Keel/Listry 1-6, Laune Rangers 0-12
Laune Rangers have retained the Mid Kerry Minor Championship title, defeating Keel/Listry to claim the Derry O’Sullivan Shield for a fourth successive year and a 42nd time in total. However, it took 80 minutes to separate the sides as extra time was played in dimming light in Keel to decide a winner on Saturday afternoon.
The home side were wasteful with their chances in the early stages, missing a handful of attempts by striking wide or dropping into the waiting arms of Rangers goalkeeper Adam Carey. It took six minutes for the first score of the game to come, and it was Rangers that scored it as Darragh O’Grady sat down his marker with a dummy solo before splitting the posts. Paul Costello levelled matters with a pointed free before Eoghan Hassett pointed Rangers ahead again with a free of his own. At the first water break, Laune Rangers led by 0-2 to 0-1.
Shane Evans levelled the game, scoring what was his team’s sole score from play in the game, but Rangers – who had been somewhat feeding off scraps in terms of possession for much of the first half – scored two excellent points through Tom Whittleton and Jack Lynch to take a lead into the break.
Half Time Score:- Keel/Listry 0-2, Laune Rangers 0-4.
Rangers scored the first point of the second half with a pointed free from Eoghan Hassett to extend the lead, and an excellent point by Cathal O’Donoghue for the home side was soon cancelled out by a Jack Lynch point for Rangers. Keel/Listry hit another purple patch and two pointed frees from Marc Murphy left the minimum between the sides at the second water break – Rangers leading by 0-6 to 0-5.
A brace of points by Eoghan Hassett (one free) gave Rangers a three point cushion, and it stayed like that for much of the final quarter. With Rangers losing Eoin Lynch to injury and substitute David Crowley receiving his marching orders with a red card, Keel/Listry were awarded a penalty deep in injury time to give the home side a chance to send the game into extra time, and Shane Evans coolly dispatched the spot kick to the bottom corner with the game’s last kick.
End of Normal Time:- Keel/Listry 1-5, Laune Rangers 0-8.
Laune Rangers were back to the full complement for extra time, but it was a pointed free by Cathal O’Donoghue that gave Keel/Listry the lead midway through the first period – his side’s first lead of the game. It was a short lived lead though, with Oisín Birmingham coming up field to score a fantastic leveller from distance. Two pointed frees by Eoghan Hassett gave Rangers a two point lead at the turnaround.
Half Time Score in ET: Keel/Listry 1-6, Laune Rangers 0-11.
Through the final period, Laune Rangers did an excellent job of holding possession to close out the game. Eoghan Hassett pointed another free to extend the lead to three, but Rangers had learned their lesson from earlier and were not about to concede another late goal. The defence held firm & Laune Rangers held on to their Mid Kerry Minor Championship title.
Full Time Score (AET):- Keel/Listry 1-6, Laune Rangers 0-12.
The format of Minor competition in Mid Kerry in 2021 saw Laune Rangers placed in the Championship Final and awaited the victors of a shield competition among the remaining teams in the district. This gave Keel/Listry the advantage of games in the past two weeks, and it showed in the early part of the game. However, the defence was outstanding and they rightly felt aggrieved by the penalty decision that forced extra time as they had shown no signs of breaking. In fact, they held Keel/Listry to a single score from play. The forwards didn’t get the chance to reach the levels they had shown all season, but each one contributed to the win, as the final ten minutes were as much about winning and keeping the ball as far from their own goal as possible.
After the game, Mid Kerry Board Chairman Tim Coffey presented the Derry O’Sullivan Memorial Shield to Laune Rangers captain Ryan Diggin, who also received the official man of the match award for the fantastic leadership he showed in his performance on the day.
Laune Rangers finished their season unbeaten against club opposition in 2021, and added the Mid Kerry title to the County Division 1 and Central Region Division 1 honours as well as the County Division 11 title won by the White team this year. Congratulations to every player who contributed to the season, and to the management of Cian Evans, Mike Frank Russell, Joe Hayes, Johnny Lynch, John O’Dwyer, Darragh Burns & Jason O’Sullivan.
Laune Rangers:- Adam Carey, Killian Spillane, Cathal O’Callaghan, Eoin Lynch, Tim Mangan, Ryan Diggin (capt), Oisín Birmingham (0-1), Aona O’Shea, Tom Whittleton (0-1), Jack Lynch (0-2), Eoghan Hassett (0-7, 6f), Cillian Foley, Darragh O’Grady (0-1), Jack O’Sullivan, John Tuohy. Subs used. Tom Garry, David Crowley, Adam Owens, Darragh Evans, Joseph O’Neill.