Milltown/Castlemaine 2-8, Laune Rangers 0-16
Laune Rangers began their O’Sullivan Cup campaign on Sunday morning with defeat of Milltown/Castlemaine in Milltown. The O’Sullivan Cup eligibility criteria has received a refresh this year, with all players not involved in Mid Kerry’s County Championship squad eligible to play in the competition. Laune Rangers have a larger contingent in the Mid Kerry squad than Milltown/Castlemaine and, by extension, had more absentees than their hosts on the day, with a number of injured players missing out on both sides also.
Seán Hogan scored the game’s first point for the hosts before Jack O’Connor levelled matters a minute later. Seán Hogan smashed the ball to the net to put his side ahead and John Dennehy soon pointed to extend the lead. Marc Clifford and Jack O’Connor pointed for Rangers as the visitors began to grow into the game, but Cathal Moriarty restored the goal advantage, leaving Milltown/Castlemaine leading by 1-3 to 0-3 with fifteen minutes played.
A Jack O’Connor point for Laune Rangers was cancelled out by Cathal Moriarty at the other end, but the away side had a strong finish to the half – O’Connor brothers Mark & Jack (2) pointing to see the sides level at the break with Jack O’Connor having kicked five excellent points from midfield in the period.
Half Time Score:- Milltown/Castlemaine 1-4, Laune Rangers 0-7.
Laune Rangers began the second half as they had finished the first, as Marc Clifford pointed to give the visitors their first lead of the game and Calum Moriarty added an excellent point to double their advantage. Kieran McKenna pointed for the hosts before John Dennehy was fouled by Oisín Daly for a Milltown/Castlemaine penalty – Oisín Daly receiving a black card for the foul and Cathal Moriarty making no mistake with the spot kick to restore his side’s lead. Patrick Carey came up field to score a great point but Milltown/Castlemaine responded with points from Cathal Moriarty and John Dennehy to lead by 2-7 to 0-10 with fifteen minutes to play.
Laune Rangers substitute Cian O’Shea pointed a free – their only score not from play in the game – and Stephen Sealy added another point that almost squeezed under the crossbar. Cian O’Shea levelled matters and Laune Rangers were now on the ascendancy. Cian O’Shea pointed twice more and his brother and fellow substitute Gavin added another to put Rangers three ahead. Conor Spillane pointed a free in injury time to make for a nervous ending but Laune Rangers held on to win the game.
Full Time Score:- Milltown/Castlemaine 2-8, Laune Rangers 0-16.
With so many players unavailable, it provided the opportunity for other squad members to put their hands up. James Treacy was one of those that did with an excellent performance at corner back, while Ciarán O’Sullivan and Cillian Foley made their first appearances from the bench for the Senior squad. The first half kicking of midfielder Jack O’Connor – slotting five in total – shone through for Rangers on the day, while the introduction of Cian O’Shea added fresh impetus to the attack in the second half.
Laune Rangers take on Cromane next weekend in the final game of their group, with Milltown/Castlemaine having defeated Cromane last week.
Laune Rangers:- Padraig Ahern, James Treacy, Patrick Carey (0-1), Oisín Daly, Daragh O’Connor, Conor Murphy, Calum Moriarty (0-1), Shane Daly, Jack O’Connor (0-5), Stephen Sealy (0-1), Patrick Daly, Mark O’Connor (0-1), Darragh O’Grady, Daniel Macbeth, Marc Clifford (0-2). Subs:- Cian O’Shea (0-4, 1f) for O’Grady, Ciarán O’Sullivan for Murphy, Cillian Foley for Clifford, Gavin O’Shea (0-1) for M O’Connor.