest, the boys from the East we did take.
We played mighty ball against one and all, and the West still isn’t awake.
We had young Brian Gannon, with a shot like a cannon, Tim Fleming soared high for the ball.
Sure they trained day and night to be sure they were right and they call them the mighty Rangers.
Chorus: (Repeat last line).
We have Adrian and Liam, Ger Murphy and Pa, Paul Griffin and Billy O Shea,
Kearney, like a tank, and brilliant Mike Frank and Joe Shannon was having his day.
We had Paudie back and John at right back and Shane, he was eager to play,
And O Sullivan Bill, what a shot he can drill, sure there’s hope for the mighty Rangers.
Chorus: (Repeat the last line).
So, come all, you good people, man, woman and child, all your support we will need,
As we head for Portlaois and hope for Croke Park to create our own history.
So, good luck to the lads in search of the crown, and glory once more to our town.
Sure they trained day and night to be sure they were right and we call them the mighty Rangers.
Chorus: (Repeat the last line).
Munster Club Football Championship
Semi-final on Sun. 17th Nov. at Dungarvan: Rathgormack 1-5; Laune Rangers 1-5.
Deirdre Walsh reported in the Kerryman as follows: “Following an atrocious first-half display, during which they failed to register a single score, Kerry Co. Champions Laune Rangers were lucky to escape from Dungarvan with a draw in the Munster Club Championship semi-final against Rathgormack of Waterford. Despite an early second half rally, during which the visitors notched up a goal and three points in seven minutes, the Munster and All-Ireland Champions could easily have been dethroned by a fitter and hungrier Waterford side.
Laune Rangers, missing regulars Gerard Murphy, Shane O Sullivan and Liam Hassett, played against a strong wind in the first half. Yet, despite the dominance of Tommy Byrne at midfield, they found it difficult to convert their chances into scores. Rathgormack, by contrast, showed some nice touches from very early on, with wing-back Dan Crotty creating serious problems for James O Shea. It was the home side that opened the scoring in the fifth minute when a badly-struck free by Martin Power found its way to Frannie Halpin, who pointed from 40 yards. Three minutes later, Rathgormack full-forward, Ger Power added his name to the score-sheet, as it became evident that the Rangers’ backline of Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan and Mark O Connor was going to have a difficult afternoon.
The Kerry side’s best chance of a score came in the 12th minute, when a lovely passing movement, which started in the backline and involved Paudie Sheahan, John Sheehan and Paul Griffin, gave Michael F. Russell a golden opportunity. However, the young Killorglin man hit a very poor wide and this unfortunate miss was to signal an unhappy afternoon in the blue jersey for Russell, who was well marshalled by Rathgormack corner-back, Jason Crotty.
Spurred on by a vocal and very partisan Waterford crowd at Fraher Field, Rathgormack continued to stamp their dominance on the game and they increased their lead in the 18th minute with a point from 20 yards by the hard-working Joe Murray. It was Murray again who created the next score for the challengers two minutes later when he set up a perfect pass for Dan Crotty to put the Waterford champions ahead by 0-4 to 0-0.
The ever-loyal Laune Rangers’ fans, who made the long journey to Dungarvan, were seriously concerned at this stage, and with just cause. Only Mike Hassett, Tommy Byrne at midfield and Billy O Shea were playing anywhere their usual form. Luckily for the visitors, Rathgormack were guilty of some terrible kicking, clocking eight wides in total during the first half. But for this, their halftime lead could have put the match far beyond the reach of the reigning All-Ireland champions. Laune Rangers’ misery was further confounded when Tommy Byrne missed a penalty three minutes before the end of the first half, much to the delight of the Waterford crowd. John Evans’ men trooped off the pitch at halftime no doubt grateful to be only four points in arrears but obviously wondering why they failed to register a single score in thirty minutes.
The champions lined out for the second half with Pa O Sullivan on in place of James O Shea. Paul Griffin moved from corner-forward to wing-forward to allow O Sullivan to slot in at the forefront of the attack. It proved to be an inspired substitution by the Rangers’ mentors. From the very start of the second half, the Killorglin men settled down and played a more familiar and effective brand of football. Tommy Byrne once again dominated at midfield, sending in plenty of ball to the industrious Paul Griffin, who proved to be the star of the Laune Rangers’ team on the day.
Billy O Shea came charging down the left wing to supply Griffin with a perfect pass in the 31st minute, which Griffin duly slotted over the bar to finally open the visitors’ account. For the next ten minutes, Laune Rangers seemed to move into a different gear and the Waterford fans wondered how such a transformation could take place. Again, it was Billy O Shea who set Conor Kearney up for a point in the 32nd minute, while Paul Griffin collected another beautifully-executed pass from O Shea a minute later to notch up his second point and his team’s third in as many minutes. Laune Rangers were now just a point in arrears and the Rathgormack side was guilty of some petty fouling at this stage, resulting in the name of their centre-field man, Martin Power, being taken by referee, Sean O Keeffe, for a blatant foul on Tommy Byrne.
The Kerry men kicked three wides in succession after this, which were to prove costly in the end, but, seven minutes into the second half, they struck for their goal. Joe Shannon gathered a ball around the centre of the field and delivered a pass to Michael F. Russell. Russell then flicked to ball to Pa O Sullivan and he found the net with a well-placed low kick. Rangers were ahead for the first time in the game (1-3 to 0-4) and the initiative had swung strongly in their favour.
But, to give credit to the gutsy Waterford champions, they refused to lie down and let the Kerry men cruise home. Dan Crotty and Martin Power continued to find holes in an often porous Rangers’ defence and Power was unfortunate not to find the back of the net himself in the 40th minute, though Rangers’ goalkeeper, Peter Lyons, made a great save. The visitors squandered two more scoring chances with two dreadful wides. Michael F. Russell then had his name taken before Paul Griffin once again found the target to bring the score to 1-4 to 0-4 in favour of the visitors in the 47th minute.
A peculiar decision by referee O Keeffe in the 49th minute led to Laune Rangers’ next score. He originally gave a free to the Kerry side from about 40 yards out, but then changed his mind and awarded a throw-in. This was easily gathered by the towering Conor Kearney, who passed to Pa O Sullivan. O Sullivan was fouled and his free from near the sideline resulted in a point to put Rangers ahead by 1-5 to 0-4. A minute later, Kearney was in the thick of the action again, when he collected a pass from Pierce Prendiville just outside the square. The tall Abbeydorney man was unmarked and appeared to have an open goal in front of him, but, for some reason, he passed the ball to Russell, who kicked wide.
Rangers’ fans hardly had time to rue this wasted opportunity to seal the game when Rathgormack’s Frannie Halpin made a charging solo-run down the field, which resulted in a well-taken goal in the 53rd minute. There was just a point between the sides now, with Rangers leading by 1-5 to 1-4 and the screams of encouragement from the home fans were deafening. Russell kicked a wide at a crucial time two minutes later and this was followed by two more wides from Rathgormack’s Seamus Power.
But the Waterford men never lost heart and Dan Crotty played a vital role in the team’s attack at this crucial juncture of the match. A foul on Crotty led to a free quickly taken by Brendan Curry. The Waterford man’s kick fell short of the target, but it was easily gathered by full-forward Ger Power who made no mistake and kicked a point to bring the sides level at 1-5 each. Despite numerous stoppages throughout the second half, the referee blew the whistle promptly and it was generally felt that it was the Killorglin men who breathed the greatest sigh of relief.
Overall, it was a day, which the All-Ireland club champions would probably like to forget. They were best served by Paul Griffin, Tommy Byrne, Billy O Shea and substitute Pa O Sullivan and, to a lesser extent, Mike Hassett and Conor Kearney. To be fair to the Killorglin men, they were unfortunate that the wind, which favoured the home side to a huge extent in the first half, died down considerably for most of the second half. The standard of football overall was poor and the flow of the game was upset too many times by an over-zealous referee. The Killorglin men could rightly claim they fell foul of a few dubious decisions, particularly one in the first half, when corner-back Adrian Hassett was pulled down for what looked like a certain penalty. The All-Ireland club champions were obviously taken by surprise by a very fit, determined and hungry Rathgormack side, but, having sustained a serious fright, and, with home advantage next Sunday, one feels that it might be a slightly different story.”
Deirdre Walsh reported from the Laune Rangers’ dressing-room afterwards as follows: “Relief, disappointment and frustration at having to do it all over again were the predominant emotions in the Laune Rangers’ dressing-room following their dramatic draw with Rathgormack in Dungarvan. Ranger’s goalkeeper, Peter Lyons, admitted that display of the Kerry champions was less than satisfactory. But he was adamant that they did not take the Waterford champions for granted. ‘I can’t ever remember a game when Laune Rangers failed to score for a full thirty minutes. I wonder has it ever happened in the past few years,’ he asked. ‘We knew it was going to be a tough, physical game and it was. They had the wind in the first half and it made a huge difference. We improved in the second half, but their halfback line picked up the breaks. That’s football. We’ll have them in Killorglin next Sunday and that should be a big advantage to us.’
Mike Hassett said he felt Laune Rangers were lucky to come away with a draw. ‘It was very bad not to score in the first half and we were lucky not to have lost it,’ he said. ‘But at least we have the replay at home.’
Conor Kearney said he knew the Waterford champions would be tough and physically strong. ‘But we didn’t realise how fast and fit they would be,’ he said. ‘We played very well in the first 20 minutes of the second half, but we died after that.’
Laune Rangers Chairman, Jerome Conway, felt that the loss through injury of Liam Hassett, Gerard Murphy and Shane O Sullivan was a big blow to the All-Ireland Club Champions. ‘The way we played in the first half was very disappointing, but I think some poor refereeing decisions went against us,’ he said.
Team trainer, John Evans, said he was grateful that his charges had a chance to take part in a replay. ‘Rathgormack came out and put the wind up on us,’ he said. ‘They were a very enthusiastic team and we were lucky to survive down here in Waterford.’ He described the second half of the game as ‘teak-tough and tension-packed.’ ‘We missed a lot of chances, including a penalty, but we will improve,’ he said. ‘We’ll have Gerard Murphy and Liam Hassett back for the replay, hopefully. Pa O Sullivan made a big difference when he came on and we’ll have home advantage next week.”
Rangers adopted some strange tactics in the first quarter of the game and did not seem to have a very obvious plan of campaign. Rathgormack, for their part, had done some research on their opponents and were not slow to use whatever tactics that were deemed necessary to stop them playing. They were helped in no small way by the ineptitude of the referee. Rangers travelled in Sean Houlihan’s bus. They ate in Lawlor’s Hotel, Dungarvan and returned home before 11.00pm.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), John Sheehan, Mike Hassett, Pa Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon, Billy O Shea, James O Shea, Paul Griffin (0-3), Conor Kearney (0-1), Michael F. Russell. Subs: Pa O Sullivan (1-1) for J. O Shea, Billy O Sullivan for M. Russell, Pat McKenna, Brian Gannon, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh. Missing – Gerard Murphy (suspended), Liam Hassett (inj.) and Shane O Sullivan (inj.).
Ref: Sean O Keeffe (Cork).
Semi-final replay on Sun. 24th Nov. at Killarney: Laune Rangers 0-8; Rathgormack 0-4.
Deirdre Walsh reported for the Kerryman as follows: “A tired and often disorganised Laune Rangers did just enough to fight off the challenge of Waterford champions Rathgormack in this scrappy and often bad-tempered Munster Club championship semi-final replay at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. But their loyal army of fans, who were at the game in their usual large numbers, had very little to cheer about, as the reigning All-Ireland champions made heavy weather of beating a very mediocre Waterford side.
In a game, which was riddled with incidents, referee Sean O Keeffe from Cork, who also had charge of the drawn game in Dungarvan a week previously, was once again guilty of penalising players for minor incidents and allowing more serious challenges to go unpunished. At one stage during the second half, O Keeffe lost control of the game completely, as major scuffles involving players and mentors broke out on three successive occasions, and still he failed to send any player to the line.
Rathgormack, playing with the wind, started well, with Martin Power opening thei scoring with a free in the 5th minute. This was quickly followed by another from a free by midfielder Joe Murray, to put the challengers ahead by 0-2 to 0-0 after 10 minutes. Rangers’ best chance came in the 11th minute when a free by Tommy Byrne was well caught by Mike F. Russell, who flicked the ball to Gerard Murphy. Murphy was unmarked and appeared to have a golden opportunity for a point at least, but he drove the ball wide. This was followed by a succession of wides from the Kerry champions, who looked a mere shadow of the team, which won the county championship title the previous month. Their problems were further increased when Mike Hassett had to come off in the 14th minute with an injury (he was replaced by John Sheehan).
Rangers eventually opened their scoring tally after 15 minutes when Tommy Byrne was fouled and Michael F. Russell easily slotted over the free. The Killorglin men settled for a period from then on, with Byrne and Pierce Prendiville at midfield coming into the game more and feeding plenty of ball through to the forwards.
However, the game was marred by some niggling fouls and off-the-ball incidents, and twice during the first half play was held up when scuffles broke out involving about ten players. The standard of football was extremely poor, as both teams kicked several wides and the referee held up play on too many occasions when he should have played advantage. Rathgormack scored on two more occasions, in the 10th minute when Joe Murray got his second point and his team’s third, and then just on the stroke of halftime when Richard Power took a point from a free, leaving the champions trailing by 0-4 to 0-1 at the interval.
But Rangers approached the second half in a more determined fashion. Paul Griffin collected a well-executed pass from Michael F. Russell and put his name on the score-sheet after three minutes. Russell himself took a point from a free after seven minutes and Gerard Murphy finally drew the sides level at 0-4 each with a point from a pass by Billy O Shea in the 13th minute. At this stage, Rangers had introduced Liam Hassett for Conor Kearney and Hassett’s introduction proved significant, as his team finally started to play better. Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville completely dominated midfield and the Waterford men could only reply by committing a series of fouls. This led to play being held up again on numerous occasions.
Pierce Prendiville was blatantly struck by a Rathgormack player and this led to a free-for-all, which took the referee several minutes to sort out. Laune Rangers’ trainer, John Evans, came on the field at one stage and was struck by a Rathgormack player, which led to further scuffles. Incredibly, referee O Keeffe failed to take the name of any player following both of these incidents.
A minute later, some lovely touches by Billy O Shea, Tommy Byrne and Paul Griffin led to a well-taken point by Adrian Hassett in the 18th minute to put Rangers ahead by 0-6 to 0-4. The Waterford champions kicked two more wides and then missed their best chance of the game when midfield Vinny Murray had an open goal in front of him and drove a shot left of the goal. Waterford constantly pressurised the Laune Rangers’ backline for the ensuing five minutes, but Adrian Hassett, Billy O Shea and Pa Murphy worked hard to hold their opponents scoreless.
Tommy Byrne totally dominated play at this stage and his contribution was one of the deciding factors of the game. He fed plenty of ball through to Gerard Murphy and Joe Shannon, both of whom created havoc for the Rathgormack defence. Murphy put his name on the score-sheet in the 26th minute with a point from about 40 yards out and this was quickly followed by a well-struck point from Laune Rangers’ captain, Mark O Connor. This turned out to be the final score of the game, with Laune Rangers winning by 0-8 to 0-4 and holding their opponents scoreless for the entire second half. On a day when they played poorly, Rangers can justifiably feel aggrieved that they were on the receiving end of some very dubious decisions by referee O Keeffe.
After a very tough year, the Kerry champions looked tired for long periods of the game, particularly in the first half. Only Tommy Byrne, who was also one of their best players in the drawn game in Dungarvan, showed touches reminiscent of Rangers’ full potential. He won the ball at midfield, distributed it well and fell back in defence on a few occasions when needed. Joe Shannon, Pierce Prendiville and Michael Francis Russell also showed some nice touches, while Billy O Shea and Adrian Hassett were the best of the six defenders.
With Mike Hassett now added to Rangers’ injury list, one feels that John Evans’ charges will really have to pull off something special in Killarney next Sunday against Clonakilty, if they are to retain their Munster club title.”
That game had to be switched to Killarney as the J.P. O Sullivan Park was unplayable. Rangers were really clued in for that game and played with greater zeal and craft. Rathgormack were easily the most unsporting team that Rangers had ever met. They had never met a greater blackguard than Martin Power – he was thoroughly dirty and, at the same time, he was a good footballer. What a pity he did not concentrate on playing football. The referee was even more inept in that game than he had been in Dungarvan.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett (0-1), Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.) 0-1, Billy O Shea, Mike Hassett, Pa Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Paul Griffin (0-1), Michael Francis Russell (0-2), Joe Shannon, Pa O Sullivan, Conor Kearney, Gerard Murphy (0-2). Subs: John Sheehan (0-1) for M. Hassett (inj.), Liam Hassett for C. Kearney, James O Shea, Billy O Sullivan, Brian Gannon, Pat McKenna, John O Sullivan and Thomas Walsh. Missing – Shane O Sullivan (inj.).
Rathgormack: Pat Fahey, Jason Crotty, Declan Power, Kevin Power, Dan Crotty, Brendan Curry, Denis Hassett, Richard Power (0-1), Vinnie Murray, Joe Murray (0-2), Martin Power (0-1), Paddy Crotty, Sean Power, Ger Power, Frannie Halpin.
Ref: Sean O Keeffe (Cork).
Final on Sun. 1st Dec. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Laune Rangers 0-13; Clonakilty 0-10.
Murt Murphy described the match as follows in Kerry’s Eye: “Laune Rangers and Clonakilty met at the Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, before a large gathering on Sunday and produced one of the truly great footballing contests of the year. It was a game to savour for the purists, as both sides set out with a positive attitude and, with only football in mind, they served up a delicious cocktail of footballing skill and endeavour that had the rival fans on the edge of their seats right down to the final minutes. It was a credit to both sides that the game should have developed into a titanic struggle, especially in the closing 10 minutes. In the final analysis, it was the experience and power of Laune Rangers, gained over the past number of seasons, that stood to them in that riveting final 5 minute spell that saw them go 1 point in front, then be brought back again on level terms with 2 minutes remaining, and then saw them pull clear with 3 points in the final agonising seconds.
Laune Rangers and their manager, John Evans, enjoyed this victory more then most as most pundits had written their chances of retaining their Munster title off, as they had written off their chances of another Co. Championship. But Laune Rangers are made of stern stuff and they revelled in the role of proving the experts wrong. They produced another thrilling performance on Sunday, full of full-blooded honest endeavour and containing some marvellous passages of football. There were, also, many fine performances on the Laune Rangers team, and, from goalkeeper, Peter Lyons, to corner forward, Mike Frank Russell, each and every man played his part. They had to be at the height of their powers to deny this game Clonakilty, who played with a hunger themselves that did provide their win in the Cork Co. Championship Final. They came to Killarney to knock the Rangers from their throne, but they just fell short in those final minutes. They played well with the wind in the first half, but they could never manage the Rangers’ onslaught in the second, as the wave of blue descended upon them with sickening regularity.
The Laune Rangers side was not short of stars on Sunday. Peter Lyons was impeccable in goals. He was glad to see the first-minute penalty attempted by Owen O Mahony go wide off his posts, but his save to minutes from time from Tom Mannix was probably the save of the moment that ensured the title was bound to cross the Laune once again. The fullback line was again in outstanding form. Adrian Hassett gave his usual competent display, while in the other corner, captain Mark O Connor once again led by example and, marking a tricky customer in Kenneth Meade, he excelled in this role, roaming all over the field to deny his man. Paudie Sheahan at fullback, caught a tartar in Terry Dillon, the Clonakilty full-forward, who got a penalty early on, and was a thorn in the Laune Rangers’ side in the first half. However, in the second half, Clonakilty made a move that suited Laune Rangers by bringing Dillon to midfield. Sheahan followed him and, around the midfield area, he caught so much loose ball and ended up as a third midfielder. This helped Laune Rangers launch attack after attack and it backfired on Clonakilty with Sheahan defending and helping out in attack to telling effect.
The halfback line would be considered to be weak without the presence of Mike Hassett, but the great man was hardly missed such was the performances of the trio. Billy O Shea, in the first half, played one of his finest games for the Rangers. Not alone did he keep tabs on Michael o Donovan, but he went forward to score an outstanding point. John Sheehan had the tricky task of marking Padraig Griffin, son of the great Pat Griffin of Kerry and Glenbeigh football fame. Sheehan did a great job on Griffin in the second half. Griffin may had got a lot of the ball, but he wasn’t as effective as he had been in earlier games. Pa Murphy was on top against Brendan Walsh. So the Laune Rangers’ backs would have to take great credit.
At midfield, the powerful duo of Pierce Prendiville and Tommy Byrne once more overshadowed Billy Crowley and Tom Mannix, so much so that Bill Crowley was replaced in the second half by Kieran Quirke in an effort to gain parity in this area. Prendiville was at his brilliant best, covering back in defence and helping out in the first half when his side was against the wind and under pressure. Tommy Byrne roamed the field as usual, dominated the aerial duels and his strength, both in defence and in setting up attacks, was a principal reason for this Rangers’ victory. He is one of the most under-rated players in the county and, watching him throughout the campaign, it is amazing how he has not made the county panel.
Laune Rangers’ forward line in the past has not clicked in many games, but on Sunday, when questions were asked, the cream came to the top. Conor Kearney, at centre half-forward fetched the ball with conviction and his strength around the middle kept the Clonakilty centre-back, Eamonn Walsh, back in the halfback line where he could do little damage. Joe Shannon foraged in attack and covered back in the halfback line when Clonakilty went on their up-field forays. Clonakilty played a brand of passing football that often involved 12 or 14 passes, and Shannon was always around to effect a good shoulder or an attempted block-down. Gerard Murphy, who had a quiet enough first half, exploded into action in the second half and his 5-point tally was the inspiration that Laune Rangers needed in that second half. One of his points from a sideline ball was sheer class and last year’s captain lifted his side in the closing stages.
Liam Hassett, the U-21 captain, at full-forward, had a good game coming out the field to gain possession and he scored an invaluable point with his left foot. Paul Griffin, scoring 2 points in the corner, met Clonakilty’s best player in their captain, Brian Murphy, and found it difficult to shake off the Clon man, but he too worked hard for the rest of his team-mates. What can be said about corner-forward Michael Frank Russell, who spent a lot of his time at centre half-forward, that hasn’t been written before? He had another great hour of football, displaying why he is one of the most promising players in the county. He managed to score some lovely points, but it was his all-round play that impressed most, gaining possession, passing the ball off, he was a constant thorn in the side of the Clonakilty men. Then substitute Pa O Sullivan, who was sprung from the bench late on for the tiring Conor Kearney, did the job that was asked of him and set up a point for Gerard Murphy, struck the post with another fine effort and finally got the insurance point in injury time. This was really power-packed Laune Rangers at their best, and they served up a treat of football, which will be long remembered.
Clonakilty opened playing with the strong wind. They won the toss, but they found it hard to get by the strong tackling Laune Rangers’ defence. Padraig Griffin was getting a lot of the ball, and the first-time ball into big full-forward, Terry Dillon, was proving to be very effective. For some reason, Clonakilty failed to do this often enough in the first half, and it was a defect in their play. Laune Rangers’ halfback line at this stage was playing well. Billy O Shea played a starring role at right halfback, and, at midfield, they were a powerhouse. The Cork side were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead by the 12th minute with their scores, especially by Terry Dillon, well taken. By the 16th minute, the sides were on level terms on 4 points apiece. Laune Rangers were satisfied at this stage the way things were going, with John Sheehan having a good game on Padraig Griffin. Rangers were continuing to win the ball at midfield, and cover and support each other very well. In addition, Mike Frank Russell and Joe Shannon were helping out in defence. Clonakilty persisted with the short-passing game, when a longer ball with the breeze to their full-forwards would have proved more effective. Paddy Barrett was attacking from wing-back along with Pat Griffin, but their finish left a lot to be desired.
Just after halftime, Laune Rangers began as if they meant business. After Liam Hassett had two wides, they had two quick points from Russell and Gerard Murphy to close the gap, the score being 0-8 to 0-6 after 3 minutes. When Owen O Mahony put Clonakilty 0-9 to 0-6 in front and Gerard Murphy had a wide in the 7th minute, where would the inspiration come for Laune Rangers? It was Murphy who supplied the information, when he put over a a sideline ball in the 8th minute of the half, and then followed up with another quick point to leave just the minimum between the sides. A long period of pressure from Laune Rangers did not yield a score, while Clonakilty found it difficult to get beyond the halfway line, such was the dominance of Byrne, Prendiville and Sheehan.
Then in the 18th minute, a Mike Frank Russell free brought the sides level at 0-9 apiece, and we were set for a grand-stand finish. In the 22nd minute, it was Gerard Murphy who put Laune Rangers in front after receiving a great ball from Tommy Byrne (0-10 to 0-9), 8 minutes remaining and everything to play for. Liam Hassett then kicked a wide when he should have scored. In the 25th minute, Barry O Donovan, a Clonakilty sub, brought the sides level at 0-10 each, and everything was down to final 5 minutes. This was nerve-wrecking, as Laune Rangers repelled the challenge of Clonakilty. When Russell set up Pa O Sullivan, he saw his effort come back off the post, but, in the 29th minute, Liam Hassett put Laune Rangers in front again after great work down the flanks by Billy O Shea. Then came the magnificent save by Peter Lyons. First of all, two great blocks by Adrian hassett and Mark O Connor saw the ball rebound to Tom Mannix and his low drive was bound for the net, but out came Peter Lyons to turn the ball around the posts for a ’45’. Then Gerard Murphy broke through on goal, and he decided to punch the ball over the bar to give his side a 2-point lead. In the 2nd minute of injury time, Pa O Sullivan ended the scoring for his side with a magnificent point to give Laune Rangers a deserved victory.
Clonakilty showed great character with Brendan Walsh and Barry O Donovan trying their hardest right to the end, while Paddy Barrett, Pat Griffin, Padraig Griffin and Brian Murphy threw everything at Laune Rangers, but this Laune Rangers’ team is a team made of stern stuff. While Gerard Murphy may get all the plaudits for his 5 points, Mike Frank Russell for his skill, flair and industry, Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville for their outstanding fielding and control at midfield, and the defensive unit as a whole for their covering, my man-of-the-match would have to be Billy O Shea, for his first half performance and his continued excellence in the second half that meant he covered every blade of grass in Fitzgerald Stadium. That was the type of dedication and effort that John Evans demanded from his troops. That is what he got from the magnificent men from the Laune, who now go forward to the All-Ireland semi-final against the Ulster Champions in February. They are a side that keep confounding their critics as they raise the level of their game necessary as all true great sides do. Believe me, this Laune Rangers team are something special and the bulk of them would lay the foundation for any future success that Kerry football would hope to have.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), Billy O Shea (0-1), John Sheehan, Pa Murphy, Pierce Prendiville, Tommy Byrne, Joe Shannon, Conor Kearney, Gerard Murphy (0-5), Paul Griffin (0-2), Liam Hassett (0-1), Michael F. Russell (0-3). Subs: Pa O Sullivan (0-1) for C. Kearney, Brian Gannon for P. Griffin, James O Shea, Billy O Sullivan, Pat McKenna, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh. Missing – Mike Hassett (inj.), Shane O Sullivan (inj.).
Clonakilty: John O Reilly, Padraig White, Derek Dillon, Brian Murphy, Paddy Barrett, Eamonn Walsh, Pat Griffin, Billy Crowley, Tom Mannix (0-1), Brendan Walsh (0-1), Padraig Griffin, Michael O Donovan, Kenneth Meade (0-1), Terry Dillon (0-3, 1 free), Owen O Mahony (0-3). Subs: Barry o Donovan for (0-1) for M. O Donovan, Kieran Quirke for B. Walsh.
Ref: Willie O Mahony (Limerick).
Co. Club Football Championship
Rd. 1 on Sat. 14th Sept. at Direen: Legion 3-3; Laune Rangers 3-20.
Laune Rangers played some delightful football. The hunger for the game had seemed to have returned. Admittedly, Legion were very weak opposition. Near the end, a dust-up erupted. Peter Lyons had come out to punch clear a high, dropping ball and he collided with Sean Culloty, who had to be replaced. The referee did not see the challenge as unfair but the Legion players decided to extract their own type of justice. It was the week before the Co. Semi-final and the Rangers’ players had to remain cool. Most of the winners’ scores came from play, as the forwards moved fluently, particularly Michael Russell, Gerard Murphy and Paul Griffin.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Mark O Connor (capt.), Adrian Hassett, John Sheehan, John O Sullivan, Paudie Sheahan, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea, Joe Shannon, Conor Kearney, Gerard Murphy, Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett, Michael F. Russell. Subs: Billy O Shea for G. Murphy, Brian Gannon for J. Shannon, Pat McKenna for L. Hassett, Pa Murphy. Missing – Tommy Byrne (work), Mike Hassett (Dublin), Pa O Sullivan (inj.), Thomas Walsh (inj.).
Ref: Denis Reidy (Ballymac).
Semi-final on Sat. 26th Oct. at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys 2-7; Laune Rangers 0-8.
Laune Rangers had no longer interest in that competition, as by reason of winning the Co. Championship, they were already representing Kerry in the Munster Club Championship. The game was handed over to the ‘B’ team selectors, who chose the team comprising mainly ‘B’ team players and any senior players who had wished to travel. Laune Rangers agreed to play the game in Strand Road.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), Karl Griffin, Thomas Walsh, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona, Liam Foley, Mikey Griffin, Paul Griffin (0-3), Jerry O Brien (0-1), Derry O Sullivan (0-1), Billy O Sullivan (0-3), Joe Healy.
Co. Senior Football League (Div. 1)
Rd. 1 on Sat. 23rd March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 3-14; Austin Stacks 3-8.
The All-Ireland Club Champions were given a great reception from the huge following at the J.P. O Sullivan Park for that game. Austin Stacks’ players and officials formed a guard of honour for the heroes as they came on to the field.
Rangers gave a brilliant first-half display and, despite tiring in the second half and looking in trouble, they rallied in the final minutes to score a vital goal to clinch the game.
Rd. 2 on Sat. 6th April at Beaufort: Beaufort 1-10; Laune Rangers 3-10.
Considering all the celebrations, the Rangers were still able to play good football. That was a keenly and sportingly contested game, played in ideal conditions. Rangers, though assisted by a slight breeze, struggled in the first half. Anthony Breen opened the scoring for the home side. Fergal Spillane scored a goal and some long-range points by Gary McGrath gave them a halftime lead of 1-6 to 1-4. Liam Hassett had scored Rangers’ goal in that half.
Mike Hassett and Conor Kearney were drafted in at halftime and the team went on to dominate the second half. Billy O Shea and Mike F. Russell scored the goals in that period. Peter Lyons was sound in goals. John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor and Tommy Byrne played well in defence. Pierce Prendiville worked hard at midfield, while all the forwards played well. Before the game, the Beaufort Club made a presentation to Laune Rangers Club to mark the occasion of their winning of the All-Ireland Club Championship. The Beaufort players formed a guard of honour as the Laune Rangers players came on to the pitch.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor (capt.), Pa Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea, Billy O Sullivan, Billy O Shea, Gerard Murphy, Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett, Mike F. Russell. Subs: Mike Hassett for P. Murphy, Conor Kearney for J. O Shea, Brian Gannon for P. Griffin, Paudie Sheahan, Joe Shannon, John Doona, Jason Griffin, Thomas Walsh and Pa O Sullivan.
Ref: Denis Reidy (Ballymac).
Rd. 3 on Sat. 27th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-13; Legion 1-6.
Despite missing four of the team that won the All-Ireland Club Championship, Laune Rangers easily defeated Legion in that game. Rangers went into an early four points’ lead with scores by Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett (2) and James O Shea. In the 15th minute, Donal Culloty had Legion’s first score from a free. Liam Hassett and Joe Shannon stretched the home side’s lead to 0-6 to 0-1. Donal Culloty, with another free, made it 0-6 to 0-2. Liam Hassett and John Culloty swapped points to leave the score at halftime 0-7 to 0-3.
From the restart, Legion came back strongly and Cathal O Grady, Sean Culloty and Cathal O Grady, again (from a free) made it 0-7 to 0-6. Paul Griffin stretched Rangers’ lead with a point. Then, in the 14th minute, came the goal. Billy O Shea went right through the Legion defence and he was tumbled in the parallelogram. Billy O Sullivan drove the ensuing penalty kick to the net to make it 1-8 to 0-6. Points were added by Joe Shannon, James O Shea, Paul Griffin and Gerard Murphy. Just on fulltime, Cathal O Grady scored a goal from a 14 yards’ free.
Liam Hassett gave a five-star performance, while Joe Shannon and Adrian Hassett were also very prominent.
Rd. 4 on Mon. 6th May at Waterville: Waterville 2-8; Laune Rangers 2-14.
Laune Rangers fielded without seven of their All-Ireland winning side and still came away with two valuable points from that game. They drafted in a number of young players and they all played very well. John Sheehan was at centre halfback, while Pa O Sullivan scored four points from midfield. Michael F. Russell (2-2) and Brian Gannon (0-4) played in the corner-forward positions. Waterville witnessed at first hand why the Killorglin team had become known as the ‘Power Rangers’.
Rd. 5 on Sun. 12th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-9; Dingle 0-8.
That was a top-of-the-table clash and the home side had to call on all its experience before overcoming a gallant Dingle side. Liam Hassett was outstanding for the winners, especially in the hectic closing stages when he moved to midfield. Rangers led by 0-6 to 0-4 at halftime, with Pat McKenna scoring four points. Murt Moriarty and David Sheehy were the chief scorers as Dingle fought back to equalise with ten minutes remaining. Missed frees proved costly for the westerners before Michael F. Russell scored the winning point for the Rangers to leave them top of the league at the halfway stage.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne, James O Shea, Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon (0-1), Michael F. Russell (0-1), Conor Kearney, Gerard Murphy (0-2), Brian Gannon, Liam Hassett (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-4). Sub: John O Sullivan for B. Gannon.
Rd. 6 on Sun. 26th May at Currow: Currow 1-14; Laune Rangers 1-12.
Currow inflicted the first defeat on the All-Ireland Club Champions with a determined performance. The Currow midfield partnership of Denis Dennehy and Sean O Connor gave a steady supply of ball to their forwards, who played with wind advantage in the first half, and had points by Denis Dennehy and Bernard McEnery in the first five minutes, which settled the team before Gerard Murphy got Laune Rangers first point.
Pa O Sullivan and James O Shea reduced the deficit to one point. It was then, in the second quarter of the first half, that Currow, with points by Alan Murphy, Liam Brosnan, Sean O Connor and Jack Dennehy, showed their forward prowess. Denis Dennehy and Joe Shannon exchanged points before Currow were awarded a penalty for a foot-block. However, Peter Lyons saved Con Dennehy’s shot to leave the halftime scores at 0-9 to 0-4.
At halftime, Laune Rangers introduced John O Sullivan and Mike F. Russell for Paudie Sheahan and Joe Shannon. Early in that half, Paul Griffin hit the crossbar but, with the resulting clearance, the ball ended up in the Rangers’ half and with their defence uncharacteristically drawn out, Alan Murphy went through to score a Currow goal. Conor Kearney and Mike F. Russell exchanged points with Jack Dennehy and Liam Brosnan to leave Currow leading by 1-11 to 0-6 midway through the second half. Conor Kearney, Pa O Sullivan and Pat McKenna, who replaced Paul Griffin, reduced the deficit for Rangers but Currow asserted their control once more with two points from Denis Dennehy and Jack Dennehy. Tommy Byrne scored two points for Laune Rangers before Pa O Sullivan, with two minutes left in the game, lobbed a beautiful ball from 50 yards out over the head of Currow goalkeeper Brendan Moran but it was too late to salvage any points from the game.
Rd. 7 on Sun. 9th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 6-7; Kerins O Rahillys 0-7.
Billy O Shea and Liam Hassett had first-half goals to give Rangers a 2-4 to 0-4 interval lead. Gerard Murphy scored two goals in the second half and Liam Hassett also found the net.
Rd. 8 on Sun. 14th July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-14; Milltown/Castlemaine 2-7.
That was a very entertaining game with lead changing hands on a few occasions. Laune Rangers, though missing seven of the All-Ireland team, finished stronger, coming from behind in the closing minutes to score five points on the trot. Milltown/Castlemaine were also under-strength and played some very good football.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, John Sheehan, Pa Murphy, John O Sullivan (0-1), Tommy Byrne, Mark O Connor (capt.), Pierce Prendiville, John Doona (0-1), Joe Shannon (0-1), James O Shea, Gerard Murphy (0-2), Pa O Sullivan (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-3), Michael F. Russell (1-5). Sub: Billy O Sullivan for J. O Shea. The Kerry players were missing.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Mike Murphy, Jamie Courtney (1-2), Noel Spillane, Mike Quirke, John Giles, Joe Daly, Fionán Kelliher, Mike Dennehy (0-1), Mike Burke, Martin Burke (0-1), Linus Burke, Joe McAuliffe (0-1), Willie Maher (1-1), Alan O Connor (0-1), Jason Giles. Sub: Liam Cronin for M. Dennehy (inj.).
Rd. 9 on Sun. 18th Aug. at Spa: Spa 2-6; Laune Rangers 1-14.
Despite lining out without Billy O Shea, Mike and Liam Hassett, Gerard Murphy and Tommy Byrne, the Rangers, inspired by Mike F. Russell , had too much in reserve for a lowly Spa side that had yet to pick up a single point in the league campaign. In dreadful conditions, Rangers were never stretched and led at halftime by 1-7 to 0-3. A great goal by Mike F. Russell was the highlight of that dour first half. He received the ball from Paul Griffin and powered his shot home from close range.
John Sheehan was injured in the second half and was replaced by Tommy Byrne. Spa rallied bravely in the final quarter. Putting Rangers’ defence under increasing pressure, Spa pulled back a scrappy goal but thereafter were never really in contention. Paul Griffin and Pa Murphy were particularly impressive for the winners.
Rd. 10 on Sat. 31st Aug. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Dr. Crokes 0-15; Laune Rangers 0-11.
In that exciting tussle, Dr. Crokes had too much firepower for the league leaders. Surprisingly, that battle of the giants attracted very few spectators but the stay-aways were the ones to lose out as, after a lack-lustre start, it developed into a thriller.
To be truthful, the first half was a dour struggle and the sides were locked at 0-3 each for much of the opening twenty minutes. Then Rangers’ sharp-shooter, Gerard Murphy, who tormented the Crokes’ defence all evening, knocked over two points in quick succession to add a distinct edge to proceedings. But Crokes kept in touch and points by James Fleming, Mike Cooper and Roland Neher was the perfect response. A Conor Kearney point gave the All-Ireland Club Champions a 0-7 to 0-6 halftime lead.
Crokes were back on terms right after the restart courtesy of a Pat O Shea point. They were harshly awarded a penalty when the same player was deemed to have been fouled in the parallelogram but Peter Lyons saved brilliantly from his opposite number, Peter O Brien. The sides were still locked at 0-10 each going into the final quarter, Gerard Murphy almost single-handedly cancelling out anything Crokes could throw at his side.
But it was after Connie Murphy and Pierce Prendiville had exchanged points in the last quarter that Crokes significantly upped the tempo and, displaying a fluent and effective close-passing game, they pulled clear of Rangers with a string of opportunist points. What beat the Rangers in that last quarter was the fact that their forwards, having conceded possession, did not defend against the Crokes backs and, against the Crokes type of play, that was fatal. It allowed Crokes have the extra man on many occasions and they made Rangers pay the price.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan (0-1), Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, John O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville (0-1), Joe Shannon, James O Shea, Conor Kearney (0-1), Billy O Shea, Paul Griffin (0-2), Pat McKenna (0-1), Gerard Murphy (0-5). Subs: John Doona and Pa Murphy. Missing – Liam Hassett and Mike F. Russell (Co. U-21 team), Mike Hassett and Pa O Sullivan (both injured), Adrian Hassett (holidays).
Ref: Denis Reidy (Ballymac).
Rd. 11 on Sat. 5th Oct. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-12; An Ghaeltacht 2-8.
Laune Rangers squeezed home by the narrowest of margins in that well-contested, sporting game played in greasy conditions in the J.P. O Sullivan Park. They had to call on all their experience against a determined, skilful Gaeltacht side.
Riobard Mac Gearailt opened the visitors’ account with a good point before Liam Hassett was grounded in the ‘square’. Tommy Byrne drove the resultant penalty into the bottom corner. Paul Griffin and Liam Hassett (3) gave the home side a commanding lead. Then J.J. Corduff scored three excellent points in a row. Tommy Byrne responded with a point. Gaeltacht finished the half stronger with a point from Dara Ó Sé and a goal from Máirtín Griffin.
On the resumption, Rangers again forced the issue and had points from Gerard Murphy, Pierce Prendiville and Liam Hassett. Aodán Mac Gearailt and Muiris Ó Sé responded. Further points from Paul Griffin, Michael F. Russell and Joe Shannon seemed to put the game beyond the West-Kerrymen’s reach. Then Riobard Mac Gearailt pointed and, when Máirtín Griffin scored his second goal, the teams were level once more. In an exciting last few minutes, James O Shea scored the winner. A feature of the game was that, with the exception of the penalty, all the scores came from play.
Laune Rangers: Pa Murphy, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Mike Hassett, Tommy Byrne (1-1), Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville (0-1), Conor Kearney, Joe Shannon (0-1), Billy O Shea, Gerard Murphy (0-1), Paul Griffin (0-2), Liam Hassett (0-4), Mike F. Russell (0-1). Subs: James O Shea (0-1) for C. Kearney, Paudie Sheahan for S. O Sullivan, Brian Gannon for G. Murphy.
Ref: Tom McCarthy (Desmonds).
Final on Sun. 15th Dec. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Laune Rangers 2-11; Dr. Crokes 0-10.
The Kerryman reported as follows: “It’s been a long, tough year for Laune Rangers, but they still turned on the style to comprehensively defeat Dr. Crokes in the Lee Strand Kerry Co. Football League Div. 1 Final in excellent conditions at Fitzgerald Stadium. Rangers looked fitter and sharper, while Crokes struggled for much of the hour, especially in the fullback line and in attack. Brian Clarke was about the only Crokes’ player to threaten a rock-solid Rangers’ defence, in which the fullback line of Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan and Mark O Connor performed mightily. Rangers’ forwards, on the other hand, moved with speed and cohesion, looking very dangerous on the quick break and picking off some excellent scores, including two picture goals.
Powerful Tommy Byrne, who had a fine game at midfield for Rangers, opened the scoring with a sixth-minute point and his attackers showed how dangerous they really are, when they slipped the Crokes’ defence for a goal three minutes later. Crokes’ corner-back Brian O Donoghue let a high, incoming ball through his hands, corner-forward Billy O Sullivan darted inside him, calmly controlled the ball on the ground and, without picking it up, he accurately booted it past Crokes’ goalkeeper, Peter O Brien. Crokes then switched Vince Cooper on Billy O Sullivan, who had been too much of a handful for young Martin Beckett.
In the 12th minute, Rangers came very close to getting a second goal but Michael F. Russell, who otherwise had a good game, kicked badly wide. Inspired by Connie Murphy and with Vince Casey trying his heart out, Crokes stepped up a gear in the second quarter. However, the Killarney men failed to make the most of the possession they enjoyed and relied too much on scores from frees. Following a 24th minute point by Connie Murphy, they reduced the margin to two points – the closest they were to get to their opponents – but the in-form Gerard Murphy kicked over a 30th minute point for Rangers, who led at the break by 1-6 to 0-6.
If anything, Rangers played with even more method and confidence in the second period and Paul Griffin kicked over a point in the 32ns minute. Clarke quickly replied with a point from a free, but a superbly executed point for Rangers by Mike Russell, in the 38th minute, said a lot about their positive attitude. He obtained possession around midfield and soloed for about 50m up the left wing, shaking off any defender who dared tackle him. Having got through the defence, he simply punched the ball over the bar. That score had class written all over it and, as well as showing why Russell is regarded as a good future prospect, it also reflected the winning attitude of the Killorglin men.
The lion-hearted Connie Murphy then did what four of the six Crokes’ forwards had failed to do – he scored. In fact, he kicked two points in succession. However, Paul Griffin hit back with a point for Rangers, having combined with Russell and Billy O Sullivan. It was another excellent score – typical of the effective team-work for which Rangers have become renowned. Substitute Brian Gannon tacked on another point for Rangers, putting them in front by 1-11 to 0-8 at the end of the third quarter.
Crokes were now struggling in a big way and, as they tried desperately for a goal, they tended to overdo the short-passing game, only to lose possession all too often when confronted by the stubborn Rangers’ rearguard. Signs of frustration in the Crokes’ players became apparent, with passes going astray and aimless kicking being directed goal-wards. Rangers were not going to be beaten. Crokes’ goal-grabbing penchant deserted them on the day, but Clarke had two further points, leaving the score at 1-11 to 0-10 with two minutes remaining.
Then, as the seconds ticked away, Rangers struck again to clinically pick off their second goal. It came from another defence-splitting move, with Russell skilfully dropping the ball to the feet Gannon, who booted it first-time to the net. It was another good day out for Rangers and their enthusiastic supporters, with victory being fully merited.”
After the game, the Chairman of the Co. Board, Sean Kelly, and the Managing Director of Lee Strand Creameries, Bill Kennedy, presented the trophy to the winning captain, Mark O Connor.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), Billy O Shea, John Sheehan, Pa Murphy, Pierce Prendiville, Tommy Byrne (0-1), Paul Griffin (0-2), Conor Kearney, Michael F. Russell (0-2), Pa O Sullivan (0-1), Gerard Murphy (0-4, 1 free), Billy O Sullivan (1-0). Subs: James O Shea for P. Griffin, Brian Gannon (1-1) for C. Kearney, Pat McKenna for B. O Sullivan, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, John Doona. Missing – Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, Liam Hassett and Joe Shannon (all injured).
Dr. Crokes: Peter O Brien, Martin Beckett, John Galvin, Brian O Donoghue, Vince Cooper, Connie Murphy (0-2), Danny Cooper, Noel O Leary, Vince Casey, Billy Hennigan, Mike Buckley, James Fleming, Pat O Shea (0-1, free), Brian Clarke (0-7, 5 frees), Jonathan Sparling. Subs: Roland Neher for B. Hennigan, Tommy Brosnan for M. Buckley.
Ref: Tommy Sugrue (St. Pat’s, Blennerville).
Co. Club ‘B’ Football Championship (Molyneaux Cup)
Players, who had played in the Co. Senior Football Championship, were ineligible for the ‘B’ Championship.
Rd. 1 on Wed. 7th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ beat Desmonds ‘B’.
The game was scheduled for 7.30pm. However, Desmonds did not arrive until 7.45pm and the referee, Connie O Carroll, Legion, said that he had to go to work and departed. Desmonds agreed to Peter Lyons as referee.
That was a good result for Rangers as Desmonds were always difficult to beat. The backs played well. John F. O Brien was the better of the two midfielders. The forwards combined very well. Peter Lyons awarded two penalties to Desmonds.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Michael Hurley, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Bertie O Riordan, John O Donnell, Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham, John F. O Brien, Liam Foley, Robert Evans, Mikey Griffin, Derry O Sullivan, Joe Healy, Michael Moriarty, Jerry O Brien (capt.). Subs: Brian Gannon for R. Evans, Redmond Fitzgerald, John O Sullivan, Dominic Crowley.
Ref: Peter Lyons (Laune Rangers) – by agreement.
Semi-final on Fri. 6th Sept. at Milltown: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-13; John Mitchels 0-7.
That was a very good performance. The team was in the finals of the championship and the league for the second successive year. Great credit was due to trainer, Ger Counihan and his selectors, Maurice Corkery and Mike O Shea.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Michael Hurley, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Bertie O Riordan, John O Donnell (0-1), Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona (0-3), Liam Foley, Joe Healy (0-1), Robert Evans, Jerry O Brien, Brian Gannon (1-2), Podge Foley (0-3), Jason Griffin (0-3). Subs: John O Sullivan for L. Foley, Tony Lyons for M. Hurley, Joe Kennedy, Eoin O Sullivan, Michael Moriarty, Redmond Fitzgerald, Michael Ahern, Enda Clifford and Dominic Crowley.
Ref: Seanie Foley (Annascaul).
Final on Sat. 28th Sept. in Castleisland: Laune Rangers 2-15; Kerins O Rahillys 2-4.
That game was played in an deluge.
Co. Junior Football League
Rd. 1 on Sat. 6th April at Castleisland: Desmonds ‘B’ 2-9; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-11.
Rangers began well and some good combination between the forwards led to good scores, particularly from Pat McKenna and Jason Griffin. They held their own in the middle of the field, with Thomas Walsh and Karl Griffin performing admirably. The referee awarded Desmonds a dubious penalty for a foot-block, even though the alleged offending Rangers’ player had his back turned to the kicker. Donncha Curran scored a goal before halftime to give his side the lead at the break, 1-7 to 2-1.
Rangers had plenty of chances to win the game in the second half but either took the wrong option or fluffed the opportunities. John F. O Brien, Danny Cahill and Mark Conway defended well. The selectors were very disappointed that John Doona had refused to travel for that game and Fergal O Brien had refused to get out of bed for the game.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Michael Hurley, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Eoin Corkery, Mark Conway, John F. O Brien, Bertie O Riordan, Thomas Walsh, Karl Griffin, Jerry O Brien (0-1), Mikey Griffin, Jason Griffin (0-5), Joe Healy, Pat McKenna (0-5), Donncha Curran (1-0). Subs: Pat O Keeffe for D. Curran, Redmond Fitzgerald for E. Corkery, Timmy Moroney for J. Healy, Adrian O Connor.
Rd. 2 on Sun. 28th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-10; Dr. Crokes’ B’ 0-10.
Rd. 3 on Sat. 4th May at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks ‘B’ 0-10; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-13.
Rd. 4 on Sat. 8th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ Gaeltacht ‘B’.
Rd. 5 on Sat. 13th July at Tralee: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-8; John Mitchels ‘B’ 1-6.
Rd. 6 on Sun. 18th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’.
Rd. 7 on on Sun. 1st Sept. at Beaufort: Beaufort ‘B’ 0-2; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-10.
Podge Foley played his first game with the ‘B’ team and scored 3 points. That result put Rangers into the League Final.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, John O Donnell, Redmond Fitzgerald, Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona, Liam Foley, Jason Griffin, Podge Foley, Derry O Sullivan, Joe Healy, Alan O Sullivan, Michael Ahern. Subs: Gerard Purcell for M. Ahern, Jerry O Brien for P. Foley, John F. O Brien for A. O Sullivan, Dominic Crowley.
Final on Sat. 23rd Nov. at Currow: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-11; Gneeveguilla ‘B’ 0-5.
Brian Carroll reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Perhaps a 15-point win exaggerated the difference between the sides, but there was no doubting the ease with which Laune Rangers swept to victory over Gneeveguilla at Currow GAA Grounds on Saturday to add the Junior Football League to the club’s seemingly endless silverware sweep.
On a bitterly cold afternoon, the Killorglin side won out a tough, physical game of old-style Gaelic football where high-fielding and heavy shoulders dominated the hour. Laune Rangers’ leaner, fitter and more skilful side, wore down Gneeveguilla’s dogged, physical resistance before cruising to victory with an awesome late tally of scores.
Played on heavy ground, in sometimes torrential rain, this was, as the cliché goes, not a game for the faint-hearted. Third-man tackles seemed the order of the day for much of the afternoon, while on-the-ball incidents were fiercely contested. Neither side could claim total innocence in the fouling stakes at the end of the match and, thankfully, the game passed off without the heated exchanges boiling over into something more sinister.
It was clear from the outset, however, that there was no love lost between these sides, especially when, four minutes into the game, a fired-up Gneeveguilla team shot themselves into a deserved opening lead with a pointed 21 yards free from Tadhg O Connor. He added another four minutes later to give Gneeveguilla a two-point advantage for the first and only time in the match. However, by the time Laune Rangers drew level on 13 minutes, thanks to points from Mikey Griffin and John F. O Brien, it was clear they could win this encounter with ease. They were winning everything in midfield and in O Brien, wearing the number 22 jersey, they had a certain match-winner. As well as lording the middle of the park, O Brien instigated attack after attack for the Killorglin men in what was a medal-deserving performance, without a shadow of a doubt. He set up Mikey Griffin for Laune Rangers first score and then took the second point himself with a soaring 40-yarder through the posts – beautiful, even in the wind and rain. That score had come via assistance from O Brien’s team-mates John O Donnell, Jerry O Brien and Pat McKenna.
While Laune Rangers were capable of this considered progress up the field, Gneeveguilla’s passing was more of the hit-and-hope variety. And this was the all-important difference between the sides. It was John O Brien’s high ball into the square, which led to the first goal of the game. Padraig Kelliher, in the Gneeveguilla goal, couldn’t handle the dropping ball cleanly and it spilled into the path of the advancing Joe Healy, who forced it home for a goal to give Laune Rangers a three-point lead. O Brien scored another point and had a hand in Laune Rangers’ next two points, the first, a beauty from Pat McKenna and the second, a knock-over from Eddie Birmingham. Gneeveguilla replied with a point from their hard-working full-forward, Christy Crowley but, five points down at halftime, the writing was on the wall for the East-Kerry side.
Although Laune Rangers stretched their lead to six points with a score from Joe Healy in the fourth minute of the second half, there was some life in Gneeveguilla yet and points from Peadar O Callaghan and Michael Brosnan drew the lead back to four points on 38 minutes. But any false Gneeveguilla hope was exposed as the Laune Rangers’ blitz began. John O Brien led the charge with another point in the 40th minute and, by the 58th minute, the Killorglin men had scored another 2-4 without reply. The points came from Pat McKenna, Jerry O Brien, John O Donnell and Joe Healy, while Mikey Griffin added two goals, one from a penalty.”
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, John O Donnell (0-1), Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham (0-1), John F. O Brien (0-3), John Doona, Robert Evans, Pat McKenna (0-2), Liam Foley, Joe Healy (1-2), Mikey Griffin (2-1), Jerry O Brien (capt.) 0-1. Sub: John Griffin for L. Foley, Michael Lynch.
Co. Club ‘C’ Football Championship (Barrett Cup)
Players, who had played in the Co. Club ‘B’ Football Championship, were ineligible in the ‘C’ Championship. The initial stages of that competition were played on a league basis. Laune Rangers ‘C’ were grouped with St. Mary’s ‘B’, Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ and Beaufort ‘B’. The top two teams qualified for the semi-finals.
Rd. 1 on Fri. 9th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 4-6; St. Mary’s ‘B’ 0-8.
Laune Rangers ‘C’: Michael Ahern, Paul O Brien, John O Sullivan, John Moriarty (Laharn), Redmond Fitzgerald, Thomas Walsh, Pat Leahy, Pat O Keeffe, Eamonn Foley, Eoin O Sullivan, Joe Kennedy, Fiachra O Donoghue, Michael Lynch, Alan O Sullivan, Donncha Curran. Subs: Adrian O Connor for D. Curran, John Paul Masson for P. O Brien, Dominic Crowley.
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Rd. 2 on Fri. 16th Aug.at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ Laune Rangers C.
Rd. 3 on Sun. 25th Aug at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ beat Beaufort ‘B’.
Eamonn Foley was sent off and subsequently received a two weeks’ suspension.
Play-off on Fri. 30th Aug. at Glenbeigh: St. Mary’s ‘B’ 0-13; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-4.
Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, John O Sullivan, Enda Clifford, Pat Leahy, Redmond Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, Pat O Keeffe, Thomas Walsh, Michael Lynch, Jason Griffin, Donncha Curran, Eoin o Sullivan, Sean Moriarty, Michael Moriarty. Subs: Fiachra O Donoghue for S. Moriarty, Ian Rodgers for M. Moriarty, Michael Ahern, Adrian (Alfie) O Connor, Dominic Crowley.
Co. Urban Football League
Rd. 1 on Fri. 3rd May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-9; Legion ‘B’ 2-8.
Rd. 2 on Fri. 10th May at Cahersiveen: St. Mary’s ‘B’ 3-7; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-10.
Rd. 3 on Fri. 17th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-13; Austin Stacks ‘C’ 1-3.
Rd. 4 on Fri. 24th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 1-13; Rathmore ‘B’ 1-10.
Rd. 5 on Fri. 31st May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 6-8; Lispole ‘B’ 2-5.
Rd. 6 on Fri. 7th June at Currow: Currow ‘B’ 1-8; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-11.
Rangers led at halftime by 2-5 to 1-2. Pat O Keeffe, who had come on as a substitute, was sent off near the end of the game for ‘mouthing’.
Laune Rangers ‘C’: Michael Hurley, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, John O Donnell (0-1), Eddie Birmingham, Ian Rodgers, Karl Griffin, Kevin Jones (0-6), Derry O Sullivan (2-0), Michael Moriarty, Joe Healy, Eoin O Sullivan (0-2), Alan O Sullivan (0-1), Donncha Curran. Subs: Joe Kennedy (1-0) for D. Curran, Pat O Keeffe (0-1) for I. Rodgers.
Rd. 7 on Fri. 14th June at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys ‘C’ 1-9; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-7.
Rd. 8 on Fri. 21st June at Firies: Firies ‘B’ Laune Rangers ‘C’.
Rd. 9 on Fri. 12th July at Annascaul: Annascaul ‘B’ 2-7; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 1-8.
Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship
Semi-final on Sat. 9th Nov. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 0-10; Beaufort 1-7.
A point from midfielder Gary McGrath, two minutes from fulltime, completed a dramatic Beaufort comeback and earned them a deserved replay in that Ross Inn sponsored Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship semi-final.
How Laune Rangers had managed to let Beaufort back into the game must have surely been a mystery to even themselves, as, for nearly three-quarters of the game, Beaufort looked dead and buried and, at one stage, trailed by seven points.
In a rather poor first half, the accuracy of the Rangers’ attack gave them a commanding lead. Billy O Shea opened their scoring in the 2nd minute and further points from Conor Kearney (2), Pat McKenna (2) and one each from Paul Griffin and Gerard Murphy gave them a comfortable halftime lead of 0-7 to 0-2, Beaufort’s points coming from Cormac O Shea and Eanna O Malley.
Two points after the break from Gerard Murphy further stretched their lead and, at that stage, Rangers looked like coasting to victory, leading by 0-9 to 0-2 after forty minutes of play. However, from there on, things started to go wrong for the reigning champions. Full-forward Vincent O Donoghue started the Beaufort revival when he rounded Paudie Sheahan to crash the ball to the net past the helpless Peter Lyons for the only goal of the game. Eanna O Malley quickly added a point before the dismissal of Gerard Murphy in the 45th minute for a second bookable offence put Rangers under severe pressure. Centre halfback Tommy Byrne temporarily lifted the siege when, in the 48th minute, he raced up-field for his side’s only other score of the half.
However, Beaufort rallied and, with O Shea and McGrath getting the upper hand at midfield, they edged closer with points from Mike Falvey, Eanna O Malley, Cormac O Shea and Gary McGrath, to leave just one point between the sides with five minutes left. Then up stepped Gary McGrath with the equaliser and, indeed, right on fulltime, he had a glorious chance to give victory to Beaufort but his 35m free curled to the left and wide.
Rangers clearly missed the influential Mike and Liam Hassett (inj.), Mike F. Russell (Kerry), Shane O Sullivan (inj.) and Billy O Sullivan (holidays). Their best on the day were Mark O Connor, Tommy Byrne, James O Shea, Paul Griffin and Conor Kearney.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne (0-1), Pa Murphy, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea, Joe Shannon, Conor Kearney (0-2), Gerard Murphy (0-3), Paul Griffin (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-2), Billy O Shea (0-1). Subs: Pa O Sullivan for J. Shannon, Brian Gannon for P. McKenna.
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Semi-final replay on Sun. 8th Dec. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-11; Beaufort 0-6.
Unstoppable Laune Rangers put themselves in line for another piece of silverware when they easily defeated Beaufort in the replayed semi-final, played in heavy conditions in the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Killorglin, before a fine attendance. Credit brave Beaufort for their first-half efforts – staying with the All-Ireland Club Champions, thanks to the free-taking skills of Eanna O Malley. Rangers were denied a goal in that first half – Gerard Murphy’s shot hitting the crossbar – but three stylish points from Michael F. Russell from play and one from a free helped to give them a 0-6 to 0-4 lead at the interval.
A change of tempo by the Killorglin men in the second half left no one in doubt as to who was in charge of the contest. Two goals gave the Rangers the perfect start – the in-form Gerard Murphy hitting the back of the net twice as John Evans’ men lifted their game. The dominance of Pierce Prendiville and Tommy Byrne at midfield laid the foundation for Rangers’ second half superiority – Tommy Byrne stealing forward to score two points. With Brian Gannon and Pa O Sullivan adding their names to the score-sheet, Rangers began to expose the difference in class between the two sides.
Final on Sun. 22nd Dec. at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 3-10; Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-8.
Brian Carroll reported in the Kerryman as follows: “All-Ireland Club Champions Laune Rangers retained their Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship title with plenty in reserve against a gallant but inferior Glenbeigh/Glencar side at Beaufort’s grounds. Glenbeigh’s fans urged their side on with the banner ‘Go on. Go on. Go on, Glenbeigh, says Mrs. Doyle,’ but even Father Ted himself could not have summoned the miracle Glenbeigh needed to overcome a vastly superior Laune Rangers side.
The Killorglin men went in six points clear at halftime and, with a bit more accuracy in their finishing, the margin could have been twice that. The game looked all over bar the shouting and it seemed as if only Dougal, the dim priest of Father Ted fame, would have ventured that Glenbeigh still had a chance in this game. Yet, as the teams emerged for the second half – Laune Rangers without Billy O Shea, who seemed to have a recurrence of his old shoulder injury – Glenbeigh turned in a stirring opener, eventually pegging Rangers back to a three-point lead.
After the opening ten minutes characterised by wasteful finishing on both sides, Laune Rangers eventually opened the scoring in the 11th minute, courtesy of a free from Michael F. Russell. It was his opening contribution to the match, which reinforced Russell’s reputation as a force for the future in Kerry football. Liam Hassett added another two minutes later before Billy O Sullivan, on as a substitute for Conor Kearney who retired with a suspected broken nose, added a superb score for Rangers on 15 minutes. By the time Michael F. Russell, now operating at centre-forward, made it four points to no score in the 16th minute, the Glenbeigh ladies were beginning to realise that it wasn’t their day. ‘Go on. Go on. Go on, Glenbeigh,’ they shouted and laughed.
But at the end of the day it is Laune Rangers who seem to go endlessly on and on to new heights. Another Russell free put five points between the sides, before the inspirational Billy O Shea hit Glenbeigh for six with a simply superb strike after 22 minutes. Tearing up the right wing, like a dog after a cat, O Shea was spotted by Tommy Byrne who fed him a perfectly-timed hand-pass with the natural ease of a Welsh rugby scrum-half. O Shea accepted his parcel and flew on past his man, striking over a beautiful score from 30 yards, without breaking stride.
Glenbeigh briefly intervened with a pointed 40-yard free from Kieran O Sullivan but Laune Rangers ended the half with some champagne football. Tommy Byrne won possession in midfield and fed Pa O Sullivan in space. He advanced on goal, hand-passed to Michael F. Russell and ran for the return. Russell palmed the ball back to him like a volleyball player and O Sullivan blasted the ball off the crossbar and into the net. Laune Rangers eight points up before the famous Mrs. Doyle could even make the halftime sandwiches!
Billy O Shea added another point after again getting into space, before Glenbeigh’s Kevin O Shea gave his side some fleeting hope with a well-struck goal on the stroke of halftime. A quickly-taken free put the Rangers’ defence on the back foot, the ball eventually breaking free across the 14-yard line to Kevin O Shea who struck it first-time and low into the corner of the net. (Halftime score – 1-7 to 1-1).
Glenbeigh began the second half strongly, two well-taken points from Kevin Murphy and Patie Griffin narrowing the deficit to four points. Unfortunately, for Glenbeigh/Glencar, they were hit with a sucker punch moments later as a 40-yard free-kick from Michael F. Russell was deflected into the Glenbeigh net by one of their defenders.
Other sides would have lied down, but Glenbeigh showed considerable character. Patie Griffin knocked over a point and then keeper, Pat Healy, expertly dispatched a penalty in the 40th minute. Russell sent over another free for the champions but Sean Barton responded immediately for the challengers to keep them within three points.
But as Glenbeigh hearts rose, Michael F. Russell broke their hearts with three minutes of magic. He followed up a superb point from play in the 17th minute with an even better goal minutes later. Finishing a three-man move that began with Tommy Byrne in midfield, Russell sweetly passed the ball off his right boot and into the corner of the net from 15 yards. Game over! Gerard Murphy added another for Laune Rangers, while two points from Glenbeigh’s Sean Barton and Kieran O Sullivan put a respectable gloss on what was in truth a comfortable win for the champions.”
After the game, Michael Cahill, the Ross Inn, Glenbeigh presented the O Connor Cup to the winning captain, Mark O Connor. Gerry Horgan, the Inn Between Bar, Beaufort, presented the man-of-the-match award to Michael F. Russell.
For two weeks prior to the final, Jerome Conway and Tommy Woods tried in vain to get the Mid-Kerry Board Chairman, Kevin Griffin, Glenbeigh, to abide by the Board’s bye-law and appoint a referee from outside the area, when one club (Laune Rangers) requested it. He insisted that he didn’t care about bye-laws and he would appoint the referee and, if Laune Rangers didn’t play, he would present the cup to Glenbeigh. The Laune Rangers’ Chairman assured him that he wouldn’t be in a position to do that, as Laune Rangers had the cup. However, on reflection, Laune Rangers came to the decision that they would receive very little public support for their argument, though they had right on their side, as they were the All-Ireland Club Champions and Glenbeigh played in Division 4 of the Co. League. As it turned out, the appointed referee was very poor. Morgan Sheahan blatantly punched Conor Kearney in the face after about ten minutes, breaking his nose and was not even penalised. (Conor Kearney had to be replaced but he begged for an opportunity to exact revenge but he had to be denied.). Glenbeigh were awarded a penalty for no apparent reason by the referee in the second half. The ball dropped into the Rangers’ square and one of the backs fielded it. There was no Glenbeigh player within yards of him and, as he was about to clear the ball, the referee blew for a penalty. Neither the Laune Rangers nor the Glenbeigh players or officials knew the reason. When he was asked for a reason that night in Killorglin, he just laughed the matter off as if it was of no consequence.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, Billy O Shea (0-2), Pa Murphy, John Sheehan, Pierce Prendiville, Tommy Byrne, Gerard Murphy (0-1), Conor Kearney, Joe Shannon, Pa O Sullivan (1-0), Liam Hassett (0-1), Michael F. Russell (2-5). Subs: Billy O Sullivan (0-1) for C. Kearney (inj.), Pat McKenna for G. Murphy, James O Shea for B. O Shea, Brian Gannon, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, Karl Griffin and John Doona. Missing – Mike Hassett (inj.), Shane O Sullivan (inj.) and Paul Griffin (working).
Glenbeigh/Glencar: Pat Healy (1-0, pen.), Eugene Courtney, Morgan Sheahan, John Joe Quirke, Gary O Sullivan, Patrick O Grady, Pa Murphy, Gerard O Connor, Aidan Roche, Kieran O Sullivan (0-2), Michael O Mahony, Kevin Murphy (0-1), Sean Barton (0-3), Patie Griffin (0-2), Kevin O Shea (1-0). Subs: Patrick Clifford for A. Roche, Dominic Lynch for K. Murphy, Denis Sheahan for M. Sheahan.
Ref: John Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).
Mid-Kerry Senior Football League
It had been decided at the Mid-Kerry Board Convention that there would be a change in the format of the league for 1996. The teams were divided into two groups. Laune Rangers were grouped with Milltown/Castlemaine and Beaufort and the winners of the group went into the final, while the runners-up played the winners of the other group in the semi-final.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 25th Feb. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-15; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-5.
The accuracy of the Rangers’ forwards, especially wing-forward Billy O Sullivan, allied to their overall fitness, were the main reasons this Killorglin side won this Bunkers Mid-Kerry League game, played in heavy underfoot conditions in the J.P. O Sullivan Park.
In a rather lack-lustre first half, Rangers got off to a tonic start when Billy O Sullivan scored Rangers’ first goal after three minutes of play. Shane O Sullivan and Seamus Burke swapped points before Rangers got their second goal after 13 minutes, through James O Shea. Paul Griffin, Billy O Sullivan and Conor Kearney added further points for Rangers, while Seamus Burke and Liam Kelliher replied for Milltown/Castlemaine to leave the score at halftime 2-4 to 0-3.
On the restart, the losers opened briskly and a goal and a point from Liam Kelliher and Martin Burke cut the deficit to three points inside the first five minutes. However, after that, Rangers again settled their game and began picking off scores with consummate ease. They easily penetrated the tiring visiting defence and points from Billy O Sullivan (3), Paul Griffin (2), Liam Hassett (2), James O Shea (2) and one each from substitute Brian Gannon and Pat McKenna saw them stretch their lead and run out easy winners. They were best served by Shane O Sullivan, John Doona, Conor Kearney, Paul Griffin and Billy O Sullivan.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, John O Sullivan, Pa Murphy, Joe Shannon, Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Pierce Prendiville, John Doona, Billy O Sullivan (1-4), Conor Kearney (0-1), James O Shea (1-2), Paul Griffin (0-3), Liam Hassett (0-2), Pat McKenna (0-1). Subs: Brian Gannon (0-1), Jason Griffin.
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Rd. 2 on Sun. 6th April at Beaufort: Beaufort 1-10; Laune Rangers 3-10.
That game doubled as Rd. 3 of the Co. League Div. 1.
Final on Sun. 23rd June at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine 2-7; Laune Rangers 3-11.
Three second-half goals, two resulting from atrocious defensive errors and the third just before full-time, gave Laune Rangers a somewhat flattering seven-points winning margin in that highly entertaining Bunkers Mid-Kerry League final, played in ideal conditions in the Paddy Burke Memorial Park, Milltown.
Rangers were made to work hard for that victory and, but for the opportunism and alertness of Liam Hassett at one end and the introduction of Mike Hassett at the other end, the outcome could have well been different.
Milltown/Castlemaine were first to register on the score-board, when Joe McAuliffe pointed after one minute of play. Joe Shannon, Gerard Murphy and Paul Griffin had points for Rangers before the losers scored again – a point by Willie Maher in the 8th minute. Joe Shannon, Shane O Sullivan and Billy O Sullivan then had points to open up a four-points’ lead for the Killorglin side. In the 19th minute, Milltown/Castlemaine got a real tonic when full-forward Alan O Connor scored a goal. Rangers’ goalkeeper, Peter Lyons managed to save but, in the ensuing goal-mouth scramble, O Connor hammered the ball to the net to leave just one point between the sides. Paul Griffin stretched the lead to two points before Gerard Murphy and Ian Twiss exchanged points from frees to leave the halftime score at 0-8 to 1-3.
The reigning All-Ireland Club Champions were not without their goaling opportunities in the first half. Billy O Sullivan hit the upright when put through by Paul Griffin and in the 18th minute the same player was presented with another gilt-edged chance, but he was denied by a tremendous block by corner-back Jamie Courtney. Pa O Sullivan also missed a good opportunity in the 15th minute.
On resumption, Rangers introduced Mike Frank Russell and Liam Hassett for Pa and Billy O Sullivan, but it was Milltown/Castlemaine that opened best and Alan O Connor beat Peter Lyons only to see Adrian Hassett clear off the line. Ian Twiss reduced the deficit to the bare minimum before Rangers struck for their first goal in the 34th minute. There seemed to be no danger when a high ball was played in from midfield but fullback, Joe Daly, left the ball through his hands and Liam Hassett was on hand to crash it to the net, giving Mike Murphy no chance. That rocked the home side but, to their credit, they refused to give in. Joe McAuliffe and Ian Twiss pointed for them and then, after Conor Kearney had put over a point for Rangers, they came right back into the game.
A fine forward movement found Willie Maher in space and his accurate pass put Alan O Connor through for his second goal of the game. Suddenly, the sides were level. Rangers immediately substituted fullback Paudie Sheahan and placed Mike Hassett on the rampant O Connor. Liam Hassett and Joe McAuliffe exchanged frees to leave the scores level again entering the last ten minutes. In the 51st minute, however, the game took a decisive turn in favour of Rangers. Joe Daly seemed well in control of the situation but he lost possession. Liam Hassett grabbed the loose ball, transferred it to Paul Griffin and he made no mistake from the edge of the small square. It was a killer-blow for the men in green and they never recovered. James O Shea added a point for Rangers with four minutes left and then, with less that two minutes left, Liam Hassett grabbed his second goal to put the issue well beyond doubt.
On the day, Rangers were best served by Shane O Sullivan, Joe Shannon, Gerard Murphy, Paul Griffin and the two Hassetts, Liam and Mike. Afterwards, Mid-Kerry Board Chairman, Kevin Griffin, presented the trophy to the winning captain, Mark O Connor.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), James O Shea (0-1), Pa Murphy, Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Pa O Sullivan, Conor Kearney (0-1), Joe Shannon (0-2), Paul Griffin (1-2), Gerard Murphy (0-2), Billy O Sullivan (0-1). Subs: Liam Hassett (2-1) for B. O Sullivan, Mike F. Russell for P. O Sullivan, Mike Hassett for P. Sheahan, John O Sullivan, Fergal O Brien.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Mike Murphy, Jamie Courtney, Joe Daly, Mike Quirke, Fionán Kelliher, Linus Burke, Noel Spillane, Mike Burke, Mike Dennehy, Martin Burke, Liam Kelliher, Joe McAuliffe (0-3, frees), Willie Maher (0-1), Alan O Connor (2-0), Ian twiss (0-3, frees). Sub: William Harmon for J. McAuliffe.
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Mid-Kerry ‘B’ Football Championship
Rd. 1 on Tues. 7th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-10; Keel ‘B’ 2-0.
Rd. 2 on Tues. 14th May at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ 0-4; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 6-11.
Rd. 3 on Tues. 11th June at Cromane: Cromane ‘B’ 0-7; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-14.
Rd. 4 on Tues. 28th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-8; Beaufort ‘B’ 2-6.
Rd. 5 on Tues. 4th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-12; Glenbeigh/Glencar ‘B’ 0-5.
Final on Sun. 23rd June at Milltown: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-14; Beaufort ‘B’ 0-8.
A goal two minutes before halftime from corner-forward Derry O Sullivan set Laune Rangers on their way to recapturing the Mid-Kerry ‘B’ Championship in fine style in the curtain-raiser to the Mid-Kerry Senior League Final at Milltown. Up to then the sides had been evenly matched. John F. O Brien (2), Joe Healy and Michael Moriarty had points on the board before Beaufort registered their first score, a point from former Laune Rangers’ player, Michael ‘Dicey’ O Reilly, in the 14th minute. After that, Beaufort rallied and Aidan Cremin had two excellent goaling opportunities only to squander both.
Michael Moriarty (Laune Rangers) and Mike Kelliher (Beaufort) exchanged points before Anthony Breen and Dicey O Reilly pointed to bring Beaufort within a point of Rangers. However, the Kilorglin side finished the half the stronger. John F. O Brien put over a point in the 27th minute and Derry O Sullivan followed a minute later with the game’s first goal. That gave Rangers a six points’ interval lead, 1-6 to 0-4.
On the resumption, Rangers maintained the pressure and, with the midfield partnership of Liam Foley and John F. O Brien dominating, they picked off point after point. In the 41st minute, corner-forward Joe Healy effectively finished the game as a contest when he scored Rangers’ second goal to give his side a lead of 2-11 to 0-4. Beaufort did manage four more points from Breen, O Reilly (2) and Diarmuid Falvey but Rangers had the final say when Liam Foley, Joe Healy and Derry O Sullivan added late points.
After the game, the trophy was presented to the winning captain, Jerry O Brien, while the man-of-the-match award went to Joe Hayes.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Michael Hurley, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Bertie O Riordan, Anthony O Sullivan, Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham, Liam Foley (0-1), John F. O Brien (0-5), Robert Evans (0-1), Mikey Griffin, Jerry O Brien (capt.) 0-1, Joe Healy (1-2), Michael Moriarty (0-3), Derry O Sullivan (1-1). Subs: Thomas Walsh for K. Griffin (inj.), Donncha Curran, Adrian O Connor, Joe Kennedy, Alan O Sullivan, Redmond Fitzgerald, Pat O Keeffe, John O Donnell and Dominic Crowley.
Beaufort ‘B’: Sean Brosnan, Anthony Foley, Kieran Coffey, Ray Breen, Donal Coffey, Randall Joy, Mike O Sullivan, Anthony Breen (0-2), Mike Curran, David Doyle, Mike Kelliher (0-1), Mike Kissane, Aidan Cremin, Michael ‘Dicey’ O Reilly (0-4), Diarmuid Falvey (0-1).
Ref: John Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).
Senior Football Challenge Game
Sun. 21st Jan. at Ballybunion: UCC beat Laune Rangers.
Sun. 28th Jan. at Ballybunion: UL beat Laune Rangers.
Sun. 4th Feb. at Ballybunion: Kerry beat Laune Rangers.
Sun. 5th/Mon. 6th May at Galway: Salthill 1-5; Laune Rangers 0-17.
Laune Rangers combined the short and direct game to great effect. Their ability to score from play was a joy to behold, whilst Salthill over-utilised the short game and were often smothered in possession. At halftime, the score stood at Laune Rangers 0-7, Salthill 1-1.
Conor McGauran then got the first score of the second half. But home aspirations for a revival were summarily dashed with seven sparkling Rangers’ points from play. The Rangers’ defence and midfield afforded them quality possession with forwards Gerard Murphy and Pat McKenna, in particular, punishing the Salthill defence. The Rangers possessed too many aces with Billy O Shea, Tommy Byrne, Conor Kearney, Mike Hassett and midfielders Pierce Prendiville and James O Shea the axis on which the result was fashioned. Only three of the Killorglin men’s scores came from frees.
Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John O Sullivan, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, Mike Hassett (0-2), Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea, Joe Shannon, Conor Kearney (0-1), Gerard Murphy (0-7), Pat McKenna (0-6), John Evans, Billy O Shea (0-1).
Co. U-21 Football Championship
Trainer/Coach/Selector – James Sheehan. Selectors – Noel O Mahony, Jerry Coffey and Maurice Corkery.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 3rd March at Direen: Legion 0-3; Laune Rangers 2-12.
Laune Rangers, though missing star forward Liam Hassett, proved far too powerful for an under-strength Legion team in the one-sided first round game. Rangers inflicted a 15-points’ hammering on Legion who simply had no antidote for the Killorglin firepower and the final score-line told the true story. A 15th minute goal and two pointed frees from the boot of rising star Mike F. Russell and two points from Fiachra O Donoghue gave Rangers a commanding early lead, while Pa O Sullivan, Brian Gannon, Alan O Sullivan and Jerry O Brien added to Legion’s heartbreak with an exhibition of point-taking. John Cronin and Kieran Fogarty knocked over points for Legion in the first half to leave the halftime score 1-6 to 0-3.
However, Rangers went on to totally dominate after the restart. By the time Alan O Sullivan had added the Launesiders’ second goal, the game was well and truly over as a competitive affair. Fergal O Brien was sound in goals. Mark Conway, John Sheehan and Eoin O Connell excelled in the fullback line. Thomas Walsh led by example from the centre halfback position. Johnny Lynch fielded brilliantly at midfield and teamed up well with Pa O Sullivan to ensure a good supply of ball to the forwards. They, in turn, responded well with Mike F. Russell, Brian Gannon, Fiachra O Donoghue and Jerry O Brien getting some great scores.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Brien, Mark Conway, John Sheehan, Eoin O Connell, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, Redmond Fitzgerald, Johnny Lynch, Pa O Sullivan, Jerry O Brien, Mike F. Russell, Alan O Sullivan, Brian Gannon, Eamonn Foley, Fiachra O Donoghue. Subs: Pat Leahy for R. Fitzgerald, Joe Hayes for J. O Sullivan, Donncha Curran for P. O Sullivan, Ronan Curtayne, Michael Ahern.
Ref: Denis Reidy (Ballymac).
The following article appeared in the Kerryman on Fri. 20th December: “The Joint-Treasurer of the Laune Rangers Club, James Coffey, is also quite bemused with the manner in which the U-21 Championship is played off. Laune Rangers, the defending champions, are faced with an even bigger dilemma than any of the other surviving teams. Because of the fact that Rangers are involved in the Mid-Kerry final against Glenbeigh at Beaufort on Sunday (22nd Dec.), they cannot play their U-21 quarter-final game against East-Kerry until St. Stephen’s Day. However, were Rangers to win that game, then they would have to play the semi-final on the following day, Friday, and, should they reach the final, they would have to play it on the Sunday, 29th Dec., two days later.
‘We played our first match in the U-21 Championship against Legion back in March,’ said James Coffey, who is also Joint-Treasurer of the Co. Board. ‘With the way things went in the Co. League, I can’t understand why the U-21’s was not played in the summer months. I know you’ll have fellows working and going away to England. We were one of the busiest clubs and we had to fulfil our own fixtures.’
Mr. Coffey said that dual players can cause a lot of problems. They have seven of their U-21 players on the senior team as well. ‘But that wouldn’t stop you playing your U-21 games during the year. It shouldn’t have affected the club. It’s affecting them more now than in the period March to June. We don’t get any explanations for it. The Chairman of the club told me we were to play our next game against East-Kerry on St. Stephen’s Day. Then if we won, we would have to play the semi-finals the following day and the final on the Sunday, if we get to it. Who is codding whom in this day of our Lord! I couldn’t understand that from anybody. You are better off not running the competition at all, than running it that way.’
He said that Mid-Kerry was complaining that his club might be holding things up. If they were, he couldn’t see why the competition could not be played earlier. ‘It’s coming to the stage that they will have to start playing midweek. It would take a genius to find out what’s behind it all.’
Could Laune Rangers play all three U-21 matches, were it to come to pass? ‘I certainly couldn’t see them doing it,’ said James Coffey. ‘They want some bit of time. I think at this stage, the Co. Board would be better of scrapping the county championship. The only thing is that it would provide you with a captain for next year’s Kerry U-21 team.’
Co. Board PRO, Eamonn O Sullivan, said the U-21 Championship had always provided difficulties due to the involvement of players from senior right down to U-16 grade. He said the situation was further affected by the involvement of divisional teams and there were also the demands from schools and universities.
Quite obviously, the Co. Board will have to review the future of the Co. U-21 Championship. For a premier underage competition, it deserves far better treatment than it has been accorded.”
Quarter-final on Thurs 26th Dec. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-10; East-Kerry 2-6.
There was plenty of excitement in that game, which was played on St. Stephen’s Day in Killorglin and, in fairness to East-Kerry, a draw would have been a fair result. They got off to a good start when Eamonn Spillane, Stephen Flynn and Michael D. Cahill sent over three opening points in quick succession. After Michael F. Russell and Fiachra O Donoghue had reduced the lead to a point, Eamonn Spillane found the net for East-Kerry from close range. Rangers fought back to lead at the break by 0-7 to 1-3.
On the resumption, Eamonn Spillane tied the scoring with a point. Five minutes later, a good Rangers’ move, initiated by the ever-industrious Mike Russell, saw Eamonn Foley drive the ball to the net. Russell and Jerry Murphy exchanged points. Then Eamonn Spillane scored his second goal, having been plied by Murphy, and the sides were level once more. With excitement mounting and a draw very much on the cards, East-Kerry were forced to concede a free and Mike Russell converted for the lead. The visitors launched a final attack, a 45 resulted but that was driven narrowly wide and the home side prevailed.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, John Sheehan, Eoin O Connell, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, Jerry O Brien, Johnny Lynch, Pa O Sullivan (0-2), Brian Gannon, Michael F. Russell (0-4), Eamonn Foley (1-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-2), Alan O Sullivan. Subs: Garrath Sheehan for A. O Sullivan (inj.), Donncha Curran, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, Redmond Fitzgerald.
East-Kerry: Kenneth O Keeffe (Rathmore), Michael O Sullivan (Firies), Michael McCarthy (Kilcummin), Hughie O Keeffe (Rathmore), Derry O Leary (Kilcummin) capt., Michael O Connor (do.), Tom O Sullivan (Rathmore), John McKenna (Fossa), Jerry Murphy (Rathmore) 0-2, John Joe Murphy (do), Owen Long (Fossa), Stephen Flynn (Firies) 0-1, Michael D. Cahill (Rathmore) 0-1, Eamonn Spillane (Glenflesk) 2-2, Paul O Donoghue (Kilcummin). Subs: Denis O Neill (Rathmore), Jim Cronin (do.).
Semi-final on Sun. 29th Dec. at Farranfore: St. Kieran’s 2-13; Laune Rangers 1-11.
That match opened in dramatic style when Rangers’ full-forward, Liam Hassett, was fouled in the ‘square’ in the second minute but Michael F. Russell drove the resultant penalty low and wide. Darragh O Sullivan put the champions ahead in the seventh minute but they were to trail for the rest of the hour as points by Philip O Sullivan, John McGlynn, Sean Dennehy and Ruairí O Rahilly put St. Kieran’s ahead. Rangers were struggling in most areas, as Ruairí O Rahilly and Gene O Keeffe were on top at midfield. Then came two great St. Kieran’s goals from Philip O Sullivan and John McGlynn. Johnny Lynch, Michael F. Russell and Liam Hassett replied for Rangers to leave the halftime score at 2-8 to 0-5.
The second half was exciting with Rangers giving their all. Pa O Sullivan, Eoin O Connell, Jerry O Brien and John Sheehan drove their men forward. Rangers had three fast points – Pa O Sullivan scored twice and a point by Fiachra O Donoghue reduced the lead to two goals. Johnny McGlynn and Ruairí O Rahillys responded for the winners and Rangers were struggling once more. However, they tried to the end and, four minutes from the end, they were rewarded when Pa O Sullivan found the net. Nevertheless, they were well beaten in a game, which warmed the attendance on a bitterly cold December day.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Thomas Walsh (capt.), Eoin O Connell, John O Sullivan, John Sheehan, Jerry O Brien, Johnny Lynch (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (1-3), Darragh O Sullivan (0-1), Michael F. Russell (0-3), Eamonn Foley, Brian Gannon (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1).
Ref: Michael O Donoghue (Glenflesk).
Co. Minor Football Championship
Trainer/Selector – James Sheehan. Selectors – Noel O Mahony, Jerry Coffey and Maurice Corkery.
Rd. 1 on Tues. 2nd July at Fitzgerald Stadium: East-Kerry 1-18; Laune Rangers 1-5.
The sides were level at halftime, Laune Rangers 1-3, East-Kerry 0-6. Garrath Sheehan was sent off in the second half.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Eoin Ferris, Podge Foley, Fergus Clifford, Maurice Sheehan, Eoin O Connell, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, Morgan Foley, Paul Russell (0-2), Johnny Lynch (0-1), Darragh O Sullivan, Dermot Murphy (1-0), Enda Clifford, Garrath Sheehan (0-2). Subs: Pa Sheehan for D. Murphy, Sean Costello for E. Ferris.
Co. Minor Football League
Rd. 2 on Fri. 5th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 4-5; Kilcummin 3-9.
Rangers led at halftime by six points (3-4 to 0-4), having led at one stage by eleven points, due to some terrible mistakes by the opposition goalkeeper. In the second half, however, some of the Rangers’ backs were very badly caught for pace. Johnny Lynch was magnificent at midfield, while Pa Sheehan and Garrath Sheehan were the best of the forwards.
Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Eoin Ferris, Podge Foley, Fergus Clifford, Noel Purcell, Maurice Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Johnny Lynch (1-2), John Moriarty, Tony Lyons, Gerard Purcell, Pa Sheehan, Kevin Cahillane, Enda Clifford (2-1), Garrath Sheehan (1-2). Subs: Dermot Murphy for K. Cahillane, Sean Costello for N. Purcell, Terence Houlihan for T, Lyons, Kevin O Connor, Jamie Cahillane, Robert Moriarty, Billy O Mahony, Cathal Browne and Albert Moriarty. Missing – Eoin O Connell (hand injury) and Shane Harmon (leg injury).
Ref: Aidan Mangan (Austin Stacks).
Rd. 3 on Mon. 8th April at Spa: Spa 0-6; Laune Rangers 1-10.
Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Maurice Sheehan, Podge Foley, Fergus Clifford, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Sean Costello, Johnny Lynch (0-3), John Moriarty, Darragh O Sullivan (0-1), Gerard Purcell (0-1), Pa Sheehan (1-2), Dermot Murphy, Enda Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (0-2). Sub: Kevin O Connor for G. Purcell.
Rd. 4 on Fri. 12th April at Killarney: Dr. Crokes 1-8; Laune Rangers 1-5.
Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Eoin Ferris, Podge Foley, Fergus Clifford, Sean Costello, Eoin O Connell (0-1), Maurice Sheehan, John Moriarty, Morgan Foley, Eoin Clifford, Darragh O Sullivan, Pa Sheehan, Dermot Murphy, Gerard Purcell, Garrath Sheehan (0-4). Subs: John Ahern (1-0) for G. Purcell, Tony Lyons for D. Murphy.
Rd. 1 (postponed) on Sun. 14th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-8; Desmonds 2-5.
The sides were level at halftime, Laune Rangers 0-4, Desmonds 1-1.
Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Eoin Ferris, Podge Foley, Fergus Clifford, Sean Costello, Eoin O Connell, Noel Purcell, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Paul Russell (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (0-3), Pa Sheehan, Eoin Clifford, Dermot Murphy (0-3), John Ahern (0-1). Sub: Kevin Cahillane for D. Murphy.
Rd. 5 on Fri. 19th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 3-8; Legion 2-4.
Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Eoin Ferris, Podge Foley, Robert Moriarty, Sean Costello, Eoin O Connell, Maurice Sheehan, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Paul Russell, Enda Clifford (0-3), Pa Sheehan, Dermot Murphy (1-1), Gerard Purcell, Garrath Sheehan (1-4). Subs: Noel Purcell for M. Sheehan, Terence Houlihan for G. Purcell, Kevin O Connor (1-0) for P. Sheehan, Jamie Cahillane for E. Ferris, Kevin Cahillane for P. Russell, Karl Falvey for G. Sheehan.
Mid-Kerry Minor Football Championship
Semi-final on Sat. 2nd Nov. at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 2-9; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-12.
A pointed free right on the stroke of fulltime by Kevin Cahillane earned Laune Rangers a deserved replay after that epic Killorglin Credit Union Minor Football semi-final. That game had all the ingredients of championship football and it could be said that neither side deserved to lose.
The first quarter was evenly balanced and the sides were level at 0-3 each, Ian Twiss hitting all Milltown/Castlemaine’s scores, while Garrath Sheehan (2) and Kevin Cahillane replied for Rangers. Then the reigning champions hit a purple patch. In the 17th minute, Ian Twiss restored their lead and a minute later, Owen Flynn struck for his side’s only goal after a mix-up in the Rangers’ defence saw the ball fall invitingly into his path. That put Milltown/Castlemaine four points up, but to their credit, Rangers responded magnificently. Paul Russell and Garrath Sheehan pointed and then in the 28th minute the latter scored a crucial goal to leave Rangers leading at the interval by 1-5 to 1-4.
Rangers began the second half as they had finished the first and a goal by Kevin Cahillane and a point inside the first five minutes stretched their lead to five points. Things did not look good at that stage for the previous year’s winners but they refused to throw in the towel. With Twiss in fine kicking form, they rallied and gradually edged closer. As the game entered the final stages, passions rose high and tempers flared, which eventually saw the dismissal of Rangers’ wing-back, Pa Sheehan. With five minutes left, Twiss, who scored a personal tally of eleven points, gave Milltown/Castlemaine the lead with yet another converted free. Rangers threw everything into attack and Kevin Cahillane struck for a late, late equaliser.
For Rangers, John Moriarty, Darragh O Sullivan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Podge Foley and Garrath Sheehan shone.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Cian Foley, John Moriarty, Darragh O Sullivan, Gerard Purcell, Paul Russell (0-1), John Ahern, Kevin Cahillane (1-2), Podge Foley (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (1-5, 3 frees). Sub: Trevor Gannon for G. Purcell.
Milltown/Castlemaine: Alfie Giles, Neilus Flynn, Jason Giles, Liam Mangan, Damien Murphy, Martin Boyle, Colm O Grady, Shane Daly, Billy Hickey, William Harmon (0-1, free), Ian Twiss (0-11, 7 frees), Ciarán Burke, Owen Flynn (1-0), Aeneas Keane, Mark Galvin. Sub: Laurence O Dowd for C. Burke.
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Semi-final replay on Sun. 10th Nov. at Beaufort: Milltown/Castlemaine 1-11; Laune Rangers 1-9.
A super point-blank save by goalkeeper Ciarán Burke, allied to a dazzling first half performance, enabled Milltown/Castlemaine to advance to the final of the Killorglin Credit Union sponsored Mid-Kerry Minor Football Championship after that thrilling replay, played before a large attendance at Coughlan Park, Beaufort. In a game, which matched the drawn encounter for entertainment, excitement and sheer passion, the winners made a blistering start.
Colin O Grady opened their scoring in the 4th minute and a minute later the superb Ian Twiss caught the Rangers’ defence napping to score his side’s only goal of the game. Rangers paid dearly for fouling close to goal and Milltown added five pointed frees to stretch their lead. The winners finished the half stronger with further points from William Harmon and Ian Twiss to lead at halftime by 1-8 to 0-3. Rangers’ points had been scored by Gerard Purcell, Podge Foley and Garrath Sheehan.
On the resumption, Rangers switched Eoin O Connell and Podge Foley to midfield and that paid dividends. Four points from Garrath Sheehan and one from Eoin O Connell brought them back into contention and cut Milltown’s lead to three points. Kevin Cahillane and Ian Twiss exchanged points before Rangers got their big break. In the 50th minute, Garrath Sheehan’s long-range free went all the way to the net to bring the sides level at 1-9 each.
Both sides missed chances before Ian Twiss restored the winners’ lead with a point in the 55th minute, only their second of the half. William Harmon quickly added another, to leave two points between the sides with a minute on the clock. In a last throw of the dice, the excellent Eoin O Connell cut through the Milltown defence and went for a goal. However, Burke atoned for his earlier mistake when he superbly stopped O Connell’s point-blank effort. The resulting loose ball was cleared and the fulltime whistle sounded.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Fergus Clifford, Cian Foley, Brendan Fitzgerald, Enda Clifford, John Moriarty, Darragh O Sullivan, Gerard Purcell (0-1), Paul Russell, John Ahern, Kevin Cahillane (0-1), Podge Foley (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (1-6). Missing – Johnny Lynch (inj.).
Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).
Mid-Kerry Minor Football League
That was the inaugural year of that competition.
Rd. 1 on Wed. 17th July at Beaufort: Beaufort 1-8; Laune Rangers 1-6.
Rd. 2 on Wed. 31st July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-10; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-5.
Rd. 3 on Sat. 14th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated Cromane.
Rd. 4 on Wed. 4th Sept. at Keel: Keel 1-9; Laune Rangers 7-11.
Laune Rangers led at halftime by 5-8 to 1-2.
Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Enda Clifford, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Robert Moriarty, John Moriarty, Brendan Fitzgerald, Morgan Foley, Darragh O Sullivan, ,Gerard Purcell, Paul Russell, Pa Sheehan, Kevin O Connor, Podge Foley, Garrath Sheehan. Subs; Jamie Cahillane, Noel Purcell and Terence Houlihan (all played).
Rd. 5 on Sat. 28th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated Glenbeigh/Glencar.
Semi-final on Sun. 13th Oct. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 2-7; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-7.
Final on Sat. 19th Oct. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 1-10; Beaufort 1-2.
Laune Rangers captured the Killorglin Credit Union sponsored Mid-Kerry Minor Football League by defeating a disappointing Beaufort side. They laid the foundation for victory in the first half when, after playing against a strong breeze, they turned around at halftime leading by 1-4 to 1-1, the goal coming from the excellent Johnny Lynch. After that, victory was never in doubt and they ran out easy winners. After the game, Agnes Foley, of Killorglin Credit Union, presented the trophy to the winning captain, Podge Foley.
Ref: Brendan Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).
Co. U-16 Inter-Divisional Football Championship
Rd. 1 on Mon. 5th Aug. at Castleisland: North-Kerry 2-13; Mid-Kerry 0-5.
North-Kerry led at halftime by 1-5 to 0-4.
Mid-Kerry: J. O Connor, Eoin Flynn, Eugene Courtney (Glenbeigh), Jimmy Doyle (Beaufort), Alfie Giles (Milltown/Castlemaine), Cian Foley (Laune Rangers), Brian Foley (do.), John Ahern (do.) 0-1, Donal O Shea (Beaufort) 0-1, Paul O Sullivan (Cromane), Sean O Sullivan (do.) 0-1, Eoin Clifford (Laune Rangers), Derek Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine) 0-1, Ronan O Sullivan, Trevor Gannon (Laune Rangers) 0-1. Subs: Kenneth O Connor (Glenbeigh) for C. Foley, Jonathan Griffin (Laune Rangers) for T. Gannon, Robert Foley (Laune Rangers) for D. O Shea.
North-Kerry, coached by John Kennedy, won the competition.
Co. U-16 Football Championship
Coach/Trainer/Selector – Shane O Sullivan. Selectors – Sean Moriarty, John Clifford and Denis Cleary. Both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams were sponsored for the first time for a three-year period by The Fishery Bar and Restaurant.
Rd. 1 on Mon. 24th June at Boherbue: John Mitchels 3-14; Laune Rangers 0-8.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Cian Evans, Seamus Galvin, Cian Foley, Brian Curran, John Ahern (0-2), Eoin Clifford, Robert Foley (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (0-1), David Marmion, Aidan O Connor (0-1), Michael McGillycuddy (0-3), John E. Murphy. Sub: Fergus O Riordan for D. Marmion.
Rd. 2 on Mon. 1st July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-12; Tarbert 0-6.
In a very clean and sporting match, some fine passages of play were seen. It was a real test of the Rangers’ character after their heavy defeat the previous week. They showed their heart and held their heads to dominate Tarbert in the first half, opening with five well-worked points from play without reply, courtesy of Jonathan Griffin, Seamus Galvin, John E. Murphy, Aidan O Connor and John Ahern. Tarbert replied with two points, one from a free. However, the Killorglin side responded with further points from John Ahern, Robert Foley and Jonathan Griffin to leave the score at halftime 0-8 to 0-2 in favour of the home side.
Tarbert came more into the game on the restart, as the two teams exchanged points. However, despite Tarbert’s best efforts, the boys from the Laune proved to be the better team as they moved the ball freely and made good use of possession. Further points from John Ahern and Aidan O Connor topped off what was a good overall performance by the Rangers.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Andrew O Reilly, Paul Costello, Fergus O Riordan, Brian Houlihan, Paul Sheehan, Brian Curran, Eoin Clifford, Cian Foley, Robert Foley (0-2), John Ahern (0-3), Seamus Galvin (0-1), Aidan O Connor (0-3), Jonathan Griffin (0-2), John E. Murphy (0-1). Subs: Tom Crowley for B. Houlihan, Padraig Clifford for J.E. Murphy.
Rd. 3 on Mon. 8th July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 9-11; Kerins O Rahillys 2-6.
O Rahillys started well with a goal in response to a John Ahern point. Laune Rangers replied almost immediately with a well-taken goal by Jonathan Griffin. Then the turning point came when O Rahillys kicked the ball wide from a penalty. That seemed to set the home side alight and they soon went ahead with points from Jonathan Griffin, Seamus Galvin and Eoin Clifford. A good ball into the unmarked Jonathan Griffin, who rattled the net with a blistering shot, gave Rangers a comfortable lead. They did not sit on their oars, however, and further points from John E. Murphy, Robert Foley and Jonathan Griffin and a well-struck goal by John E. Murphy left the score at halftime 3-7 to 1-2 in favour of the home side.
The Killorglin team resumed without the injured John Ahern. However, they certainly proved that they meant business when they struck three great shots to the back of the O Rahillys net within minutes of the restart courtesy of Robert Foley and Jonathan Griffin (2). From there on, it was just a matter of how much they could score. Despite four points and a goal from Kerins O Rahillys, the strong and direct play of the Rangers proved too much for the visitors. Further goals by Robert Foley and Brian Curran and points from Jonathan Griffin (3) and Aidan O Connor put the icing on the cake.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Fergus O Riordan, Brian Houlihan, Brian Curran (1-0), Cian Evans, Cian Foley, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Robert Foley (3-1), John Ahern (0-1), Seamus Galvin (0-1), Aidan O Connor (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (4-5), John E. Murphy (1-1). Subs: David Marmion for J. Ahern (inj.), Andrew O Reilly for P. Sheehan, Patrick Galvin for S. Galvin.
Rd. 4 on Mon. 15th July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-5; Austin Stacks 3-9.
Rd. 5 on Mon. 22nd July at Ballyduff: Ballyduff 3-8; Laune Rangers 4-5.
Laune Rangers managed to grab a goal in the dying seconds of that match to level the game against a much-fancied Ballyduff side. Rangers showed great character as they foraged well throughout the hour and snatched a well-earned draw at the finish.
Ballyduff had the better start with their ace player, Liam Boyle, scoring an excellent goal and two points without reply. Aidan O Connor scored Laune Rangers first point but Ballyduff immediately replied with another goal and a point. Killorglin then seemed to raise their game and John Ahern began to dominate midfield with some fine fielding. Points from Jonathan Griffin (3) and a well-taken goal by John E. Murphy left the score at 2-3 to 1-4 at halftime in favour of the home side.
Again Ballyduff got the better start after the break and added a goal and five points to their tally without response. Killorglin, however, battled on and Jonathan scored from the penalty spot, followed by another from the fast left-footed Eoin Clifford to give the visitors a glimmer of hope. As play became slightly physical, Ballyduff seemed to lose their shape, unlike Rangers who kept their heads and stuck to their task. Robert Foley kicked a point from a free to leave three points between the sides.
Killorglin corner-forward, John E. Murphy, received a bad blow from his opponent and it was several minutes before the game resumed, without the injured Murphy. John Ahern dispatched a high ball into the square and Robert Foley, receiving, drove it low and hard to the bottom corner of the net to deservedly level the match as the final whistle blew.
Laune Rangers: Michael McGillycuddy, Brian Houlihan, Paul Sheehan, Fergus O Riordan, Seamus Galvin, Brian Curran, Cian Evans, Cian Foley, John Ahern, Eoin Clifford (1-0), Robert Foley (1-1), Trevor Gannon, Aidan O Connor (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (1-3), John E. Murphy (1-0). Sub: Patrick Galvin for J. Murphy (inj.).
Rd. 6 on Mon. 29th July at Listowel: Emmett’s 0-9; Laune Rangers 1-7.
That result ensured Laune Rangers a place in the Co. Semi-finals.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Andrew O Reilly, Paul Sheehan, Cian Evans, Brian Houlihan, Brian Curran, Fergus O Riordan, Cian Foley, John Ahern (1-0), Eoin Clifford, Robert Foley (0-2), Trevor Gannon (0-1), Aidan O Connor (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (0-3), Seamus Galvin. Sub: Michael McGillycuddy for S. Galvin.
Semi-final on Mon. 2nd Sept. at Farranfore: Laune Rangers 5-8; John Mitchels 3-6.
Laune Rangers rose to the occasion against the favourites John Mitchels to emerge winners by eight points. Played in excellent conditions and before a large crowd of supporters from both sides, the Laune Rangers gave the game everything that a good game of football should have – the towering, physical strength and long-range points of Michael McGillycuddy, the balanced, creative, long-ball midfield play of John Ahern, the speedy, cutting penetration of John Edmond Murphy at wing-forward and Trevor Gannon in the corner, the solid halfback play of Brian Curran, the effective intervention of corner-backs Fergus O Riordan and Cian Evans in support of the improving Andrew O Reilly, new to the fullback position, the sweeping defensive role of Seamus Galvin, the goal-scoring ability of Bob Foley, and the final point, scored by Jonathan Griffin, unable to start due to flu, who entered the game in the dying minutes and kicked the best point of the match from 40 yards out on the right wing. Laune Rangers played with purpose and for each other with a brilliant mix of the long ball and short passing, playing a most attractive brand of football under a carefully worked game-plan.
It was a most unexpected win considering that Rangers had been beaten on three occasions by Mitchels during the year.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Fergus O Riordan, Andrew O Reilly, Cian Evans, Seamus Galvin, Brian Houlihan, Brian Curran, John Ahern (0-1), Cian Foley, Bob Foley (2-1), Eoin Clifford, John E. Murphy (1-1), Aidan O Connor, Michael McGillycuddy (0-3), Trevor Gannon (2-1). Subs: Geoffrey O Mahony for B. Houlihan, Jonathan Griffin (0-1) for A. O Connor.
Ref: Billy O Sullivan (Firies).
Final on Mon. 9th Sept. at Castleisland: Emmett’s 1-17; Laune Rangers 2-8.
The large attendance was treated to an action-filled, thrilling and skilful game between two very well-prepared and disciplined teams and Listowel Emmett’s achieved the very rare distinction of winning two successive U-16 Division 1 titles.
Emmett’s were first to score with two early points, but it was noticeable that the Laune Rangers midfield partnership of John Ahern and Cian Foley was getting the better of their opponents, Liam Keane and Tadhg Kennelly. Emmett’s found in the early stages that a third Rangers’ player at centre-field was creating problems as well.
John Ahern scored three great points from frees for Rangers and other points came from Michael McGillycuddy and Aidan O Connor before the end of the first quarter. In the 16th minute, Rangers combined excellently to give Aidan O Connor and John E. Murphy a goal each in the space of a minute. Kieran Crohan (Emmett’s) and Aidan O Conor exchanged points and, at that stage, a lead of eight points looked unassailable. However, Emmett’s worked hard to reduce the gap and the switching of Carl Dillon to centre-field, to counteract the third midfielder, proved successful. Great points were scored by Kieran O Sullivan and Tadhg Kennelly and then came a brilliant goal by captain, Liam Keane, who collected a dropping ball and sent a pile-driver to the net. That left the deficit at just two points, (2-6 to 1-7), at halftime.
Rangers opened the scoring on the resumption but the Listowel boys proceeded to dominate the second half, showing great courage and determination. Kieran O Sullivan played the game of his life. Along with Tadhg Kennelly, he scored points with ease and Emmett’s powered their way to a deserved victory.
Best for Laune Rangers were Cian Evans, John Ahern, Cian Foley, Eoin Clifford, Aidan O Connor and Michael McGillycuddy.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Fergus O Riordan, Andrew O Reilly, Cian Evans, Seamus Galvin, Brian Curran, Brian Houlihan, John Ahern (0-3, frees), Cian Foley (capt.), Bob Foley (0-1), Eoin Clifford, John E. Murphy (1-0), Aidan O Connor (1-2), Michael McGillycuddy (0-1), Trevor Gannon. Subs: Jonathan Griffin (0-1) for J.E. Murphy, Harry Bawden for F. O Donoghue.
Ref: Denis O Donovan (Desmonds).
Mid-Kerry U-16 Football Championship
Final on Sat. 23rd Nov. at Glenbeigh: Laune Rangers 1-8; Beaufort 0-8.
Both teams deserved to be admired for rising above the atrocious ground conditions to play a good standard of football. While Rangers lined out as favourites, fair dues to Beaufort for contesting tooth and nail throughout the game, and at all times looked as if they could topple Rangers, who had a dream start, when a free by midfielder John Ahern found the towering hands of Michael McGillycuddy who crashed the ball to the Beaufort net. Beaufort’s four points in the first half were matched by points by Aidan O Connor (2), Bob Foley (1) and John Ahern (1) to leave Rangers ahead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the break.
While Beaufort came within two points of Rangers in the second half, they never managed to equalise or take the lead. Again the four points scored by Beaufort in the second half were matched by four from Rangers, two from Trevor Gannon and one each from John Ahern and Bob Foley, leaving Beaufort that goal adrift at the final whistle.
Fergal O Donoghue gave an outstanding performance in goals. Andrew O Reilly, Tom Crowley, Fergus O Riordan and Cian Evans covered well in defence. Cian Foley gave a solid midfield performance. John E. Murphy and Eoin Clifford, while not on the score-board, played well in Rangers’ attack.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Fergus O Riordan, Andrew O Reilly, Cian Evans, Brian Houlihan, Tom Crowley, Brian Curran, Cian Foley, John Ahern (0-2), Bob Foley (0-2), Eoin Clifford, John E. Murphy, Aidan O Connor (0-2), Michael McGillycuddy (1-0), Trevor Gannon (0-2).
Beaufort: Michael Moriarty, Mark Breen, Padraig Coffey, Robert Doyle, John Kelliher, Jeremiah Doyle, Gavin Culloty, Kevin O Brien, Jerry Kelliher, Ross O Sullivan, Rowan O Sullivan, Donal Hartnett, Sean Murphy, Donal O Shea, Michael O Connor. Subs: Oisín Kelliher, Michael O Sullivan, James Courtney, Ruairí Spillane, Joseph Scully, Denis O Sullivan, Kevin O Connor, Patrick Doyle, James O Sullivan.
Mid-Kerry U-16B Football Championship
Laune Rangers ‘B’ team played against all the other clubs’ ‘A’ teams. Selectors – Shane O Sullivan , Jerome Conway and Sean Moriarty.
Rd. 1 on Wed. 10th April at Cromane: Cromane ‘A’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’.
Rd. 2 on Wed. 17th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-4; Keel ‘A’ 3-10.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Harry Bawden, Brian Foley, Paul Sheehan, Fergus O Riordan, Paul O Connor, Andrew O Reilly, Paul James Browne, Brian Curran, Geoffrey O Mahony, Daniel Moriarty, Patrick Galvin, Evan Healy, Robert Coffey, Kieran woods, Darragh Burns. Subs: Garrett O Reilly, John and Gerard O Sullivan (all played).
Tralee District Board U-16 Football Championship (Div. 1)
Rd. 1 on Sun. 7th April at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks 2-6; Laune Rangers 3-9.
Laune Rangers led at halftime by 1-4 to 1-3.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Cian Evans, Brian Curran, Cian Foley, Seamus Galvin, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Robert Foley (0-1), Aidan O Connor, John Ahern (0-3), David Marmion, John E. Murphy (1-1), Jonathan Griffin 91-2), Trevor Gannon (1-1).
Rd. 2 on Sun. 14th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-12; John Mitchels 5-3.
Laune Rangers led at halftime by 0-6 to 0-1. Trevor Gannon and a Mitchels’ player were sent off in the second half for fighting.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Geoffrey O Mahony, Brian Curran, Cian Evans, Seamus Galvin, Robert Foley (0-3), John Ahern, David Marmion (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (0-6), Trevor Gannon, Aidan O Connor (0-2), Michael McGillycuddy, John E. Murphy. Sub: Patrick Galvin for A. O Connor.
Semi-final on Fri. 3rd May: Laune Rangers 0-12; Austin Stacks 1-8.
Stacks led at halftime by 1-6 to 0-5.
Laune Rangers: Harry Bawden, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Cian Evans, Seamus Galvin, Cian Foley, Brian Curran, Robert Foley, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Jonathan Griffin (0-6), Michael McGillycuddy (0-2), David Marmion, Aidan O Connor (0-1), John Ahern (0-1), John E. Murphy (0-1). Sub: Brian Foley for R. Foley.
Final on Sat. 18th May at Connolly Park: Laune Rangers 2-6; John Mitchels 0-12.
That was a close and exciting final, possibly the best game of underage football in the county that year. Mitchels led at halftime by 0-7 to 1-3.
Laune Rangers: Harry Bawden, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Cian Evans, Brian Curran, Cian Foley, Geoffrey O Mahony, John Ahern 90-1), Eoin Clifford (0-1), Robert Foley, Michael McGillycuddy, Jonathan Griffin (1-2), Seamus Galvin 91-0), Aidan O Connor (0-1), John E. Murphy (0-1). Subs: Trevor Gannon for M. McGillycuddy, David Marmion for P. Sheehan.
Final (replay) on Wed. 10th July at Austin Stack Park: John Mitchels 3-17; Laune Rangers 1-4.
John Mitchels led at halftime by 2-9 to 0-1.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Paul Sheehan, Paul Costello, Fergus O Riordan, David Marmion, Brian Curran, Cian Evans, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Cian Foley, Robert Foley, John Ahern (0-2), Seamus Galvin, Aidan O Connor, Jonathan Griffin, John E. Murphy (1-1). Subs: Patrick Galvin for S. Galvin, Garrett O Reilly for A. O Connor.
Tralee District Board U-16 Football Championship Div. 2
Rd. 1 on Sun. 7th April at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks ‘B’ 3-6; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-4.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Robert Coffey, Paul O Connor, Geoffrey o Mahony, Brian Foley, Daniel Moriarty, Brian Curran (0-1), Paul James Browne, Seamus Galvin, Harry Bawden, Aidan O Connor (0-1), Patrick Galvin (3-0), Patrick Clifford, Darragh Burns (0-1), Evan Healy (0-1), Kieran woods. Subs: Fergus O Riordan for B. Curran, John O Sullivan (twin) for S. Galvin, Gerard O Sullivan (twin) for A. O Connor.
Rd. 2 on Sun. 14th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-3; Desmonds ‘A’ 3-5.
Laune Rangers ‘B’: Robert Coffey, Paul O Connor, Andrew O Reilly, Fergus O Riordan, Daniel Moriarty, Paul Sheehan, Paul James Browne, Brian Curran (0-1), Geoffrey O Mahony, Seamus Galvin, Patrick Galvin, Evan Healy (0-2), Darragh Burns, Harry Bawden, Kieran Woods. Subs: John and Gerard O Sullivan and Brian Foley (all played).
Thurs. 28th May at Ballymac: Ballymac ‘A’ Laune Rangers ‘B’.
Co. U-15 Football Championship
Rd. 1 in Listowel: Emmett’s 1-14; Laune Rangers 2-16 (AET).
Pa Crowley, Paul James Brown, Fergus O Riordan, Geoffrey O Mahony, Barry O Sullivan and John E. Murphy gave very good displays.
Semi-final in Ballymac: Austin Stacks 3-6; Laune Rangers 0-2.
Laune Rangers: Fergal O Donoghue, Pa Crowley, Darren O Riordan, Paul James Brown, Seamus Galvin, Fergus O Riordan (capt.), Garrett O Reilly, Geoffrey O Mahony, Cian Evans, Daniel Moriarty, John E. Murphy, Noel Lynch, Damien Harmon, William Byrne, Vincent Griffin. Subs: Colin Mangan, Gerard O Sullivan (twin), Paul O Connor. Barry O Sullivan, Harry Bawden, Darragh Burns (holidays), Timmy Houlihan, Gerard O Sullivan (Glenashe) and Tim Cronin, who had been in Listowel, did not bother to travel – citing lame excuses.
Co. U-14 Football Championship
Coach/Trainer/ Selector – Pat Pigott. Selectors – Patsy Joy, Jerry Foley and Noel O Mahony. The U-14A team was sponsored by Champs Super-Value Supermarket for the first time for a three years’ period. For that competition in 1996, there was no solo-run allowed. Laune Rangers were grouped with Kerins O Rahillys, Austin Stacks, An Ghaeltacht, Currow and Beaufort.
Rd. 1 on Mon. 1st April at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks 2-4; Laune Rangers 1-5.
Austin Stacks were bigger, stronger and cuter and Rangers had to play second fiddle for most of the game. The only players to play anywhere near to form were James Hayes, Pa Crowley and Conor Falvey.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, William Byrne, Ross Sheehan, Conor Falvey, Pa Crowley (capt.), Sean Evans, Barry O Sullivan, Thomas McGillycuddy, Noel Lynch, Mark Healy, Eoin Joy, Michael McCaffrey, Andrew O Regan, Michael Doyle. Subs: Darren O Riordan for M. McCaffrey, Connie Murphy for T. McGillycuddy, Paul McKenna for M. Healy, Jonathan McCarthy, Noel Joy and Nicholas O Brien.
Rd. 2 on Mon. 8th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 3-12; An Ghaeltacht 1-4.
The highlight of the game was the long-range point kicking by Barry O Sullivan. Michael Doyle, Paul McKenna and Thomas McGillycuddy scored the goals.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Ross Sheehan, Conor Falvey, Pa Crowley (capt.), Sean Evans, William Byrne, Barry O Sullivan, Noel Lynch, Vincent Griffin, Eoin Joy, Paul McKenna, Thomas McGillycuddy, Michael Doyle. Subs: Connie Murphy, Mark Healy, Andrew O Regan, Michael McCaffrey, Jonathan McCarthy, Noel Joy, Nicholas O Brien.
Rd. 3 on Mon. 15th April at Deerpark: Dr. Crokes 2-3; Laune Rangers 4-3.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Ross Sheehan, Noel Lynch, Conor Falvey, Sean Evans, William Byrne, Barry O Sullivan, Andrew O Regan, Vincent Griffin, Seamus Foley, Paul McKenna, Thomas McGillycuddy, Michael Doyle. Subs: Connie Murphy, Eoin Joy, Mark Healy, Michael McCaffrey, Jonathan McCarthy, Noel Joy.
Rd. 4 on Mon. 22nd April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-6; Kerins O Rahillys 2-6.
A good first half by Rangers laid the foundation for the draw. A goal by Andrew O Regan and good points by Barry O Sullivan and Vincent Griffin left them leading at halftime by 1-4 to 0-2. O Rahillys came back strongly in the second half. Great defending by James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Ross Sheehan and Noel Lynch prevented defeat. A goal near the end of the game by Thomas McGillycuddy ensured a share of the spoils, but two great saves by goalkeeper, Colin Mangan, also contributed to the draw.
Rd. 5 on Mon. 29th April at Beaufort: Beaufort 0-4; Laune Rangers 1-6.
Darren O Riordan, Pa Crowley, Noel Lynch, Barry O Sullivan and Seamus Foley played well for Laune Rangers.
Rd. 6 on Mon. 6th May: Laune Rangers w/o; Currow scr.
Semi-final on Thurs. 6th June at Farranfore: Austin Stacks 2-5; Laune Rangers 1-5.
Final: Austin Stacks beat Kerins O Rahillys.
Féile Peile na nOg (U-14)
The winners of that competition represented Kerry at the All-Ireland Finals in Mayo.
Quarter-final on Mon. 20th May: Laune Rangers 6-8; Na Gaeil 4-5.
Final on Mon. 3rd June at Mitchels’ Pitch: Austin Stacks 2-7; Laune Rangers 0-4.
Austin Stacks sealed their victory very early in the game when they scored 2-5 without reply. Laune Rangers managed two points in quick succession five minutes before halftime. Stacks scored another point to lead at the break by 2-6 to 0-2. Stacks were first to score in the second half but then Rangers pressed hard without success. Stacks’ defensive play was excellent and the outcome was a foregone conclusion long before the final whistle.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Ross Sheehan, Conor Falvey, Pa Crowley, Sean Evans, Barry O Sullivan (0-1), Vincent Griffin, Noel Lynch (0-1), William Byrne (0-1), Seamus Foley, Paul McKenna, Thomas McGillycuddy, Jonathan McCarthy (0-1). Subs: Damien Harmon for J. Hayes, Timmy Houlihan.
Mid-Kerry U-14 Football Championship
Rd. 1 on Wed. 31st July at Beaufort: Beaufort lost to Laune Rangers.
Rd. 2 on Wed. 7th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated Keel.
Rd. 3 on Wed. 14th Aug. at Glenbeigh: Glenbeigh/Glencar lost to Laune Rangers.
Rd. 4 on Wed. 21st Aug. at Cromane: Cromane lost to Laune Rangers.
Rd. 5 on Wed. 28th Aug. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers lost to Milltown/Castlemaine by 2 points.
At one stage in the second half, Laune Rangers were 8 points in arrears but goals from Paul McKenna and Thomas McGillycuddy reduced the deficit to two points and, with a Dermot Houlihan shot coming back off the post, they could have stolen the game. Rangers were without Barry O Sullivan and Vincent Griffin, who decided to go to Cork for the day, and Ross Sheehan who was on holidays.
Semi-final on Wed. 4th Sept. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 2-9; Beaufort 1-7.
Rangers made hard work of winning that game. Michael Doyle scored the goal.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Sean Evans, Ross Sheehan, Pa Crowley, Conor Falvey, Vincent Griffin, Barry O Sullivan, Seamus Foley, Thomas McGillycuddy, Damien Harmon, Noel Lynch, William Byrne, Paul McKenna. Subs: Timmy Houlihan for W. Byrne, Dermot Houlihan for S. Foley, Michael Doyle for D. Harmon, Andrew O Regan, Gerard O Sullivan and David Coffey.
Final on Sat. 7th Sept. at Glenbeigh: Laune Rangers 5-6; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-7.
That was by far the best game played by the team that year, with each and every player playing his part and Rangers totally outclassed and outplayed the opposition. The high point of the game was the individual performance of Barry O Sullivan and Noel Lynch at midfield, where Milltown had built their hopes of victory. Darren O Riordan was outstanding at fullback, Pa Crowley, Conor Falvey and Ross Sheehan in the halfback line excelled. Goals from Paul McKenna and Thomas McGillycuddy made the job a little bit easier. Laune Rangers led at halftime by 3-3 to 0-5. Milltown/Castlemaine had travelled in force, full of confidence of pulling off a famous victory.
Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, James Hayes, Darren O Riordan, Sean Evans, Ross Sheehan, Pa Crowley (capt.), Conor Falvey, Barry O Sullivan (0-2), Noel Lynch, Seamus Foley (0-1), Vincent Griffin (2-0), Damien Harmon, Paul McKenna (1-1), Thomas McGillycuddy (2-2), Michael Doyle. Subs: Andrew O Regan for D. Harmon, Dermot Houlihan for S. Foley, Timmy Houlihan for P. McKenna, Jonathan McCarthy, Eoin Joy, Mark Healy, William Byrne, Gerard O Sullivan, Caoilte Gallagher and David Coffey.
Mid-Kerry U-14B Football Championship
Laune Rangers ‘B’ team versus ‘A’ teams from all the other clubs. The U-14B team was sponsored by O Grady’s Londis Supermarket. Selectors – Jerry Coffey, Brian O Shea and Barry Harmon.
Rd. 1 on Wed. 19th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ lost to Cromane by 2 pts.
Rd. 2 on Fri. 28th June at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine 11-8; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-6.
Tralee District Board U-14 Football Championship
Just three teams took part: Laune Rangers, Austin Stacks and Kerins O Rahillys.
Semi-final in Connolly Park: Laune Rangers 1-13; Kerins O Rahillys 0-7.
Final on Sun. 13th Oct. at Killeen: Austin Stacks 3-10; Laune Rangers 0-6.
Darren O Riordan was captain for that competition.
Co. U-12 Football Championship
Trainer/Selector – James Ferris. Selectors – Jimmy Hayes and Michael Ahern. The U-12 team was sponsored by King Print, Iveragh Road, for the first time for a three years’ period.
Rd. 1 at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys 2-13; Laune Rangers 1-4.
Rd. 3 on Mon. 10th June: Laune Rangers 3-8; Austin Stacks 2-3.
Rd. 4 on Mon. 24th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 4-11; Spa 0-6.
Scorers for Laune Rangers were Colin O Connor 1-4; Peter Slattery 2-1; Niall O Mahony 1-0, John Houlihan 0-3, Maurice Foley 0-2 and Aidan O Sullivan 0-1.
Rd. 5 on Sun. 7th July at Castleisland: Desmonds 4-9; Laune Rangers 2-11.
That was a cracking game of clean and sporting football, played before a large home crowd. It was played at a non-stop pace throughout. Rangers were three points in arrears at halftime. A goal by Colin O Connor in the opening minutes of the second half brought the sides level. Rangers continued to play very constructive football and looked the better side. Unlucky on the night, however, they struck the upright on three occasions when goals looked certain. Aidan Lynch and Maurice Foley gave outstanding performances at midfield. John Houlihan and Aidan played well in the corner-forward positions. The fast-moving Colin O Connor also played well in attack, while, in defence, Karl McCarthy and Niall O Mahony caught the eye.
Laune Rangers: David O Sullivan, Daryl Corkery, Shane Clifford, Karl McCarthy, Timmy O Sullivan, Alan Murphy, Niall O Mahony (0-1), Aidan Lynch, Maurice Foley, Peter Slattery (0-3), Colin O Connor (2-1), Trevor West, Aidan O Sullivan (0-3), Barry Woods, John Houlihan (0-3). Subs: Jodie O Riordan, Graham Dunlea, Gavin West and Gearoid O Callaghan.
Kilcummin were the champions and Desmonds were runners-up.
Mid-Kerry U-12 Football Championship
Final in Glenbeigh: Keel 1-9; Laune Rangers 1-3.
From the throw-in, Keel took the game to their opponents and led by 0-3 to 0-0 after twelve minutes. Further points by Alan Costello and James Long to Rangers’ solitary point left Keel in a strong position at halftime, leading by 0-5 to 0-1.
Rangers had the assistance of the strong breeze in the second half but it was Keel that started the better with three further points to stretch their lead to seven points. However, Rangers began to come into the game. Alan Murphy, with two points, and a goal by Aidan Lynch brought them right back into contention. Some excellent saves by the Keel goalkeeper, Michael Evans, kept Rangers at bay and Keel got the break they needed towards the finish. A high ball was fumbled by the Rangers’ goalkeeper and James Long was on hand to crash the ball to the net.
It was an historic day for the Keel club for a number of reasons. It was their first ever Mid-Kerry U-12 title, it was their first time ever beating Laune Rangers in an underage final and it was their first title at any age level in Mid-Kerry since 1974.
Mid-Kerry U-12B Football Championship
Trainer/Selector – Jerry Houlihan. Selectors – Patsy Joy and James O Riordan (Gurrane). The U-12 ‘A’ teams of all the other clubs and the Laune Rangers ‘B’ team played in that competition. The U-12B team was sponsored by Flynn’s Coach Hire for the first time for a three years’ period.
Rd. 1 on Fri. 28th June at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-4; Milltown/Castlemaine 2-9.
Laune Rangers were ahead by 1-3 to 0-3 at halftime, the scorers being Jodie O Riordan (1-1), Davin Foley (0-1) and Jeremiah Coffey (0-1). Paul O Connor, Damien O Neill, Kevin Sheehan and Jonathan Browne played well in that half. On the resumption, however, the imbalance between the teams emerged as Milltown/Castlemaine piled on the pressure and Laune Rangers faded.
Rd. 2 on Fri. 5th July at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-4; Cromane ‘A’ 2-9.
Laune Rangers kept the game at level scores until halftime but the stronger ‘A’ team opposition pulled away in the second half.
Rd. 3 on Fri. 12th July at Keel: Keel ‘A’ Laune Rangers ‘B’.
Tralee District Board U-12 Football Championship
Rd. 1 on Sun. 14th April at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks 5-4; Laune Rangers 1-11.
Rd. 2 on Sun. 28th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-4; Kerins O Rahillys 0-10.
Final on Wed. 31st July at Boherbue: Laune Rangers 2-6; Kerins O Rahillys 1-7.
A well-prepared Laune Rangers team, captained by Alan Murphy, who certainly played his part, set about their task with team-work and determination, as shown by the midfield pairing of Maurice Foley and Aidan Lynch and goalkeeper David O Sullivan. Despite missing two golden opportunities for goals in the first half, Rangers still lead by 1-3 to 0-3 at halftime.
Aided by the breeze in the second half, O Rahillys rallied, equalised and then pulled ahead by two points. The game seemed to be slipping from Killorglin’s grasp when a crashing goal brought them back into contention. Midway through the half, O Rahillys again equalised and pulled ahead by a point. However, Rangers continued to play their best football and finished the stronger team with three well-taken points to give them a well-deserved win.
Laune Rangers: David O Sullivan, Daryl Corkery, Shane Clifford, Karl McCarthy, Niall O Mahony, Alan Murphy, Barry Woods, Maurice Foley (1-0), Aidan Lynch, Colin O Connor (1-3), Peter Slattery, Trevor West (0-1), Aidan O Sullivan (0-2), Timmy O Sullivan, John Houlihan. Subs: Tomás Curran for T. O Sullivan, Jeremiah Coffey for J. Houlihan (inj.).
Tralee District Board U-12B Championship
Rd. 1 on Sun. 14th April at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks ‘B’ 5-5; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-4.
Rd. 2 on Sun. 28th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ defeated Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’.
Semi-final on Thurs. 23rd May at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ lost to Laune Rangers ‘B’.
Final on Wed. 19th June at Boherbue: Austin Stacks ‘B’ 1-8; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-10.
Due to the influx of players, it was found necessary to form a ‘C’ squad. Sergeant Michael O Leary, Garda John Twiss and Denis O Neill, the Square were the mentors.
Challenge on Thurs. 23rd May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘C’ drew with Na Gaeil ‘B’.
Challenge on Thurs. 30th May at Killeen: Na Gaeil ‘B’ Laune Rangers ‘C’.
U-12 Football Challenge Game
Forty-two U-12 Laune Rangers’ footballers stayed in Salthill/Knocknacarra over the weekend 4th/5th May. Three exciting and skilful games were played with the host club. Davin Foley fell ill during the weekend and had to be removed to hospital where he had an appendicitis operation. The prompt action of Dr. John Kilraine was much appreciated. Jimmy Hayes had volunteered to remain on until Monday with the young player until his parents arrived.
The U-10, U-8 and U-6 players attended training on Sunday mornings at 11.00am. Iraneus Looney, Willie Fitzgerald, Jerome Conway, John O Dwyer, Donal Pigott, Eamonn Carey and Colm Dunlea were the mentors.
U-10 Challenge on Sun. 1st Sept. at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks lost to Laune Rangers.
Laune Rangers: Vincent Costello, Dáire Clifford, Edward Looney, Aidan Joy, Michael Quirke, Kieran Crowley, Thaddeus Soffer, Eoin O Mahony, Ailin Tobin, Garry Flynn, Garry Cahillane, Sean O Riordan, Eamonn Carey, Darragh O Shea, Luke Dunlea. Subs: John Foley for G. Flynn, David Fleming for T. Soffer.
The U-9 and U-8 teams also travelled and played challenge games.
U-10 Parish League
Team ‘A’: Darragh O Shea (capt), Gary Cahillane, Thaddeus Soffer, Eamonn Carey, Jamie Ashe, Niall Dennehy, Simon Brosnan, Brian Ahern, Joe Houlihan.
Team ‘B’: Kieran Crowley (capt.), Luke Dunlea, Vincent Costello, Brendan O Shea, Danny Joy, Conor McBride, Shane Crowley, Sean Joy, Daniel Naughton.
Team ‘C’: Ailin Tobin (capt.), Michael Quirke, David Fleming, Sean O Riordan, JJ Foley, Rodi Healy, Ultan Foley, Stephen O Donoghue, Emir Knightley.
Team ‘D’: Eoin O Mahony, John Foley, Edward Looney, Dáire Clifford, Gary Flynn, Laurence O Connor, Aidan Joy, Tommy Moriarty, Sarah Jane Joy.
Cumann na mBunscol Chiarraí (Division 1) 1996/’97
Final on Sat. 16th Nov. at Austin Stack Park: Scoil Mhuire 2-9; Holy Family, Tralee 0-7.
That was a super performance by Scoil Mhuire. Since the inception of the competition three years previously, Holy Family had dominated. In fact, they were seeking a three-in-a-row wins in that final. Scoil Mhuire had been beaten in the 1994 final and had won the Div. 2 title in 1995. Conditions for football were ideal and the good-sized crowd was treated to a classic. Both sides were well-drilled in the skills of the game, were well-tuned for the final and the clashes were a joy to behold.
The wind-assisted Holy Family were first to attack and their forwards seemed to have the measure of the challengers’ backs. However, inaccurate shooting was to cost them dearly. Shane McMahon and Shane Guthrie held sway at midfield and only heroic defence by Shane Clifford and Paul O Connor kept the lively Tralee side at bay. Michael Doyle, slowly but surely began to gain the upper-hand at midfield midway through the half and his combination with Colin O Connor had Scoil Mhuire ahead at the interval, 0-4 to 0-3.
On the resumption, the Killorglin side attacked incessantly but were repulsed by Brian Sugrue and Paul Heaslip. Scores were exchanged tit for tat. Then Scoil Mhuire got the all-important goal, when Colin O Connor raced through to score. Holy Family rallied and, despite great efforts by Adam Renardson and David Flaherty, they could not break through for a goal.
Scoil Mhuire players played out of their skins. Sylvie O Shea was very reliable in goals. Shane Clifford was great at fullback. All the other backs played very well also with Damien O Neill having a ‘stormer’ in the second half. Michael Doyle really played the captain’s part and was magnificent. The opposition had no answer to his work-rate. Carl McCarthy played well, especially when he exchanged with Barry Woods, who continued to work hard when he came to midfield. Colin O Connor was the best forward on view, scoring two great goals and a few points. Trevor West took some time to settle but he improved as the game progressed. Jeremiah Coffey never played better, as he won every ball that came his way. David O Sullivan played very well, winning good possession and holding the ball for the support to arrive. Team coach – Conor Kearney.
Scoil Mhuire: Sylvie O Shea, Andrew Tattershall, Shane Clifford, Joseph O Riordan, Damien O Neill, Barry Woods, Paul O Connor, Michael Doyle (capt.), Carl McCarthy, Trevor West, Colin O Connor, Jeremiah Coffey, Davin Foley, David O Sullivan, Tomás Curran. Subs: Ailin Tobin for T. Curran, Aidan O Sullivan for D. Foley, Marcus Leahy, Kevin Sheehan, Kieran Crowley and Darragh O Shea.
Holy Family: David Moriarty, Dominic O Halloran, Paul Heaslip, Calvin Kissane, Ricky O Carroll, Brian Sugrue (capt.), Stephen Conway, Shane McMahon, Shane Guthrie, Christopher Collins, David Flaherty, Barry Murphy, Colin Looney, Adam Renardson, Garrath Moore. Subs: Francis Quirke, David Clifford, Garry Power, John McGillycuddy, Eltin Royle, Barry Griffin, Rory Molloy, Kenneth Murphy, Jonathan Magnier.
Ref: Chas Cronin (Duagh).
Mid-Kerry (National Schools) Mini-Sevens 1995/’96
For that competition, schools were penalised by age depending on the number of boys/girls attending from 3rd to 6th classes.
Blitz on Thurs 4th March at the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Killorglin:
Pitch 1 – Boys Girls
Scoil Mhuire 1-2; Kilgobnet 0-5. Scoil Mhuire 1-5; Kilgobnet 1-3
Kilgobnet 4-9; Cullina 1-1. Kilgobnet w/o; Cullina scr.
Scoil Mhuire 8-6; Cullina 0-3. Scoil Mhuire w/o; Cullina scr.
Pitch 2 – Boys Girls
Glenbeigh 3-1; Cromane 1-3. Glenbeigh 2-1; Cromane 1-3.
Cromane 2-3; Fybagh 0-3. Cromane 2-3; Fybagh 0-3.
Cromane 5-9; Kiltallagh 0-3. Fybagh 4-5; Glenbeigh 0-1
Glenbeigh 4-7; Kiltallagh 1-0.
Boys’ Semi-finals: Girls’ Semi-finals
Scoil Mhuire 3-3; Cromane 2-3. Scoil Mhuire 2-2; Cromane 1-0.
Glenbeigh 2-2; Kilgobnet 1-4. Fybagh 3-2; Kilgobnet 0-6.
Boys’ Final Girls’ Final
Scoil Mhuire 2-5; Glenbeigh 2-1. Fybagh 1-2; Scoil Mhuire 0-3.
Scoil Mhuire went to the Co. Finals on Sat. 27th April in John Mitchels Pitch. They lost in the semi-final to Tarbert N.S.
Munster Colleges Senior Football Championship (Corn Uí Mhuirí) 1995/’96
Rd. 1: Intermediate School 1-17; St. Colman’s 3-4.
Quarter-final: Intermediate School 4-11; Midleton CBS 0-8.
Semi-final on Sun. 25th Feb. at Austin Stack Park: Intermediate School 1-7; St. Brendan’s, Killarney 0-9.
Intermediate School (all Laune Rangers except where stated): Pat Healy (Glenbeigh), Jimmy Doyle (Beaufort), Fergal O Brien, Eanna O Malley (Beaufort), Eoin O Connell, John Sheehan, John Moriarty, Johnny Lynch (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-2), Shane Harmon (1-0), Mike Kelliher (Beaufort), Michael F. Russell (0-1), Garrath Sheehan, Pat Leahy (0-1), John O Connor (Beaufort) 0-2. Subs: Ryan Kinnerk (Dr. Crokes), Brendan Fitzgerald, Diarmuid O Sullivan (Beaufort), Michael Ahern, Tim Scannell (Listry), Eoin Clifford, John Ahern, Tim Moriarty (Beaufort), Tony Lyons, Donal O Shea (Beaufort), Jeremiah Moriarty (do.), Keith McKenna (John Mitchels).
Final on Sun. 24th March at Carrigadrohid: Intermediate School 2-11; Coláiste an Spioraid Naoimh 0-8.
That was the first time in the school’s history that the Munster Colleges’ Senior Championship was annexed. Brendan Twomey and Frank Walsh were the mentors. The game showed that Kerry had a new young star low on the horizon worth watching in Michael Francis Russell. Gaining 2-2 of the Killorglin score, he showed verve and style, as he made great use of the opportunities that presented themselves to him. His team-mates also recognised his worth and made sure that he was well supplied.
Intermediate School: Pat Healy, Jimmy Doyle, Fergal O Brien, Eoin O Connell, Eanna O Malley, John Sheehan, John Moriarty, Johnny Lynch (0-4), Pa O Sullivan (capt.) 0-2, Shane Harmon (0-1), Mike Kelliher, Michael F. Russell (2-2), Garrath Sheehan (0-1), Pat Leahy, John O Connor. Sub: Brendan Fitzgerald for J. O Connor, Ryan Kinnerk (Dr. Crokes) 0-1 for S. Harmon, Diarmuid O Sullivan (Beaufort) for P. Leahy, Enda Clifford, Michael Ahern, Tony Lyons, John Ahern, Eoin Clifford,
All-Ireland Semi-final on Sun. 31st March in the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick:
Intermediate School 4-12; St. Gerard’s, Castlebar 1-8.
Intermediate School: Pat Healy, Brendan Fitzgerald, Jimmy Doyle, Eoin O Connell, Eanna O Malley, John Sheehan, John Moriarty, Johnny Lynch, Pa O Sullivan, Pat Leahy (0-1), Michael Kelliher, Michael F. Russell (0-7, 3 frees), Ryan Kinnerk (0-1), Fergal O Brien (3-1), John O Connor (1-2). Subs: Michael Ahern for P. Healy, Eoin Clifford for J. Moriarty, Tony Lyons for F. O Brien.
All-Ireland Final on Sun. 28th April at Croke Park: Intermediate School 4-8; St. Patrick’s, Maghera 1-14.
“Pa O Sullivan was a star act at midfield and fetched and ran with unceasing effectiveness. He received ample assistance from his partner, Johnny Lynch, and between them they ensured a plentiful supply of ball for the forwards. Fergal O Brien donned the mantle of match-winner with his three thundering goals. He certainly gave fullback Paul Diamond a nightmare time of it and made this the sweetest day yet in his young footballing career. Michael F. Russell was another prime architect in this Killorglin triumph. The wing-forward produced some lovely flashes of football and the pity was that he was not allowed play football all through. In point of fact, centre halfback, Michael Kelly, who was switched on the Laune Rangers’ player, resorted to an amount of pulling and dragging, much of which went unpunished by referee Brian White. Garrath Sheehan made an invaluable contribution to victory with his two magnificent points in the final quarter. Shane Harmon was always in the thick of the action when he was introduced 10 minutes into the second half. John Sheehan was magnificent in defence, especially in the first half against the wind and in acting the soaring eagle in the late second half attacks on the Killorglin goal. The game reflected great credit on Brendan Twomey and Frank Walsh, who inspired their charges not to give up until the final whistle.”
Intermediate School: Pat Healy, Eoin O Connell, Jimmy Doyle, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, John Sheehan, Eanna O Malley, Pa O Sullivan (capt.) 0-3, Johnny Lynch (1-1), Michael F. Russell (0-2, 1 free), Mike Kelliher, Pat Leahy, Ryan Kinnerk, Fergal O Brien (3-0), John O Connor. Subs: Garrath Sheehan (0-2) for B. Fitzgerald (inj.), Shane Harmon for E. O Connell, Michael Ahern, Eoin Clifford, Tony Lyons.
Final at the beginning of May at Beaufort: St. Brendan’s, Killarney 3-13; Intermediate School 4-8.
Best for Killorglin were Pa Sheehan, Garrath Sheehan, Ken O Connor and Brian Healy.
Intermediate School: Colm Counihan (Dr. Crokes), Thomas Walsh, Eugene Courtney (Glenbeigh), John Ahern (Laune Rangers), John Mannix (Listry), Cian Foley (Laune Rangers), David Moroney (Cromane), Jimmy Doyle (Beaufort), Morgan Foley (Laune Rangers), Eoin Clifford (do.), Michael McGillycuddy (do.), Pa Sheehan (do.), Brian Healy (Glenbeigh), Kenneth O Connor (do.), Garrath Sheehan (Laune Rangers).
All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools’ Girls’ Junior Football Championship
Final on Wed. 17th April at Roscrea: Intermediate School Heywood, Laois
Intermediate School: Geraldine Doona, Vera O Reilly, Marlene O Sullivan, Niamh O Reilly, Jenny Johnston, Susan Joy, Grainne O Malley, Deirdre Dennehy (capt.), Virginia Doona, Geraldine Moriarty, Sarah Jane Moriarty, Bernie Breen, Ann Marie O Donoghue, Caroline Breen, Patricia Dennehy. Subs: Carmel Lynch, Kerry Lyons, Lisa Cronin, Brid O Malley, Eileen Costello, Maura O Sullivan.
Munster Colleges’ Senior Football Championship (Corn Uí Mhuirí) 1996/’97
Wed. 30th Oct. at Macroom: St. Fachtna’s, Skibbereen beat Intermediate School, Killorglin.
Intermediate School trailed by 1-3 to 1-1 at halftime. Only two players scored during the game, Sean O Sullivan 1-1 and Garrath Sheehan 0-2.
Munster U-16 Football Championship
As usual in that competition, Kerry entered two teams – North and South. The final was played as a curtain-raiser to the Munster Club Football final.
Rd. 1 on Sat. 23rd Nov. at Croagh, Co. Limerick: Kerry South 2-7; Waterford 1-5.
Scorers for Kerry South: Bob Foley (2-1), Kenneth O Connor (0-2), John Ahern (0-1), Johnny Clifford (0-1), Eoin Brosnan (0-1) and John Brosnan (0-1).
Semi-final on Sat. 23rd Nov. at Croagh: Kerry South 4-10; Cork City 0-5.
Scorers: Johnny Clifford (2-3), Sean O Sullivan (1-3), John O Donoghue (1-2), Kenneth O Connor (0-2)
Final on Sun. 1st Dec. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Cork County 1-8; Kerry South 0-9.
Kerry South: Kieran Cremin (Dr. Crokes), Eoin Flynn (Milltown/Castlemaine), Stephen O Sullivan (Skellig Rangers), Michael Burke (Kilcummin), Cian Foley (Laune Rangers), Derek Moynihan (Spa), James Jones (Dr. Crokes), John Brosnan (Gneeveguilla) 0-1, Paudie O Connor (Skellig Rangers) 0-1, Ronan O Connor (St. Michael’s/Foilmore), Kenneth O Connor (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Eoin Brosnan (Dr. Crokes) 0-3, John O Donoghue (Glenflesk), Johnny Clifford (St. Michael’s/Foilmore) (0-3), Sean O Sullivan (Cromane) 0-1. Sub: Hugh Murphy (Kenmare) for D. Moynihan, Tadhg Kelly (Fossa), Eugene Courtney (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Bob Foley (Laune Rangers), Brian Gleeson (Spa), Donal O Shea (Beaufort), Eric O Donoghue (Glenflesk). John Ahern (Laune Rangers) had been selected at left half-forward but was injured and unable to take his place.
Munster/All-Ireland Minor Football Championship
Coach/Trainer – Charlie Nelligan (Desmonds). Selectors – Mikey Sheehy (Austin Stacks), Sean Walsh (Moyvane), Junior Murphy (St. Mary’s), Derry Crowley (Glenflesk).
Rd. 1 on Tues. 23rd April at Tralee: Kerry 1-14; Clare 1-4.
Semi-final on Thurs. 11th July at Killorglin: Kerry 1-17; Waterford 0-6.
Midfielders Johnny Lynch and Noel Kennelly took control from an early stage and they were never seriously challenged in their domain. The Kerry defence was strong throughout, especially the fullback line of Pa Murphy, Mike McCarthy and Eoin O Connell.
Kerry: Kenneth O Keeffe (Rathmore), Pa Murphy (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Mike McCarthy (Kilcummin), Eoin O Connell (Laune Rangers), Joey McCormack, Tommy Griffin (Dingle), Tomás Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Johnny Lynch (Laune Rangers) capt., Noel Kennelly (Emmett’s) 0-1, William Harmon (Milltown/Castlemaine) 0-2, Michael D. Cahill (Rathmore) 0-1, Aodán Mac Gearailt (Gaeltacht) 0-2, Ian Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine), Gareth Clifford (Austin Stacks) 0-2, Liam Murphy (Gneeveguilla) 1-8, 7 frees. Subs: Bernard O Connor (St. Mary’s) 0-1 for I. Twiss, Michael O Dwyer (Waterville) for M.D. Cahill, M. Broderick for T. Ó Sé.
Final on Sun. 21st July at Páirc Uí Chaoimh: Cork 2-5; Kerry 3-9.
Kerry: Kenneth O Keeffe, Kenneth Leen (Austin Stacks), Mike McCarthy, Eoin O Connell, Paul McCarthy (Kilcummin), Tomás Ó Sé, Pa Murphy, Johnny Lynch (Capt.) 0-1, Tommy Griffin, William Harmon, Noel Kennelly (1-1), Liam Murphy (0-3, frees), Bernard O Connor (1-0), Gareth Clifford (1-3), Michael D. Cahill. Sub: Ian Twiss (0-1) for M. D. Cahill, Trevor McKenna (Finuge), Aodán Mac Gearailt (An Ghaeltacht), John Sugrue (Renard), Joey McCormack (Annascaul), Pat Healy (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Michael O Dwyer (Waterville), Breandán O Shea (Lispole), Michael Broderick (Desmonds).
All-Ireland Semi-final on Sun. 11th Aug. at Croke Park: Kerry 1-8; Mayo 0-9.
“Between them, Kenneth Leen, Mike McCarthy and Eoin O Connell conceded only one point from play in the whole game and refused to buckle under incessant pressure in the final minutes. The Connacht champions pumped in a series of high balls in search of a goal, but the tigerish trio never faltered and the determination etched on Eoin O Connell’s face in rebuffing one Mayo attack summed up the fullback line’s resolve. The greasy ball and slippery underfoot conditions certainly didn’t help the forwards and the Kerry midfield pairing of Johnny Lynch and Tommy Griffin fared no better. The Kerry duo midfielders clearly found it difficult to cope with the dreadful conditions. It was only when they went back to help their beleaguered defensive colleagues in the final minutes that they showed glimpses of their best form.”
Kerry: Kenneth O Keeffe, Kenneth Leen, Mike McCarthy, Eoin O Connell, Paul McCarthy, Tomás Ó Sé, Pa Murphy, Johnny Lynch (capt.), Tommy Griffin, William Harmon, Noel Kennelly (0-4, 2 frees), Liam Murphy (0-3, 1 free), Michael D. Cahill, Gareth Clifford (1-0), Bernard O Connor. Subs: Ian Twiss for M.D. Cahill, Aodan Mac Gearailt (0-1) for W. Harmon.
Final on Sun. 15th Sept. at Croke Park: Laois 2-11; Kerry 1-11.
“Brian ‘Beano’ McDonald gave Eoin O Connell a rare run around. Team captain, Johnny Lynch, failed to find his form and had to be replaced.”
Kerry: Kenneth O Keeffe, Kenneth Leen, Michael Mccarthy, Eoin O Connell, Paul McCarthy, Tomás Ó Sé, Pa Murphy, Johnny Lynch (capt.), John Sugrue (Renard) 0-1, Noel Kennelly (0-3, 1 free), Bernard O Connor, Liam Murphy (0-3, 1 free), Michael D. Cahill, Gareth Clifford, Ian Twiss (1-4). Subs: Aodan Mac Gearailt for J. Lynch, Martin Beckett (Dr. Crokes) for J. Sugrue (inj.), Kevin Lynch (Desmonds) for M.D. Cahill, Tommy Griffin, William Harmon, Trevor McKenna, Pat Healy, Michael Broderick, Enda Galvin.
Munster/All-Ireland U-21 Football Championship
Semi-final on Wed. 24th April at Páirc Uí Chaoimh: Cork 0-8; Kerry 2-14.
Liam Hassett made a huge impact, particularly at centre half-forward in the second half, where he roasted Cork pivot, Owen Sexton, before Sean Óg Ó hAilpín was moved back from midfield in a vain bid to curb the Laune Rangers’ man.
Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy (Dingle), Kieran O Driscoll (Annascaul), Brian McCarthy (Dr. Crokes), Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory), Killian Burns (Sneem), Chris Drummond (do.), Charlie McCarthy (Gneeveguilla), Dara Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Denis O Dwyer (Waterville) 0-1, Johnny McGlynn (Currow) 0-2, Liam Hassett (Laune Rangers) capt. 0-2, Ruairí O Rahilly (Ballymac) 0-1, James O Shea (St. Michael’s/Foilmore) 0-1, John Brennan (Desmonds ) 0-1, Dara Ó Cinnéide (Gaeltacht) 2-5, 3 frees. Subs: Gerry Murphy (Rathmore) 0-1, for J. O Shea, Stephen Wallace for J. Brennan.
Final on Sat. 4th May at Austin Stack Park: Kerry 3-14; Clare 0-6.
Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy, Kieran O Driscoll, Brian McCarthy, Morgan O Shea (Kerins O Rahillys), Killian Burns, Chris Drummond, Charlie McCarthy, Dara Ó Sé (0-1), William Kirby (Austin Stacks) 0-1, Denis O Dwyer, Liam Hassett (capt.) 0-4, 1 free, Ruairí O Rahilly, James O Shea (2-1), John Brennan (0-4), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-3, 1 free and 1 ‘45’). Subs: Brian Clarke (Dr. Crokes) 1-0 for J. Brennan, Gerry Murphy for D. Ó Cinnéide, Stephen Wallace for D. Ó Sé, Fergus O Connor (John Mitchels), Austin Constable (St. Mary’s), Jim Kelliher (Dingle), Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory).
All-Ireland Semi-final on Sat. 17th Aug. at Ennis: Kerry 3-9; Galway 0-12.
“In the 55th minute, tragedy struck for Galway when Clarke and Pa O Sullivan combined to put Mike F. Russell through. The Killorglin youngster dashed in from the left corner before firing a bullet-like shot across the face of the goal and, in an attempt to boot the ball away, Niall Fahy flashed it into his own net and, suddenly, Kerry had struck the front. Michael Francis Russell, when he came on, showed once again what a natural talent he is. His ball control and finishing ability were a delight to watch and Pa O Sullivan also caught the eye when he was introduced – two young players with very bright futures indeed.”
Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy, Kieran O Driscoll, Brian McCarthy, Morgan O Shea, Killian Burns, Chris Drummond, Charlie McCarthy, Dara Ó Sé, William Kirby, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), John Brennan (0-1), Ruairí O Rahilly (0-1), James O Shea (0-1), Brian Clarke (1-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-3, 2 frees). Subs: Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Finuge) 1-0 for C. McCarthy, Pa O Sullivan (Laune Rangers) for R. O Rahilly, Michael F. Russell (0-1) for J. O Shea. Captain, Liam Hassett was unable to play because of injury.
Final on Sun. 8th Sept. at Thurles: Kerry 1-17; Cavan 2-10.
“Michael F. Russell was another player to prove that he loves the big occasion and he turned limited possession to the maximum use. Liam Hassett also foraged relentlessly up front.”
Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy, Kieran O Driscoll, Brian McCarthy, Morgan O Shea, Killian Burns, Chris Drummond, Eamonn Fitzmaurice (0-1), Dara Ó Sé (0-2), William Kirby (0-1), Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Liam Hassett (capt.) 0-2, Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-3, frees), James O Shea (0-1), Brian Clarke (0-1), Michael F. Russell (0-3). Subs: John Brennan (1-2) for B. Clarke, Ruairí O Rahilly for J. Brennan, Jack Ferriter for J. O Shea, Pa O Sullivan, Charlie McCarthy.
Munster/All-Ireland Senior Football Championship
Trainer – Páidí Ó Sé. Selectors – Seamus Mac Gearailt, Bernie O Callaghan, Tom O Connor, Jack O Connor.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 19th May at Clonmel: Tipperary 1-7; Kerry 2-15.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Johnny O Driscoll, Anthony Gleeson, Mike Hassett, Charlie McCarthy (0-1), Sean Burke, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé, Johnny O Connell, Bingo Driscoll (0-2), Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea (capt.) 0-2, Geni Farrell (0-2), Maurice Fitzgerald, Dara Ó Cinnéide (1-6, 4 frees). Subs: Killian Burns for A. Gleeson, John Crowley (1-2) for J. O Connell.
Semi-final on Sun. 23rd June at Waterford: Waterford 0-8; Kerry 3-16.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Stephen Stack, Mike Hassett, Killian Burns, Charlie McCarthy, Johnny O Connell, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly (0-3), Bingo Driscoll (1-0), Maurice Fitzgerald (2-2, 1 pen.), Billy O Shea (capt.) 0-1, Geni Farrell, Liam Hassett (0-3), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-6, 4 frees). Subs: Liam O Flaherty for J. O Connell, Seamus Moynihan for C. McCarthy, Denis O Dwyer for B. O Shea.
Final on Sun. 21st July at Páirc Uí Chaoimh: Cork 0-11; Kerry 0-14.
“Billy O Shea played a real captain’s part in helping fashion this historic victory. The Killorglin man was as busy as a beaver all through and he covered acres of ground as he bored holes in the losers’ defence. Liam Hassett really blossomed when he moved out to the ‘40’ and his ability to create space caused no little panic in the Cork defence. Mike Hassett had some mighty duels with Colin Corkery and, even if the honours rested with the Nemo Rangers man, nevertheless, Hassett stuck manfully to his task. Joint men-of-the-match – Maurice Fitzgerald and Billy O Shea”.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Killian Burns (0-1), Mike Hassett, Stephen Stack, Charlie McCarthy, Sean Burke, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Seamus Moynihan, Dara Ó Sé, Bingo Driscoll (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-5, 4 frees, one 45), Billy O Shea (capt.) 0-2, Geni Farrell, Liam Hassett (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-3). Subs: John Crowley for S. Burke (inj.), Sean Geaney for B. Driscoll, Donal Daly for G. Farrell, Denis O Dwyer, John O Connell, Peter O Leary, Johnny O Driscoll, Morgan Nix, Liam Flaherty.
Semi-final on Sun. 11th Aug. at Croke Park: Mayo 2-13; Kerry 1-10.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Charlie McCarthy, Mike Hassett, Stephen Stack, Killian Burns, Sean Burke (1-0), Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, Seamus Moynihan, John Crowley, Maurice Fitzgerald (0-8, 6 frees), Billy O Shea (capt.), Geni Farrell, Liam Hassett, Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-1). Subs: Johnny O Driscoll for C. McCarthy, Brian Clarke for L. Hassett, Denis O Dwyer for J. Crowley.
Rd. 5 on Sun. 4th Feb. at Dungannon: Tyrone 0-10; Kerry 1-7.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Johnny O Driscoll, Mike Hassett, Morgan Nix, Stephen Stack, Sean Burke, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé, Seamus Moynihan (0-1), Bingo Driscoll, Billy O Shea (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (1-2), Jack Ferriter, Maurice Fitzgerald (0-1), Geni Farrell (0-1). Subs: James O Shea (0-1) for J. Ferriter, Tommy Byrne, William Kirby, Killian Burns and Peter O Leary.
Rd. 6 on Sun. 11th Feb. at Killarney: Kerry 2-13; Laois 0-6.
The Laune Rangers’ players, Mike Hassett, Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea and Tommy Byrne were rested due to the club’s involvement in the All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final on Sun. 18th Feb.
Rd. 7 on Sun. 25th Feb. at Ennis: Clare 0-11; Kerry 0-11.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Johnny O Driscoll, Morgan Nix, Killian Burns, Stephen Stack, Sean Burke (0-1), Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé (0-1), Seamus Moynihan, Bingo Driscoll (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-5, 2 frees), Jack Ferriter (0-1), James O Shea, Denis O Dwyer, Billy O Shea (capt.). Subs: Johnny O Connell (0-1) for D. O Dwyer, William Kirby for B. O Shea, Sean Geaney for J. O Shea.
Quarter-final on Sun. 31st March at Páirc Uí Chaoimh: Cork 2-14; Kerry 0-18.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Johnny O Driscoll, Sean Burke, Killian Burns, Stephen Stack (0-1), Mike Hassett, Charlie McCarthy, Dara Ó Sé, Seamus Moynihan, Johnny O Connell, John Crowley (0-1), Billy O Shea (capt.), Bingo Driscoll (0-2), Liam Hassett (0-2), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-9, 4 frees). Subs: Jack Ferriter (0-2) for L. Hassett, Morgan Nix for J. O Driscoll, Denis O Dwyer (0-1) for J. Crowley.
McGrath Cup (Munster Senior Football League)
Rd. 1 on Sun. 21st Jan. at Ardfinnan: Tipperary 1-8; Kerry 0-8.
That was Kerry’s first venture into that competition and ended in disaster, despite the fact that quite a number of first-team players were missing.
Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Johnny O Driscoll, Anthony Gleeson, Morgan Nix, Stephen Stack, Tommy Byrne, Eamonn Breen, William Kirby, Donal Daly, John O Connell (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-2, frees), Bingo Driscoll (0-2), Jack Ferriter, James O Shea, Denis O Dwyer (0-2). Subs: Geni Farrell (0-1) for J. Ferriter, Dara Ó Sé for D. Daly, Sean Burke for T. Byrne.
Final (home) on Sat. 5th Oct. at Austin Stack Park: Kerry 1-10; Cork 1-9.
Kerry: Peter O Leary, Stephen Stack, Brian McCarthy, Mike Hassett, Seamus Moynihan, Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (1-1, 1 pen.), Billy O Shea (0-1), James O Shea (0-3), Liam Hassett, Geni Farrell (0-3). Subs: Morgan O Shea for B. McCarthy, John Crowley for B. O Shea, William Kirby for D. Daly.
Final on Sun. 3rd Nov. at Ruislip: London 0-6; Kerry 5-17.
Kerry: Peter O Leary, Killian Burns, Morgan O Shea, Mike Hassett, Seamus Moynihan (0-1), Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Joe Daly, William Kirby, Denis O Dwyer (0-3), John Crowley (1-2), Pa Laide (0-5, 3 frees), Jack Ferriter, Donal Daly (1-1), Billy O Shea (capt.) 1-2. Subs: John Cronin (1-2) for J. Ferriter, Michael F. Russell (1-1) for B. O Shea, Barry O Shea for S. Moynihan.
Rd. 1 on Sun. 13th Oct. at Newbridge: Kildare 2-11; Kerry 1-13.
Kerry: Peter O Leary, Stephen Stack, Morgan O Shea, Mike Hassett, Seamus Moynihan, Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly, Denis O Dwyer, Dara Ó Cinnéide (1-8, 1 pen. and 3 frees), John Crowley (0-2), James O Shea, Liam Hassett, Geni Farrell (0-1). Subs: Killian Burns for S. Stack, William Kirby (0-1) for D. Daly, Pa Laide for D. O Dwyer.
Rd. 2 on Sun. 27th Oct. at Killarney: Kerry 1-12; Derry 0-10.
Michael F. Russell made his inter-county debut.
Kerry: Peter O Leary, Killian Burns, Brian McCarthy, Mike Hassett, Seamus Moynihan (0-2), Liam O Flaherty, Fergal Ó Sé, Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly, Denis O Dwyer (1-1), John Crowley (0-2), Billy O Shea (capt.), James O Shea (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-4, 3 frees), Geni Farrell. Subs: Pa Laide (0-1) for B. McCarthy, Michael F. Russell (0-1) for G. Farrell, William Kirby for D. Daly, Joe Daly (Milltown/Castlemaine), Declan O Keeffe, Jack Ferriter (Dingle).
Rd. 3 on Sun. 10th Nov. at Navan: Meath 0-10; Kerry 0-8.
Kerry: Peter O Leary, Killian Burns, Morgan O Shea, Mike Hassett (capt.), Seamus Moynihan (0-1), Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé, Joe Daly, Pa Laide (0-4, 3 frees), John Crowley (0-1), Denis O Dwyer, Billy O Shea (capt.) 0-1, Donal Daly, Michael F. Russell. Subs: Eamonn Fitzmaurice for E. Breen (inj.), Geni Farrell for J. Daly, John Cronin (0-1) for B. O Shea, William Kirby, Fergal Ó Sé, Declan O Keeffe..
Railway Cup (Football)
Final on Sun. 14th April at Newbridge: Leinster 1-13; Munster 0-9.
Munster: Kevin O Dwyer (Cork), Brian Corcoran (do), Mark O Connor (do), Stephen Stack (Kerry), Kieran O Sullivan (Cork), Sean Burke (Kerry), Brendan Rouine (Clare), Derry Foley (Tipperary), Dara Ó Sé (Kerry), Billy O Shea (do), Joe Kavanagh (Cork), Brendan Burke (Tipperary), Martin Daly (Clare), Colin Corkery (Cork), Dara Ó Cinnéide (Kerry). Subs: Mark O Sullivan (Cork) for S. Burke), Danny Culloty (Cork) for D. Ó Sé.
Co. Junior Hurling Championship
Final on Sun. 8th Sept. at Austin Stack Park: Kenmare ‘B’ 3-5; St. Mary’s 1-10.
St. Mary’s: Alan Quirke, Aidan Spillane (capt.), Jerry Foley, Donal Quirke, Frank Hill, DJ Curtin, Denis McDonnell, Jerry O Sullivan (1-2), Joe Kennedy (0-7, 4 frees), Robert Kennedy (0-1), Frank Shanahan, Cormac Foley, John O Connell, Richard O Connor, David Lynch. Subs: Billy O Sullivan for F. Shanahan, Darren White for J. O Connell, James Murphy for J O Connell.
Ref: Ger Neenan (Abbeydorney).
Ladies National Football League
Sun. 28th April at Blennerville: Kerry 3-7; Mayo 3-7.
Kerry: Andrea O Donoghue, Pat Murphy, Dara Sugrue, Norma Shanahan, Siobhan O Connor, Finola Ruane, Helen Enright, Marie Fitzgerald, Noreen Wamsley, Teresa Hoare, Emily Woods (0-1), Denise Shanahan, Teresa Ann Mahony (0-3, frees), Helena McElligott (0-3), Ruth Keane (2-0). Sub: Eileen Mulvihill (1-0) for E. Woods.
Jack Boothman, Cill Manntáin, was Uachtarán CLG. Annual Congress was held on 6th April in the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London. James Coffey was on the Kerry delegation.
Noel Walsh, An Clár, was elected Chairman of the Munster Council in Ennis, Donie Nealon, Tiobrad Árainn, was Secretary and Declan Moylan, Luimneach, was Treasurer.
The Annual Convention of the Kerry Co. Board was held in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, on Fri. 15th Dec. 1995. The following officers were elected: Chairman – Sean Kelly, Vice-Chairman – Liam Cotter, Rúnaí – Tony O Keeffe, Joint-Treasurers – James Coffey and John McMahon, Central Council Delegate – Gerald McKenna, Munster Council Delegates – Dave Geaney and Teddy O Sullivan, PRO – Eamonn O Sullivan, Youth Officer – Michael McCarthy, Cultural Officer – Derry Murphy, Development Officer – Sean Walsh. Jerome Conway led the Laune Rangers’ delegation.
Co. Senior Football Selection Committee (elected at Co. Board meeting on 3rd Oct. 1995): Páidí Ó Sé (Trainer – appointed), Séamus Mac Gearailt (Coach – appointed), Jack O Connor (96 votes), Bernie O Callaghan (86 votes), Tom O Connor (72 votes). Other candidates were Tom Fitzgerald (61 votes), Eamonn O Sullivan (45 votes).
Co. Minor Football Selection Committee: Charlie Nelligan (Desmonds) trainer, Mikey Sheehy (Austin Stacks), Sean Walsh (Moyvane), Junior Murphy (St. Mary’s) and Derry Crowley (Glenflesk).
James Coffey was appointed as Chairman of the Co. Fund-Raising Committee, whose brief was to organise a draw, ensure the collection of gates, organise the Church-gate collections and ensure the collection of fines and other monies outstanding to the Board.
Jerome Conway was PRO for Cumann na mBunscol Chiarraí.
Pat Lynch was elected onto the Kerry Co. Board GPC.
At the Co. Board meeting on Tues. 30th Jan. Jerome Conway gave an interim report for the District-Boards Sub-Committee. He outlined the brief, which was to look at the structures of the District Boards with a view to greater uniformity and size, to look at the question of an Urban Board and to look at the Co. Senior Football Championship, whether it could be played on a league basis. He outlined that they had taken a survey of county players, club players and clubs and the following observations were made: some District Boards were too big and some were too small, there should be fewer District Boards and there should be uniformity in size, competitions should be two-tiered, an Urban Board was both desirable and necessary, it was unacceptable for Senior Football Championship teams to be playing Novice Football Championship teams in District Board Championships, Tralee should be included in the Urban Board and, in relation to the Senior Football Championship, a knock-out format was most acceptable. There was a discussion on the interim report. The Sub-Committee felt that it needed permission from the Co. Committee to carry on in that vein, as it was recommending that changes would be made. It was proposed and seconded and passed unanimously that the Sub-Committee should continue its work.
At the Co. Board meeting on Tues. 26th Nov. the final report was placed before the Co. Committee. The following were the proposals:
- Firies and Listry should be given to the Mid-Kerry Board. Kenmare, Kilgarvan and Tuosist should play in East-Kerry. Templenoe should play in the South-Kerry Board area. The Castleisland District Board should be reformed. St. Brendan’s Board and West-Kerry should be amalgamated. Unfortunately, these particular findings had been high-jacked by a member of the sub-committee, John Kelly, Spa, who circulated the clubs with his own opinions as to what should be done – that confused the clubs, as they were not sure which version to believe. Equally, the Chairman of the Co. Board, despite having set up the sub-committee, failed to give support to its findings. After a long discussion, that section was withdrawn.
- An Urban Board should be set up and the present big-town clubs should withdraw from the District-Board competitions. That would allow the new Urban Board to organise competitions suitable for the big clubs. The principle of Urban competitions was accepted but, in fact, very little was done about it afterwards.
- The Co. Senior Football Championship should be played on a knock-out basis. That was accepted.
At the Annual Convention of Mid-Kerry Board on 31st Jan., the following officers were elected: Chairman – Kevin Griffin (Glenbeigh), the outgoing Chairman, Mike McCarthy, did not seek re-election; Vice-Chairman – John Dowling (Keel), Secretary – Peter Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine), Joint-Treasurers – Michael Healy (Cromane), Dan Carey (do.) and George Evans (Keel), the outgoing Joint-Treasurer, Edward Stack, did not seek re-election; PRO – Mike Carroll (Milltown/Castlemaine). The following motions were passed: 1. The previous year’s finalists were seeded to the semi-finals of the Mid-Kerry Senior Championship. 2. There were two groups in the Mid-Kerry Senior League. Group ‘A’ consisted of Laune Rangers, Beaufort and Milltown/Castlemaine. Group ‘B’ consisted of Keel, Glenbeigh/Glencar and Cromane. The winners of Group ‘A’ qualified for the final, while the runners-up of Group ‘A’ played the winners of Group ‘B’ in the semi-final.
The AGM of Laune Rangers Bord na nOg was held on Thurs. 22nd Feb. in the Manor Inn. The following members attended: James Ferris, Sean Moriarty, Michael Ahern, Denis O Neill, Shane O Sullivan, John Clifford, Jerry Houlihan, James Houlihan, Jerry Coffey, Brian O Shea, John O Dwyer, Jimmy Hayes, James Sheehan, Patsy Joy, Jerome Conway, Tommy Woods, Iraneus Looney, Leslie West, Bart Moriarty, Colm Dunlea, Siobhán Gallagher.
James Ferris was re-elected as Chairman, Sean Moriarty as Secretary and Michael C. Ahern as PRO. The Chairman complimented the club minor team for always being togged out correctly, with the correct togs and socks and he urged all mentors to insist on this with their teams. He also said that the club intended organising a coaching course for the mentors of the juvenile teams. The mentors for the various age-groups were identified. It was decided 1) to request Kerry Co. Council to put a footpath in place from the town to the JP O Sullivan Park, 2) that Pat Pigott would give coaching sessions in Douglas NS for 3/4 weeks in order to encourage more players from that area to play with Laune Rangers, 3) a non-regional 11-a-side U-12 parish league would be organised. James Sheehan reported that Gerard Murphy, Laune Rangers senior player, was willing to conduct coaching sessions for players of all ages and abilities.
On Thurs. 18th Jan. Laune Rangers Bord na nOg arranged a lecture/demonstration on Team First- Aid in Scoil Mhuire for the mentors of all the underage teams in the club.
On Fri. 26th Jan. Bord na nOg held a Social in the Fishery at which the medals for the previous year were presented to the winning teams.
At the Bord na nOg meeting of the club on Mon. 22nd April the following sponsorship deals were announced for the various juvenile teams: U-12A – Kingprint (£300 p.a. + set of jerseys), U-12B – Flynn’s Bus-hire (£200 p.a. + set of jerseys), U-14A – Champs Supermarket (£300 p.a. + set of jerseys), U-14B – O Grady’s Supermarket (£200 p.a. + set of jerseys), U-16A & U-16B – £1,000 p.a. The agreements were to run for 3 years. Brendan Breen, Langford Street, gave £200 towards an outing for the U-10 players and Denis Doyle gave £100 towards U-10 activities. Klinge Pharma and Liebig International donated £100 each towards Bord na nOg. It was decided to approach Pat O Shea, Co. Coach, with a view to organising a coaching course of the mentors of the various teams.
At a meeting of Laune Rangers Bord na nOg on Tues. 30th July, it was decided to approach Connolly Sports re the quality of the jerseys, as some of them had shrunk after having been washed. It was reported that the Vocational School’s grounds had been made available for underage training and/or games. The following perceived problems with the Mid-Kerry Board were highlighted: 1) Laune Rangers had no representative on the Co. National Schools’ teams, 2) the club had no representative on the U-14 Mid-Kerry team.
On 7th September, The Secretary of Laune Rangers Club, Tommy Woods, received a letter of resignation from James Ferris as follows: ‘Dear Secretary, I regret to inform you of my resignation from the position as Chairman of Bord na nOg from the above date. My reason is because I was overruled in a disciplinary decision I took for the general good of Laune Rangers’ Bord na nOg. Having been informed that William Byrne had grossly misbehaved towards his mentors at a game versus Glenbeigh and also towards his team-mates, I suspended him until further notice on Wed. 4th Sept. after the semi-final versus Beaufort. However, sometime on Saturday, Pat Pigott was informed by club Chairman, Jerome Conway, to play him if they so wished. I felt I should have been informed. Also, I do not think Laune Rangers should indulge in a policy of win at all costs.’ This had been a ‘wind-up’ on the part of Pat Pigott, as the Chairman of the club had given no such instruction, as is evidenced from the fact that William Byrne did not play in the Mid-Kerry final. When the Chairman of Bord na nOg realised his error, he relented and resumed his duties.
On Fri. 13th Dec/Sat. 14th Dec. Laune Rangers Bord na nOg, in conjunction with the Kerry Co. Board, organised a Foundation Level Football Coaching Course for all those involved and all those intending to become involved in the training of underage teams. It was a six-hour course, from 7pm to 10pm on Friday and from 10am to 1pm on Saturday. The course was given by Pat O Shea and John Kelliher and 20 mentors attended on Friday evening and 13 on Saturday morning.
Prior to Christmas, the Laune Rangers U-10, U-12 and U-14 teams had a evening out in the Fishery. Food and refreshments were sponsored by Killorglin Credit Union. Chairman of Bord na nOg, James Ferris, was MC and over one hundred young players attended and, together with their parents, they had a most enjoyable evening. The various medals were presented to the teams – U-14 Mid-Kerry Championship, U-12 Tralee District Board and U-12/U-10 Parish Leagues. On Mon. 6th Jan. 1997, The Fishery hosted and sponsored dinner for the minor and U-16 teams. Garrath Sheehan was nominated as minor player-of-the-year and the U-16 team was presented with its Mid-Kerry Championship medals.
Laune Rangers Club held 19 meetings during the year. The following matters were transacted:
Mon. 5th Feb. in the Manor Inn – It was agreed that the lights in the JP O Sullivan Park were a great success and of immense benefit to the players. The following motions were forwarded to the Mid-Kerry Convention: 1) that the 1995 senior football championship finalists be given a bye to the 1996 Championship semi-finals, 2) that the teams in the Mid-Kerry League be divided into two groups, Group 1 to be composed of Laune Rangers, Beaufort and Milltown/Castlemaine and Group 2 to be composed of Glenbeigh, Keel and Cromane and that semi-finals be played between the winners of Group 1 and the runners-up in Group 2 and the runners-up in Group 1 and the winners of Group 2. The delegates to the Convention were John Clifford, James Ferris, Tommy Woods and Maurice Corkery. Arrangements were made for the All-Ireland Senior Club Championship semi-final in Ennis. The Chairman reported that he was on the verge of concluding a sponsorship deal with Killorglin Credit Union for the next two matches and for a 3-year period thereafter. The sponsorship would include the senior ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, U-21 and minor teams. The Chairman thanked the Fishery for their sponsorship over the previous number of years. A date and venue for the Annual Social was discussed. Instead of inviting sponsors to the social, it was decided to have a special night-out for all the club sponsors, as happened in 1993. It was decided to invite all the successful teams to the social, senior ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, U-21 and minor. The medals would be presented before the actual meal. The membership cards were discussed – it was decided that the club crest would be put in the front with the club officers and two pages would be devoted to the club’s achievements. The Chairman informed the meeting that, for all future adult and minor games, the referees would have to be paid £20. He stressed the importance of taking gates to fund that.
Mon. 19th Feb. in the Manor Inn – The Chairman advised the meeting that a sponsorship deal had been struck with Killorglin Credit Union and it would expire at the end of 1998. Andrew Roche attended the meeting to give advice on the hiring of a train for the supporters for the All-Ireland Club Championship final. The train would have 13 carriages (600 seats), leave Killarney at 8am and leave Heuston Station at 6.30pm. The possibility of hiring a second train was also discussed. The Chairman informed the meeting that the team would travel on the regular train on Saturday and return on the regular train on Sunday. The team would stay in the Grand Hotel, Malahide. It was decided to hold a reunion of Killorglin people in the Garda Club, Harrington Street, on the Saturday night (This had been booked from the pervious Christmas!). It was reported that the Mid-Kerry Board had sought a subscription of £200 from each club towards the running costs of the Board. The club decided that, as Mid-Kerry had not contributed to the club’s run in the championship, the promised amount would be its contribution.
Mon. 26th Feb. in Bunker’s Bar – James Ferris reported that a registration fee of £50 was required for Mid-Kerry Bord na nOg. The meeting agreed to pay £100 in total to Mid-Kerry to cover the registration fee and the donation. Michael Foley reported that Declan and Breda Falvey had donated £300 towards the team’s preparations for the final. The Chairman informed the meeting that the chartered train would be a 588 seater, costing £7,000. It would depart Killarney at 7.30am and arrive at Connolly Station at 11.00am, depart Connolly at 6.30pm and arrive at Killarney at 10.00pm. The meeting agreed to charge adults £20, students £10 and children would be free. The Chairman informed the meeting that the team would travel from Farranfore on Sat. The fee per person was £20 (normally £29), two carriages had been booked and the team would transfer to the Grand Hotel, Malahide by Dublin Bus. The question of chartering another train was left in abeyance. Michael Foley informed the meeting that Jerry Houlihan’s premises in Upper Bridge Street was available to the club for use as a shop for the dispensing of club flags, head-bands jerseys etc. It was also decided to pre-sell tickets for the dance in the Garda Club from the shop. The Secretary reported that 250 tickets had been in circulation for the Cookery Night/Hair Styling in the CYMS in conjunction with the local branch of the ICA. A target of 400 tickets was agreed, in order to make the project worth-while.
Mon. 4th March in Bunker’s Bar – The Chairman informed the meeting that the time of departure of the special train had been slightly altered to 7.50am, arriving in Dublin at 11.10am and departing Dublin at 5.40pm. A second train had been chartered, departing Killarney at 8.10am, arriving at Connolly Station at 11.25am and departing Connolly Station at 5.50pm. The Chairman informed the meeting that Connolly’s representative had been very lax in his approach. However, juvenile jerseys would be available at £11. The Secretary reported that there had been a high level of interest expressed in the Sat. night dance in the Garda Club. The Garda Club would look after the amplification for the night and many offers of help had come in from Killorglin people living in Dublin. It was decided to request the Kerryman to print the Killorglin Notes in the North and South editions of the Kerryman for the following two weeks. The possibility of videoing the whole week-end was favourably received. About 250 tickets had been sold for the night-out in the CYMS. Ger Counihan called for a greater effort to sell tickets, as the venture could be most successful. It was reported that Pauline Moroney had done tremendous work in the making of club flags for sale.
Mon. 11th March in Bunker’s Bar – The Chairman reported that a problem had arisen with regard to the Credit Union sponsorship – a letter had been received from Croke Park informing that the Credit Union logo could not be worn on the club’s jerseys as it would be in breach of the agreement that Croke Park had with AIB, the sponsors of the competition. Agnes Foley, Manager of Killorglin Credit Union and Aidan Gannon, manager of Killorglin Branch AIB, had done an amount of work to overcome that problem and agreement had been reached between the local Credit Union and the local AIB. All that was then required was for Croke Park to agree. The availability of tickets for the second train had to be publicised in Kerry Radio and any other means. Merchandise would be on sale by the Finance Committee on the trains, while individuals would sell lotto tickets. Mary McBride (formerly Crowley) had agreed to compere at the fashion show in the CYMS, while the hall was given free of charge. The Newmarket Pipe Band was booked for the 17th March home-coming (£250). Paudie Herlihy was booked to do a video of the occasion (£480). Connolly’s had agreed to sponsor jerseys, togs and socks for the team. A donation of £200 was received from The Castle Heights (Bernie O Riordan) and £200 from Declan Crowley. The meeting decided to support the appeal for the Flynn family, Listry (£25).
Sat. 23rd March in the Manor Inn – The Chairman thanked the Secretary and Aidan Gannon for sorting out the problem of the Credit Union logo for the final. He also praised the players, trainer and selectors for the performance in Crokes Park, saying that it had been an historic and emotional day for all. He also thanked the great workers in the club for all they had done to make the occasion such a success. A letter had been received from the Mid-Kerry Board demanding the outstanding £100, threatening that the Laune Rangers club would be debarred from competition if it was not paid. The Chairman reported that he spoken to the Chairman of the Board, Kevin Griffin, who had said that Laune Rangers should pay the outstanding money and, simultaneously, apply for a grant for the preparations for the All-Ireland final, which would be favourably received. A letter of congratulations was also received from the Mid-Kerry Board. James Ferris informed the meeting that a registration fee of £250 was required by Kerry Bord na nOg – agreed. It was generally accepted that CIE had done a good job over the weekend – a letter of thanks, including areas of concern, would be written. The Cookery night netted £1,881.85 – £250 was given to the ICA. Myles and Finbarr Coffey were thanked for their efforts on the Saturday night in the Garda Club.
Mon. 15th April in the Manor Inn – It had been decided to allow the Intermediate School to sell lotto tickets to help them with their expenses for the All-Ireland Colleges’ Final. There was a mix-up in the payment of the referee for the Co. League game versus Desmonds ‘B’ and a system was put in place to avoid a similar occurrence. The Chairman congratulated Mike Hassett for being chosen as sports-star of the week, Billy O Shea for being chosen as personality of the month and John Evans for being chosen as manager of the month. Ways of improving the membership of the club were discussed and a direct debit system was mooted. It was agreed that Liam Shannon had done an excellent job with membership but it was felt that he needed some help, particularly at Bord na nOg level. Michael O Reilly’s request to transfer to Beaufort was denied, as he was ineligible to do so.
Mon. 29th April in the Manor Inn – The Chairman congratulated the Intermediate School on winning the Hogan Cup. The meeting decided to object to the regrading to ‘B’ status of Linus Burke, Alan O Connor and Jamie Courtney of Milltown/Castlemaine and Anthony Breen, Beaufort, as all of those players had played in the Mid-Kerry Senior Championship in 1995 and would most likely do so again in 1996. It was reported that the Intermediate School had sold 950 lotto tickets and was given £220 by way of donation. It was decided to get Mícheál O Shea, Castlegregory, to do a survey of the surface of the pitch, which had been giving continuous trouble. It was also decided to arrange a meeting with Austin O Reilly, Principal of the Vocational School, with a view to resurrecting the discussions, which had taken place approximately 8 years previously, concerning a joint effort to develop the Vocational School grounds. Arrangements were given for the U-12 and Senior teams’ trip to Salthill. 42 U-12’s and 18 senior players were going and the game was arranged for Mon. 6th May at 2.30pm. James Ferris informed the meeting that a very successful campaign had been conducted by his Board in securing sponsorship for the various juvenile teams. The Fishery, Champs, Londis, King-print and Flynn’s Bus Hire had agreed to sponsor teams. Klinge, Liebig and Brendan Breen had agreed to sponsor days-out for the juvenile teams. He reckoned that the sponsorship was worth £2,200 per year for three years.
Mon. 13th May in the Manor Inn – Michael Ahern gave an account of the resoundingly successful trip to Salthill for the U-12 teams. He was high in his praise of the facilities and mentors in Salthill. He particularly praised Jimmy Hayes for volunteering to stay overnight with Davin Foley, who had developed appendicitis during the trip. A deputation was arranged to meet with the sports-people in the Vocational School with a view to arranging to have training and games played there. The club would drain and develop the field if an agreement could be reached. The deputation consisted of the Chairman, Secretary, Michael Foley, John Evans, Gerard Murphy and Mike Hassett. The Secretary and Treasurers were requested to draw up a list of sponsors to be thanked for their support.
Mon. 10th May in the Manor Inn – Arrangements were made for the Co. Senior Football Championship match versus Annascaul, as follows: Ambulance – Patrick O Shea, score-board – Donie Griffin, pitch-gate – Johnny Galvin, referee – Bart Moriarty, programme – Colm Dunlea. It was decided to allow cars into the field in order to take the pressure off the laneway at the western side of the field.
Mon. 8th July in the Manor Inn – Laune Rangers’ Golf Classic was scheduled for Dooks Golf-Club (£1,000 + VAT) for 30th May 1997. Arrangements were made for the upcoming Munster Minor Football Championship in the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Kerry v Waterford, as follows: score-board painting and flags of the counties – Matty Cahill, outside the wall parking – Matty Cahill and Jerry O Sullivan, dressing-rooms – Jerry O Sullivan, ambulance and programmes – SEcretary, pitch gate – Jim Galvin, referee – Bart Moriarty, benches for the substitutes – Chairman and Secretary, members’ gate – Liam Shannon. The Secretary was requested to order a sign, stating ‘Strictly no parking beyond this point’ and have it erected at the top of the laneway at the western side of the field. The senior selection committee was ratified for the remainder of the season. It was decided to appoint Michael O Shea as Assistant PRO, who would publish information on the ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ teams and put up posters containing fixtures.
Tues. 3rd Sept. in the Manor Inn – Callanfersy Pier Rowing Club gave a donation of £20. Peter Lyons’ summer camp realised £80 profit. Collectors were appointed for the Kerry Co. Board Church Gate Collection.
Mon. 23rd Sept. in the Manor Inn – The Chairman informed the meeting that £8,000 was due from Killorglin Credit Union by way of sponsorship. It was agreed by all that the lotto was hardly worth running with the small amount of money accruing from it. A greater effort was required to drive the venture. With the Co. Final looming, ways of raising money were discussed. Guess-the-score-cards for the Co. Final would be printed and distributed. Local businesses would be canvassed for support. The Finance Committee agreed to stay in place and Pat Pigott agreed to lend a hand in that regard. The Chairman read a letter of resignation from James Ferris, Chairman Bord and nOg and U-12 team trainer. Apparently, William Byrne (U-14 player) had been disciplined by Laune Rangers’ Bord na nOg but Patsy Joy (U-14 selector) had played the player in a game in Glenbeigh, saying that the senior Chairman had cleared the player to play. Pat Pigott (U-14 trainer) denied that the senior Chairman had cleared William Byrne to play. The Chairman, Bart Moriarty and Michael Ahern appealed to James Ferris to reconsider his resignation. The Chairman congratulated the senior team players and mentors on again reaching the Co. Final.
Tues. 1st Oct. in the Manor Inn – The lotto was again discussed, Jimmy Hayes suggesting that the parish should be divided up and sellers identified in each area. Michael Ahern suggested that standing orders should be set up to facilitate payment of membership fees. James Ferris reconsidered his resignation on condition that the senior Chairman would attend a Bord na nOg meeting and explain their responsibilities to both players and mentors. Arrangements were made for decorating the town prior to the Co. Final. Maurice Corkery agreed to approach Jerry Houlihan for the use of his premises as a club shop on two weekends prior to the Co. Final. 100 medium jerseys were available for sale, 1,500 mugs and key-rings. Michael Ahern volunteered to order 100 caps. The club’s preferred referees for the Co. Final were Tommy Sugrue, Maurice O Sullivan and Danny Enright, in that order. The Chairman congratulated the ‘B’ team on retaining the Molyneaux Cup and he also congratulated the trainer, Ger Counihan, and selectors Maurice Corkery and Michael O Shea.
Mon. 7th Oct. in the Manor Inn – The Chairman reported that Bill McSwiney had offered to donate £1,000 and his own labour to install storage heaters in the dressing-rooms. A long discussion took place on the damage caused to Flynn’s bus while transporting the U-14 team to a match. Eventually, it was decided to contact the parents of all the players, explaining that the club would not provide a bus to the Tralee District Board U-14 Final on Sun. 13th Oct. and requesting the parents to transport the players. Jerry Houlihan’s premises were not available as a shop but Ger Counihan offered his new premises for the purpose.
Mon. 14th Oct. in the Manor Inn – Fund-raising was the main topic. The club had purchased team pictures from the Kerryman and began to sell them at £75 each. The shop was open for the sale of club merchandise. It was decided to sell lines in the Co. Final score-cards in Killarney, Beaufort and Killorglin. The business people would be called to during the week – the town was divided up with collectors appointed to each area. With regard to the U-14 saga, not one parent replied, volunteering to take the players to the game, which, in any event, had been later called off.
Mon. 4th Nov. in the Manor Inn – The Secretary would check if Lottery Funding could be obtained for the field development. The Chairman thanked Killorglin Credit Union for the wonderful function, which it hosted in the Fishery for the All-Ireland Club winning team. Arrangements were made for the Munster Club Championship match v Rathgormack in Dungarvan. James Ferris reported that he had a large group willing to take the Foundation Level Coaching course, which was to he held.
Mon. 18th Nov. in the Manor Inn – A short discussion took place on the merits of Co. Junior Football League. It was decided to send two motions to Annual Convention, as follows: 1) That there would be promotion from the Junior League to Div. 5 of the Co. League. 2) That the appropriate rule be altered to allow for an extra substitution of a goalkeeper for a goalkeeper. James Sheehan had requested that the club would pay something towards a weights programme, which the minor panel had begun in Killarney. A decision was deferred. The report of the Sub-committee examining the District Boards was perused and it was generally felt that it was a good idea that Laune Rangers would be leaving Mid-Kerry, although Michael Ahern expressed the view that Laune Rangers’ players at U-14 and U-16 levels benefited from playing with Mid-Kerry in the Inter-District-Board Championship. The remainder of the meeting was taken up with preparation for the pending Munster Club Football Championship replay versus Rathgormack in Killorglin. Michael O Shea volunteered to place a sensor light at the entrance gate to the field near the dressing-rooms.
Mon. 25th Nov. in the Manor Inn – The Chairman congratulated the senior team and mentors on winning the ‘battle’ against Rathgormack in Killarney. He regretted that the game had to be moved from Killorglin but there had been no choice as the J.P. O Sullivan Park had been waterlogged. The Chairman undertook to complain to the Munster Council at the standard of refereeing in the game. The Secretary reported that price for draining, sanding etc. of the pitch was £20,000. The meeting decided to proceed and to obtain a suitable alternative field while the work was in progress.
One officers’ meeting was, also, held during the year.
Fri. 15th Nov. – The meeting was called to discuss a letter, which had been received from Killorglin Credit Union and signed by a Carol O Shea (Mrs.), Secretary. At the outset, the Chairman observed that the letter had been most un-Credit- Union-like, as he had found Agnes Foley and Michael Murphy very accommodating. The meeting proceeded to examine the letter, point by point.
1) Credit Union logo to appear on headed paper, reverse side of the lotto tickets – that had not been in the agreement. The club accepted that it had failed to mention Killorglin Credit Union in 2 programmes. The club had asked for space in the Co. Final programme but had been informed that all the space had been taken up.
2) Signs in the J.P. O Sullivan Park – the Chairman explained that the Co. Planning Officer had stopped the work on the old dressing-rooms, which had led to the decrepit appearance of the wall over one of the Credit Union signs. The other Credit Union sign had not been erected, as the club had not been sure whose responsibility it had been to frame it.
3) Photographs in the local newspaper – the Chairman explained that arrangements had been made with the Kerryman to take some photographs on the previous Thurs. night during the press-night. However, no photographer showed up. However, Michelle Cooper-Galvin (photographer) arrived on Sunday unannounced. John Evans (trainer) had arranged for some extra players to be present to make up the numbers for a full-scale game. Some of those extra players did not have jerseys with the Credit Union logo and unfortunately they were photographed and appeared in the paper.
4) Minor captain’s speech – three officers said that they thought that he had thanked the Credit Union.
5) The club cannot control the Press. The club Chairman or PRO had not been informed of a photo-call. The Finance Committee had not been at the function hosted by the Credit Union – that was a matter for the club to decide.
The Chairman stated that the Killorglin Credit Union had been very generous sponsors, with mutual benefit. However, it was agreed that the letter had been very badly researched and it was proposed to meet with the officers of the Credit Union on the matter.
A letter from William A. Crowley, Solicitor, dated 24th March, confirmed that the following were the Trustees of the JP O Sullivan Park: Mícheál Ó Ruairc, James Coffey, Patrick Crowley, Jerome Conway, James Galvin, Eamonn Crowley and John Foley.
The following members attended the club meetings during the year: Tommy Woods (19), Jerome Conway (19), Liam Shannon (17), Michael Foley (17), Matty Cahill (16), Michael O Shea (14), John Clifford (14), Jim Galvin (13), Maurice Corkery (13), James Coffey (13), Bart Moriarty (13), James Ferris (12), Bernadette Corkery (9), Batty Foley (9), Johnny Galvin (8), Michael Ahern (5), Ger Counihan (3), Mary Griffin (3), Timmy Moroney (3), James Sheehan (2), Jimmy Hayes (2), Edso Crowley (1), Breda Falvey (1), Gemma Ashe (1). There were two officers’/officials’ meetings also held, at which the following attended: Jerome Conway 2), Tommy Woods (2), Liam Shannon (2), Michael Foley (2), Bart Moriarty (2), Batty Foley (2), Jim Galvin (1), Michael O Shea (1), Bernadette Corkery (1), John Clifford (1), James Coffey (1), Ger Counihan (1), John Griffin (1).
Laune Rangers, in conjunction with Killorglin ICA, held a fund-raising venture in the CYMS Hall on Tues. 12th March. Chef Paul O Neill gave a cookery demonstration. Regina Horgan gave a demonstration of ‘colour me beautiful’, while hair-styling was in the capable hands of Pat Taaffe. The night kicked off with a wine and cheese reception. £1,881.85 was the net profit, £250 of which was given to the ICA.
There was consternation in the week preceding the All-Ireland Club final when a letter from Croke Park indicated that the club could not have the Credit Union logo on its jerseys as such would contravene the agreement that Croke Park had with the sponsors of the Club Championship, AIB. There were frantic discussions between the club and the Credit Union. Agnes Foley, manager of the Credit Union demanded permission from the local AIB manager, Aidan Gannon, for the club to wear the Credit Union logo on the day of the final, threatening to withdraw its assets (in excess of £1m) from the bank. The bank readily agreed. Tommy Woods was dispatched to Dublin to convey that message to Croke Park and, having met with Liam Mulvihill, Ard-Stiúrthóir, who said that he couldn’t care less what logo the club wore, the matter was resolved.
In May, Ian Rogers transferred to Laune Rangers.
The untimely death of Patrick Purcell, Douglas (aged 14), occurred on 26th July. The mark of respect, as shown by the guard-of-honour formed by the Laune Rangers’ young players for the removal to the church on Sat. 27th July and to Dromavalla Cemetery on Sunday, together with the cancellation of all underage games involving the club at that weekend, was a salute to the young boy’s heroic struggle with his prolonged illness. The royal blue jersey of Laune Rangers on the coffin reminded all of his days playing football.
The following Kerry U-16 panel attended Ogpheil na Mumhan at the University of Limerick: Gerard Sheehan (Gneeveguilla), Ronan O Connor (Ballyduff), Michael Burke (Kilcummin), Michael Hogan (Austin Stacks), Sean O Sullivan (Cromane), John Ahern (Laune Rangers), Johnny Clifford (St. Michael’s), Liam Keane (Emmett’s), Stephen O Sullivan (Skellig Rangers), Kieran O Sullivan (Emmett’s), Eugene Courtney (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Paudie O Connor (Skellig Rangers), Brian Dineen (Kerins O Rahillys), Tadhg Kelly (Fossa), Brendan Dorgan (Lispole), Marc Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Derek Moynihan (Rathmore), Keith Moynihan (Annascaul), Kevin Lynch (Desmonds), Nathan McDonnell (Kerins O Rahillys) and Denis Kiely (Tarbert).
Peter Lyons refereed the following games, amongst others, for the Mid-Kerry Board:
SFL Rd. 3 on Sun. 10th March at Beaufort: Beaufort 0-9; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-7.
SFL Semi-final on Sat.13th April: Milltown/Castlemaine 1-6; Glenbeigh/Glencar 0-9.
SFL semi-final replay on Sun. 21st April: Milltown/Castlemaine 2-5; Glenbeigh/Glencar 1-4.
MFL Rd. 2 on Wed. 31st July at Glenbeigh: Glenbeigh/Glencar 6-13; Cromane 1-1.
MFL Rd. 3 on Wed. 11th Sept. at Beaufort: Beaufort defeated Milltown/Castlemaine.
MFL Rd. 4 on Wed. 4th Sept. at Cromane: Milltown/Castlemaine defeated Cromane.
MFL Rd. 5 on Sat. 28th Sept. at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine 0-13; Keel 1-5.
MFC Final on 14th Dec: Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-8; Milltown/Castlemaine 0-12.
Patrick O Shea refereed the following games, amongst others, for the Mid-Kerry Board:
SFL Rd. 3 on Sun. 10th March at Beaufort: Beaufort 0-9; Milltown/Castlemaine 1-7.
Sn. ‘B’ Champ. on Tues. 7th May at Milltown: Mill/Castlemaine ‘B’ 0-6; Glenbeigh/Glencar ‘B’ 0-10.
Sn. ‘B’ Champ. on Tues. 28th May at Keel: Keel ‘B’ drew with Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’.
MFL Rd. 1 on Wed. 17th July at Glenbeigh: Glenbeigh/Glencar drew with Milltown/Castlemaine.
MFL play-off on 22nd Sept: Milltown/Castlemaine 2-10; Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-6.
As was usual, Laune Rangers (Mary Clifford) organised its own Scór na nÓg competition in Scoil Mhuire on Fri. 1st November. The adjudicators were Frank and Eileen Switzer. The following qualified to represent the club in the Mid-Kerry Scór na nOg finals:
Figure Dancing – Ann Marie Cahillane, Gráinne O Connor, Caragh O Connor, Michelle Fallon, Ciara Foley, Karen McGillycuddy, Sandra Joy and Susan Joy.
Solo Singing – Muireann Clifford. Recitation – Maura Foley.
Ceol Uirlise – Edward Looney, Muiris Crowley, Eve Griffin, Siobhán Joy and Muireann Clifford.
Novelty Act – Susan Joy, Sandra Joy, Caitriona O Connor, Ciara Foley, Michelle Fallon, Caragh O Connor and Gráinne O Connor.
Question-time – Eoin Clifford, Seamus Galvin and Padraig Clifford.
Ballad Group – Cora Conway, Claire Foley, Edel Conway, Muireann Clifford and Sharon Langston.
Set Dance – Colin O Sullivan, Shane Ahern, Edward Looney, Andrew Foley, Bernadette O Sullivan, Siobhán Sweeney, Caroline Clifford and Orla Sweeney.
Both the Question-time team, Ballad Group and the Instrumental Music reached the Co. Finals in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, on Sun. 15th Dec. The question-time team qualified for the Munster Final where they came second after an epic battle. It took five rounds of six-mark team questions to separate Laune Rangers from the winners. In all 27 questions were asked and Laune Rangers answered 24 of them correctly, while the winners answered 25 correctly. For a nail-biting forty minutes, the Kerry supporters were on the edges of their seats and all present in the hall were in agreement that it was a pity that both teams could not have gone through the All-Ireland final.
On Sat. 2nd Nov. in the Fishery, Laune Rangers, All-Ireland Club Champions, were guests of honour at a most enjoyable function, hosted by the club’s main sponsor, Killorglin Credit Union. The Chairman of Killorglin Credit Union, Dermot Murphy, said that the Credit Union was delighted to be part of the great success of the Laune Rangers’ teams. Many of its members were members of Laune Rangers and many of the Laune Rangers Club were members of the Credit Union. He paid tribute to the players and the team manager, John Evans, to the selectors and officers who were doing so much for the game in the parish. He congratulated the various players who represented the club on the county teams and hoped that the Sam Maguire Cup would rest on the banks of the Laune in 1997.
Laune Rangers Club Chairman, Jerome Conway, thanked Killorglin Credit Union for its generous sponsorship, which in no small way was responsible for the All-Ireland victory. He paid tribute to the Credit Union for its tremendous interest in the affairs of the Laune Rangers Club and he hoped that the Credit Union would benefit extremely well from it. He thanked the players for their wonderful response to that great man in charge, John Evans, and his fellow selectors, Patsy Joy and John Griffin. He said they had given it everything since March 1995 and he hoped that, when the team goes for its long-earned holiday in January, it would go as Munster Champions 1996.
Team manager, John Evans, spoke of the great spirit of the team and he thanked Killorglin Credit Union for its great interest in the team and the club. He thanked it for the wonderful function in the team’s honour and assured the Credit Union that the players would do all in their power to retain the Munster and All-Ireland titles.
Agnes Foley, on behalf of Killorglin Credit Union, presented each member of the panel, the selectors and various officers with a beautiful framed photo of the All-Ireland Club Champions, officers and selectors, and team-captain, Gerard Murphy, was also presented with a special piece of crystal, suitably engraved. Michael Murphy of Killorglin Credit Union was MC for the night and the celebrations went on until the early hours.
Pa O Sullivan, captain of the Killorglin Intermediate School, which won the All-Ireland Colleges’ Senior Football Championship (Hogan Cup) in Croke Park, was chosen as Kerry Sports Star for the month of April. In honouring O Sullivan, the adjudicators intimated that they were recognising the feat of the team as a whole, as well as the backroom team. Pa O Sullivan received the award at Killarney races on Sun. 12th May, following lunch in the Gleneagle Hotel. In accepting the award, O Sullivan said that he was accepting it on behalf of a great bunch of lads. ‘I was lucky enough to be captain of a super team,’ he said. He paid warm tribute to the trainers of the team, Brendan Twomey and Frank Walsh. ‘It couldn’t have been done without them and they deserve an awful lot of credit,’ he said. He also paid tribute to school principal, Joe O Dwyer.
MC at the lunch was Weeshie Fogarty, a member of the adjudicating panel. He described Killorglin’s achievement as simply outstanding and said that they had demonstrated everything that was good in Kerry football – great skill, brilliant point-kicking, brilliant goal-scoring and a very high level of fitness. ‘This was the kind of achievement that we will never again see in our lifetime,’ he said.
Joe O Dwyer said that he was very proud of the achievements of the school’s footballers and he could not put into words how he felt in Croke Park when they won the All-Ireland Colleges’ title. ‘It was a wonderful achievement and reward for a tremendous amount of hard work,’ he said. ‘The enthusiasm in evidence all the way through was simply incredible.’
Brendan Twomey, joint-trainer of the Killorglin team, thanked the adjudicating panel for choosing Pa O Sullivan and said that they had made a really excellent choice. It would be hard to find a more genuine player and he had done the Killorglin school, and every one of them, very proud.
The Kerry Sports-Star Banquet was held in the Gleneagle Hotel on Tues. 17th December. The various monthly winners received their awards from guest of honour, Mick O Dwyer. As well as the monthly winners, there were the various other special awards, which were presented by Maurice O Donoghue, with Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh as MC for the night. The Youth award went to Michael F. Russell, the outstanding Laune Rangers’ footballer. Pa O Sullivan also received an award as Captain of the Intermediate School, Killorglin, in their historic first Hogan Cup victory. The September award went to Liam Hassett, who captained the Kerry U-21 football team to their second All-Ireland in-a-row. It was a great night all round for Laune Rangers, as Gerard Murphy received the overall Sports-Star of the Year for his exploits with his club, particularly his captaining of the side in their All-Ireland Club Championship victory on St. Patrick’s Day. He received a standing ovation following the presentation and, in his usual modest way, he thanked the three sponsors (The Gleneagle Hotel, The Kerryman and Murphy’s Brewery), paid tribute to all his team-mates, to his club and especially chairman, Jerome Conway, the officers and to team coach/manager/trainer, John Evans, and his co-selectors, Patsy Joy and John Griffin. The parish and town of Killorglin were well represented at the function and Laune Rangers great sponsors, Killorglin Credit Union, were present in force. Yes, it was a great night for Laune Rangers and for all associated with the team and the club.
At the end of the year, Eamonn Horan, of the Kerryman, Liam Higgins and Weeshie Fogarty, of Radio Kery, chose their team of the football championship: Peter Lyons (Laune Rangers), Killian Burns (Sneem), Fergal Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), Morgan O Shea (Kerins O Rahillys), Mike Cooper (Dr. Crokes), Mike Hassett (Laune Rangers), Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory), Dara Ó Sé (An Ghaeitacht), Tommy Byrne (Laune Rangers), Joe Shannon (do.), Roland Neher (Dr. Crokes), Sean Culloty (Legion), Sean Geaney (Dingle), Liam Hassett (Laune Rangers), Michael F. Russell (do.).
At the end of the year, Murt Murphy of Kerry’s Eye, chose the following:
“Young Sports-Star of the Year – Michael F. Russell, Laune Rangers, for his poise, natural ability and footballing brain and all round contribution to Laune Rangers’ magnificent year and Intermediate School, Killorglin. He is a player of precocious talent and, as such, is unrivalled in the footballing fields of Kerry. He is bound for the top in the future. An affable, unassuming young man, he has what it takes and some of his goals, points and moves this year with Laune Rangers and with the Kerry U-21 side were some of the highlights of the year for those who watch Gaelic Football with a passion.
Top Sports-Star of the Year – Tommy Byrne.
Top Coach of the Year – John Evans.
Top Chairman of the Year – Jerome Conway.
Goal of the Year – Billy O Shea’s in the All-Ireland Club Final in Croke Park when, from wing-back, he motored up field and took a return pass from Liam Hassett to rattle the Éire Óg net and put the game out of sight.
Save of the Year – Peter Lyons’ against Owen O Mahony (Clonakilty) with three minutes to go at a vital stage in the Munster Club Football Championship Final. He also made some outstanding saves in the semi-final against Rathgormack and in the Co. Championship semi-final and final.”
He also voted Maura Tuohy as the fourth best supporter in the county.
In reviewing the sporting year in the county, Eamonn Horan wrote the following article in the Kerryman: “Few club teams have enjoyed such glittering success in recent years as the mighty men of Laune Rangers. Two years ago, they suffered a shattering defeat in the county semi-final at the hands of Dr. Crokes and not a few people said that was going to be the end of the road for them.
But they were back to take the county title last year and that opened the gateway to participation in the club championship in the higher echelons of the game. Tremendous victories over Bantry Blues and Claughaun of Limerick booked them a place in the Munster final and here they came up against Moyle Rovers of Tipperary. The men from the Laune duly took the provincial crown in fine style in Páirc Uí Rinn. In February, they travelled to Ennis to play the Connacht standard-bearers, Corofin of Galway, in the All-Ireland semi-final and, although Rangers made heavy going of it, nevertheless they emerged winners by 0-8 to 0-6.
That put them into the final against Éire Óg of Carlow and what a gala occasion it was in Croke Park on St. Patrick’s Day, as these teams clashed for one of the most coveted titles in Gaelic Football. A crowd of almost 22,000 was there to witness it and what a feast of football they were treated to. It was Éire Óg’s second time contesting the final in four years and they had high hopes of winning it this time round. But they came up against a Laune Rangers side, which simply bristled with talent on the day. They never allowed their opponents to settle and, playing with great gusto and cohesion, they struck the first body-blow in the form of a goal inside the opening three minutes. This was scored by team-captain, Gerard Murphy. Two more goals from Billy O Shea (27 minutes) and Tommy Byrne (penalty 28 minutes) left Rangers leading by 3-3 to 0-6 at halftime. But Éire Óg battled back magnificently on the restart and, with 10 minutes to go, they had reduced Rangers’ lead to just two points (3-4 to 0-11). But there was no stopping the mighty Killorglin men. They had just introduced substitute Billy O Sullivan and he duly justified his call-up by getting on the end of a ball from Conor Kearney and planting it in the net. That was the coup de grace and the All-Ireland title was bound for the town of Killorglin.
The flag-waving, hysterical Laune Rangers’ supporters invaded the pitch to shoulder their heroes off the field. It was a scene this writer will certainly never forget. Commented an ecstatic Gerard Murphy, the Rangers’ captain, afterwards, ‘This victory has to be the highlight of one’s career. What we have achieved, we have achieved together. These are guys I have been playing with for ten years. It is every fellow’s ambition to win an All-Ireland. Personally, it’s a fantastic feeling, but to do it with a bunch of guys like this makes it even more fantastic.’
Since then, of course, Laune Rangers have retained the Co. Championship title and, likewise, they have successfully defended the Munster Club title. And their thrilling victory over Cork’s kingpins, Clonakilty, in the final demonstrated that it will take an exceptionally fine side to foil them of making it two-in-a-row in the New Year.
Of course, no review of the year would be complete without acknowledging the fantastic achievement of Killorglin Intermediate School in winning the All-Ireland Colleges ‘A’ Championship (Hogan Cup) for the first time ever. The Killorglin boys defeated Coláiste Spiorad Naomh to take the Munster title. They next accounted for St. Gerard’s of Castlebar to win a place in the All-Ireland final and in this they produced the performance of their young lives to topple reigning champions, St. Pat’s of Maghera. There were many heroes on the Killorglin team that day but the real hero of the hour was full-forward, Fergal O Brien, who scored three goals in his side’s historic victory on the score of 4-8 to 1-14.”
On Thurs. 13th Feb. 1997 Gerard Murphy was named as Munster football winner in the inaugural AIB GAA Club Provincial Players’ Award Scheme. He received his award at the AIB Bank Centre, Dublin.
The Laune Rangers Annual Social was held in the Ross Inn, Glenbeigh on Sun. 30th March 1997. A most enjoyable night was had by all who attended. Special presentations were made to Jerome Conway, Bernadette Corkery and Patsy Joy who had retired from their positions within the club. The player-of-the-year awards were, also, presented on the night. The senior player-of-the-year was Tommy Byrne, ‘B’ team – Joe Hayes, ‘C’ team – Michael Hurley, U-21 team – Pa O Sullivan.
Co. IFC Final on Sun. 8th Dec. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Dingle 2-12; Milltown/Castlemaine 2-10.
Co. JFC Final: St. Senan’s 1-13; Rathmore 0-15.
Co. NFC Final on Sun. 17th Nov. at Beaufort: Finuge 0-9; Dromid Pearses 0-7.
Co. U-21 Football Championship final on Sun. 19th Jan. 1997: West-Kerry 1-12; St. Kieran’s 0-6 ®.
The AGM of Laune Rangers Club was held on 20th Jan. 1997. Tommy Woods gave his Secretary’s Report as follows: “1996 will go down in the history of this great club as our finest year, surpassing what was a historic 1995. Nothing achieved before can compare to winning the supreme championship of club football – the All-Ireland Club title. I will deal with that in more detail later on.
In his address last year, Jerome spoke of his pride on winning the Co. Championship and the Munster Championship and he dearly hoped that we would go all the way to Croke Park and win the All-Ireland. Little did we know that 12 months later, Jerome can say the same thing again.
This past year was an extremely busy year from an administration point of view. The continuous football meant that the season became 12 months long. This places a heavy burden on your officers and workers and I would ask that more members would attend club meetings and air their views there. When I looked back lately on old minute books going back to when I was last secretary, 1987 to 1989, I note that the faces at meetings haven’t changed.
An early high point for our club this year was the clinching of a 3-year sponsorship deal with Killorglin Credit Union. The deal covers the A, B, C teams, U-21’s and minors. Early trouble with Croke Park was averted when Aidan Gannon and myself made the trip to AIB Centre in Dublin to meet a top bank official and both Liam Mulvihill and Jack Boothman. Our involvement with the Credit Union has been a tremendous help to us in this time of heavy expenditure. I Hope that we have also benefited them. I would like to thank the board of the Credit Union, especially Agnes Foley, Dermot Murphy, Ann O Sullivan and Michael Murphy for their support. Thanks also for the beautiful presentation of pictures you made to us.
I have already mentioned our main sponsor, but we have many more sponsors – AIB, Connolly Sports, The Fishery, Falvey’s Bar, Golden Hours, Bunkers, Flynn’s Bus Hire, Londis, Supervalu, The Starlight, Joe Crowley, Declan Crowley, Nick’s Restaurant, Klinge, The Bianconi Inn, Killarney Heights Hotel and the Ross Inn and many more too numerous to mention. Your continued support is very much appreciated.
I’d like to say a special thanks to Michael Ahern, whose idea it was to approach the Kerryman about doing the beautiful framed pictures that now adorn all good GAA premises in Killorglin. Thanks also to the Kerryman for their generosity and support. I believe that James Coffey still has a few of these pictures to sell.
Elsewhere on Finance, you can see from the balance sheet the amount of money that is passing through the club. Thanks to our treasurers, James Coffey and Mike Foley, for doing a marvellous job. Indeed James Coffey has just completed 24 years as joint-treasurer of the Co. Board. Of course, our treasurers are not alone. They are helped by a fantastic Finance Committee who organise everything from Colour-Me-Beautiful to hats, scarves and headbands for sale. Indeed, you name it, they have thought of it.
The club contributed £2,000 to the Co. Board loan scheme during the year. 20 individuals also contributed £100 a man to help alleviate the debt on the board.
The Lotto continues to be a valued source of income, indeed one that could and should yield more. I believe the incoming committee should look seriously at rejuvenating this source of income. It could take a lot of pressure off the Finance Committee. Thanks to the CYMS Committee for allowing us to hold our draw there every Sunday night and also to the 60 to 100 people who buy tickets from Jim (Galvin) and Mattie (Cahill) every Sunday night. Jim and Mattie deserve special praise, as they spend 2 hours every Sunday night administering the Lotto. Thanks also to Peter Lyons for doing the draw and the Michael O Shea, before him. Thanks to all our dedicated Lotto sellers, who sell week-in, week-out.
J.P. O Sullivan Park
Our field continues to pose problems for us. For the second time in four Munster campaigns a match has had to be moved to Killarney because of the deplorable state of our pitch when we have a lot of rainfall. I’d like to thank the Fitzgerald Stadium Committee for the use of their pitch. However, I can tell you all that plans, to bring our pitch up to standard, are drawn up and are on display here tonight. These proposed plans will bring our pitch up to the same standard as Austin Stack Park in Tralee. However, when the project is completed, we will still have the problem of overuse. For that reason, the club met with Austin O Reilly and representatives of Killorglin Community College during the year. They outlined their own plans to us for their pitches and told us that we could use their pitches now and in the future, so as to take the load off our pitch. This offer was warmly greeted by your club representatives. The price of upgrading our pitch will be approximately £25,000. A Golf Classic has been arranged for Dooks Golf Club on May 30th, where we hope to cover the bulk of the cost. A special committee, under the Chairmanship of Conor O Mahony, has been set up to organise this classic.
Two Co. Senior Football championship matches were held in the field during the year as well as an Inter-county Minor Championship, Kerry v Waterford. Thanks to all our stewards for helping out, to Pat O Shea for the Civil Defence ambulance and to the local Gardaí for traffic control. On behalf of everyone in the club, I would like to wish happy years of retirement to (Garda Sergeant) Michael O Leary and wish him good luck in his new venture. I would like to thank Mattie Cahill and Jerry O Sullivan for the great work they did on the field in the past year and to the new man, Shay Maher, also. Thanks to Denis Lyons and Fás for their continued support.
The old dressing-rooms were supposed to be roofed during 1996. However, when we started stripping the roof, the planning-officer put a stop to us. Our planning application had to be re-submitted, as the original dressing-rooms were not built exactly according to plan and this process is still going on. Fás were to provide the labour free of charge for this – when it didn’t materialise, they provided the labour for the painting of the new dressing-rooms instead. Thanks to John Melia for all his help.
Bill McSwiney kindly donated 4 storage heaters to be installed in the new dressing-rooms to solve the problem of condensation.
Two signs were erected on the roadway beside the Track, advising everyone that parking is not permitted beyond a certain point. It is with great regret that I have to say that many car-owners take no notice whatsoever of these. Indeed, many of our own members habitually park below these signs. I would appeal to you all for ’97 to obey these signs.
The club window continues to grab the attention of both locals and visitors alike. Thanks to Mrs. O Regan for allowing us the use of the window and Carol Ann Stoker, James Ferris and Michael Ahern for looking after it.
Bord na nÓg
Bord na nÓg, under the chairmanship of James Ferris, has a very successful year, both on and off the field. James was ably assisted by PRO, Michael Ahern, Secretary, Sean Moriarty and 23 team trainers.
Membership of the club remains static. This is something that the incoming committee must try to build on. Thanks to Liam Shannon and Batty Foley for all their efforts.
Thanks to our referees in 1996 – Peter Lyons, John Griffin, Pat O Shea, Timmy Moroney, Pat Pigott and Bart Moriarty, co-ordinator of the Kerry referees, who also does a very good job as our insurance-officer.
While I’m thanking people, I must thank Mary Clifford for the Trojan work she does for Scór in Killorglin and indeed all who participated in Scór in Mid-Kerry and in the county. Congratulations to our Ballad Group, who were runners-up in the county final – Muireann Clifford, Claire Foley, Cora Conway, Edel Conway and Sharon Langston. Also, congratulations to our Quiz team who competed in the Munster final in Cork – Eoin Clifford, Patrick Clifford and Seamus Galvin. Congratulation to our musicians who also competed in the county final – Edward Looney, Siobhan Joy, Eve Griffin, Muiris Crowley and Muireann Clifford.
Thanks to Jerry Houlihan for providing us with his premises to use as our shop for the All-Ireland campaign. Thanks to John Quirke for the lorry, which is now well used to its celebratory journey across the bridge and up the hill. Thanks to Donie Griffin for always being on hand to take the historic photo. We are very fortunate to have Donie doing this for us.
Thanks to Barry Harmon for the many happy memories he left us in ’96 with his collection of songs, not to mention some of his stirring performances. We look forward to many more.
Thanks to the Press, especially the local Press, for the marvellous coverage it accords us – The Kerryman, The Kingdom and Kerry’s Eye. Thanks to Riona McMonagle and Michelle Cooper-Galvin for the photographs. Thanks, also, to Radio Kerry.
Thanks to the children of Scoil Mhuire for making loads of buntings for us and to those who erected them.
Thanks to Francie Sheahan for always being on hand with the Holy Water for our big games.
Thanks to the Manor Inn for allowing us to have our club-meetings and our AGM there.
One special group who deserve mention are our supporters or, as I saw them described in some paper recently as, fanatical supporters. They have travelled the country, singing, shouting and waving flags and I have no doubt that support like that is worth a lot to the team on the field. A special thanks to all the supporters who travelled from overseas to be with us on All-Ireland day.
The club made a small presentation during the year to one of our greatest supporters on his retirement – Canon Keane. I’d like to wish him many happy years of retirement.
I cannot forget Sean Houlihan. He has spent many a lonely vigil waiting to bring us home from our celebrations. Your patience and good humour does not go unnoticed.
This year’s social was a resounding success. 220+ people attended a great night in the Ross Inn. Thanks to Michael and Brenda Cahill, and their staff, for a job well done.
Thanks to Dr. Vincent Evans for his attendance at matches. We are very fortunate to have such a team doctor.
Thanks to Mike O Donnell who is always with us.
Thanks to Peter Lyons for running a summer-camp for our juveniles.
During the year, the senior team paid a visit to Salthill. Three U-12 teams also travelled. A very enjoyable weekend was had by all. Thanks to the officers of the Salthill Club and those from our own club who looked after the U-12’s, especially Jimmy Hayes, who stayed behind for an extra day to look after a sick young lad.
1996 was also a historic year for the Killorglin Intermediate School. They crowned a memorable year by capturing the Hogan Cup, the second Kerry school ever to do so. Congratulations to all our players on the team and to their team-mates and their trainers.
All-Ireland Club Championship
On the playing front, the year started early. In the 2nd week in January, the players were back in training. The All-Ireland semi-final was only 6 weeks away – we were playing Corofin. On a bitterly cold, wild day, totally unsuited to playing good football, we emerged victorious on a score of 0-8 to 0-6.
The wheels were now in full swing for Croke Park. Indeed they had been in motion already – Bart had the Grand Hotel on hold and John Evans had booked the Garda Club. Two trains were chartered to transport supporters to Croke Park. The journey up proved no problem but, on one train, the return journey was very uncomfortable as people were left without water or a shop. I’d like to thank Andrew Roche of CIE for all his efforts. Thanks to Colm and Rose Dunlea, Kerry O Connor and James Coffey for their help selling the train tickets.
A very successful night was organised in the CYMS Hall by Ger Counihan and members of the Finance Committee. Thanks to all concerned, especially the local ICA, Regina Horgan, Sean Taafe, Mary McBride and to John and Danno Woods for the television monitors.
The night in the Garda Club in Dublin was a resounding success. Thanks to John Evans, who first mooted the idea, to the management of the Garda Club, to our doormen, Kieran Moran and Patrick O Sullivan, and especially to Finbarr and Myles Coffey, who played their hearts out at no cost to the club. Thanks to Father Griffin who said Mass for us in the hotel on the Sunday morning.
The match itself was like a dream – 3 first-half goals for us would be enough to kill off most teams, but not Éire Óg. However, the 4th and final goal finally killed off the gallant Carlow men. It is a measure of how good a team we beat when, as we can see, they are back in the All-Ireland semi-final once again this year. At the final whistle, with the score at 4-5 to 0-11, unrestrained joy erupted among our supporters as we savoured our moment of glory and indeed quite a few tears were shed, also, as our minds flashed back to darker days and to people who weren’t able to be there to share the moment with us.
A hurried meal was followed by an uncomfortable train journey home but no one seemed to mind. Then we got onto our two buses and home for Killorglin. A massive crowd listened to Jerome, John and Gerard as they thanked people and promised more of the same. The celebrations that followed are now legendary and continued long into the nights of the week that followed as the team was feted everywhere it went. Thanks to Paudie Herlihy for doing an excellent job on the video of the All-Ireland weekend. Anyone who purchased one has a treasured memento.
However, the domestic season was then only beginning. This marvellous team went on to retain the Mid-Kerry League, Mid-Kerry Championship, County League Division 1, Co. Senior Championship and Munster Club Championship. It was supposedly a tired team that did all this. Wait until they have their break!
The Mid-Kerry League was won with a comprehensive victory over Milltown/Castlemaine in the final.
A draw with Beaufort was our introduction to the Mid-Kerry Championship, 1-7 to 0-10. However, nothing was left to chance for the replay and we ran out easy winners by 2-11 to 0-6. Glenbeigh, contesting their first final since 1985, were our opposition in the final. A tough physical encounter was won on a score of 3-10 to 2-8. The most notable feature of the match, apart from the display of M.F. Russell, was the refereeing of John Twiss. Jerome and myself did everything, bar withdrawing from the Mid-Kerry Final, to get an outside referee for the game. Our worst fears were justified. Indeed, the treatment meted out to us by the Chairman of the Mid-Kerry Board should be the incentive we need to partake in a new urban league when, and if, it gets off the ground. Mention must be made on this occasion of our four great warriors, Peter, Paudie, Pierce and Joe, who have each won 13 Mid-Kerry Senior Championship medals. Congratulations! The victory was suitably celebrated in Bill Shea’s on the night of the match.
This year’s Co. League was approached in a relaxed manner. Players were rested. Others were blooded for bigger battles ahead. Two matches were lost – to Dr. Crokes and Currow. However, when it came to the final, Crokes were left in no doubt as to who were the masters, as we again emerged victorious on the score of 2-11 to 0-10 to clinch our 3rd Co. League title on the trot.
This year’s Co. Championship started with a runaway victory over Annascaul. This was followed by a trip to Fitzgerald Stadium to take on last year’s defeated finalists, East-Kerry. This game turned out to be a thriller and a draw was a fair result. In the replay, we ran out comfortable winners. Our quarter-final clash with Kerins O Rahillys proved equally as tough but we progressed by the narrowest of margins, 0-11 to 0-10. The challenge of St. Kieran’s was easily brushed aside in the semi-final, 2-10 to 0-6. We were striving to win back-to-back titles. The town once again took on a carnival atmosphere, as the final approached. Mike Foley and his committee were hard at work. Ger Counihan kindly gave the use of his new premises for our shop. As for the match itself, West-Kerry was beset by injuries. Our first half display in the Co. Final was as good as we had played all year. The charge was led by Mike Hassett and Shane O Sullivan who is now happily recovered from his injury. The second half was a more tense affair but we prevailed on a score of 2-7 to 1-9. The customary parade and celebrations went on again.
However, an awkward Munster semi-final clash with Rathgormack awaited us. The score-line of 1-5 each does not tell the true story of what went on. Once again, poor refereeing spoiled the game. The replay in Killarney was also notable for the poor quality of refereeing but, in spite of him, we still won on a score of 0-8 to 0-4. We were now back in a Munster Final again. This was to be the classic Cork v Kerry confrontation. Clonakilty had been installed as favourites. We were without Shane O Sullivan and Mike Hassett. Clon had beaten UCC and Doonbeg – we were tired. However, the score after sixty minutes of 0-13 to 0-10 told a different story and we were back once again in an All-Ireland semi-final.
The players are back in training now for a fortnight and you can rest assured that John Evans, John Griffin and Patsy Joy will leave no stone unturned in their quest for further honours. The match is fixed for 23rd February in Portlaoise – Laune Rangers v Crossmaglen Rangers. Congratulation to John Evans on achieving such heights in ’96. Well done also to John Griffin and Patsy Joy. Thanks to the players for making it all possible by your deeds on the field. As a reward to all our players, selectors and officers, a party of 79 will depart for the Canary Islands next Saturday, 25th January. We will be thinking of you all at home!
Not to be outdone, our ‘B’ team followed up an impressive 1995 with an equally impressive 1996. Just like the ‘A’ team, they retained all their titles.
They went through the Mid-Kerry ‘B’ League unbeaten and, having reached the final, beat Beaufort by an impressive 9 points. In the Co. Junior League, Rangers were beaten by a very cocky Desmonds outfit in the opening game. However, this only spurred them on and they went through the remainder of the campaign unbeaten. They won the final after a tremendous tussle with Gneeveguilla. With victories over Desmonds, John Mitchels and Crokes, the final of the Molyneaux Cup was played in Castleisland. After a very good display in poor conditions, Rangers again showed their worth by defeating Kerins O Rahillys. The commitment shown by these players to training throughout the whole year paid off and was a major factor in the retention of the 3 trophies. Congratulations to trainer Ger Counihan and his selectors, Maurice Corkery and Mike O Shea.
1996 proved to be a tough year for the ‘C’ team. They participated in the Urban League Section 3 and failed to qualify for a top 4 place. They were grouped with St. Mary’s ‘B’, Beaufort ‘B’ and Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ in the Barrett Cup and, after a 3-way tie between ourselves, Beaufort and St. Mary’s, we played and lost against St. Mary’s, the eventual winners, in a play-off. Thanks to Mike O Shea, Peter Lyons and John Sheehan for their dedication.
This year saw us lose our Co. U-21 title. Our first outing was on 3rd March, when we hammered Legion. Our next game versus East-Kerry was played at home on St. Stephen’s Day, a full 9 months and 3 weeks later. Having got the better of East-Kerry by a single point, we then had to play the county semi-final versus St. Kieran’s 3 days later. On the day, Kieran’s ran out deserving winners. Questions will have to be asked as to the commitment of the Co. Board to this competition.
Our minors, also, had a lean year in 1996. They played 6 games in the Co. League, winning 3 and losing 3. This campaign was disrupted by the success of the Intermediate School. Rangers were unlucky in the Co. Championship to be drawn against the eventual winners in the first round, East-Kerry 2-14; Laune Rangers 1-7. Victory was to follow for minors in the Mid-Kerry League, while, in the Mid-Kerry Championship, injuries to key players saw us bow out at the semi-final stage after a replay with Milltown/Castlemaine.
Laune Rangers continues its association with Firies in forming St. Mary’s Hurling Club, which takes part in the South-Kerry League, Co. League and Co. Junior Championship. They reached the Co. Junior Championship final this year and went down by a point to Kenmare ‘B’.
Laune Rangers were well represented at inter-county level in 1996. We provided the three captains – Billy O Shea (senior), Liam Hassett (U-21) and Johnny Lynch (minor). The town now holds 3 Munster Championship trophies – senior, U-21 and minor and the U-21 All-Ireland trophy, not a bad haul.
Billy was joined on the county senior team by Mike and Liam Hassett and, later in the year, by Mike Frank Russell. Liam was joined on the U-21 ranks by Mike Frank Russell, John Sheehan and Pa O Sullivan. Johnny Lynch was joined on the minor team by Eoin O Connell. Congratulations to each and every one of these players and I hope you will be joined by more Laune Rangers players this year.
1996 will also go down as the year of the awards. It started with Gerard Murphy getting the Kerry Sports-Star of the year award for March. Pa O Sullivan, captain of the Intermediate School, took the April award. Liam Hassett captured the September award. Mike Frank Russell took the youth Sports-Star of the year award. Gerard Murphy captured the overall Sports-Star of the year award at a most enjoyable function held in December in the Gleneagle Hotel. Not to be outdone, John Evans took the Phillips Manager of the month award for March.
I would like to thank our outgoing PRO, Bernadette Corkery, for her many years of dedicated service and I hope she will not be lost completely to the club.
To our outgoing Chairman, Jerome Conway, I know I speak for everyone associated with Laune Rangers when I say ‘Thank you’ for all you have done for this club. No man in our long history has given of his time so unselfishly. You set standards of commitment that will never be equalled. I would like to wish you well in whatever you decide to do in the future.
Finally, thank you for having me as your Secretary. I look forward to ’97 with great optimism, both on and off the field of play, and working with the new officers who will be elected tonight.”
The AGM of Laune Rangers Bord na nOg was held on Mon. 13th Jan. 1997 in the Fishery. The Chairman, James Ferris, gave a wide-ranging address. He told the large attendance that the overall success of the club had a great effect on the young people within the club at all levels. 1996 had been a very successful year at Bord na nOg level also and he thanked and named individually the trainers and selectors of each team. He said Laune Rangers were very fortunate to have so many adults prepared to assist with underage teams. He said that even though it had no separate bank account, it was Bord na nOg’s ambition to become self-financing by organising sponsorship for each team and a Church-gate collection. He thanked each of the sponsors individually and those that sponsored gear.
The Chairman outlined the nature of the Foundation Level Course for mentors under the auspices of the Co. Board with instructors Pat O Shea and John Kelliher and indicated that the club had applied for participation and were the first in the county to do so. He said that the club had more players than ever playing at underage level and that was surely a mark of success. He reviewed the performance of each team during the year.
The Chairman in his address had a special word of thanks for Mary Clifford, Muingaphouca, who once again had done Trojan work for the club at Scor na nOg, with the Quiz team qualifying for the Munster Final and the Music Group reaching the Co. final.
The Chairman gave an account of the excursion to Salthill with 42 U-12’s. He spoke about the kindness and generosity of the Salthill club to them and stated that Laune Rangers would extend a return invitation to them in the coming year. He had a special word of praise for Jimmy Hayes who had remained on in Salthill to accompany Davin Foley who had been operated on for an emergency appendicitis. Jimmy had remained overnight until Monday when Davin’s parents had arrived.
In conclusion, the Chairman stressed once again the importance of promoting the club. Records of events, team reports, match reports, photographs were all important and he thanked Joseph Crowley for providing the underage team photographs free of charge.