1997

1997

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Laune Rangers – 1997

Laune Rangers won the Co. Senior Football League Div. 1 for the 4th successive year and the 8th time in total.

Laune Rangers won the Co. Club ‘B’ Championship (Molyneaux Cup) for the 3rd successive year and the 5th time in total.

Laune Rangers ‘C’ team won the Co. Urban Football League for the 1st time.

Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship for the 8th successive year and the 21st time in total.

Laune Rangers ‘B’ team, captained by Liam Foley, won the Mid-Kerry O Sullivan Cup.

Laune Rangers won the Co. Minor Football League Div. 1 for the 8th time.

Laune Rangers won the Mid-Kerry U-16 Championship for the 25th time.

Laune Rangers won the Co. U-15 Football Championship for the 2nd time.

Laune Rangers won the Co. U-14 Football Championship for the 9th time, the Mid-Kerry U-14 Championship for the 26th time and the Tralee District Board Championship for the 1st time.

Laune Rangers won the Co. U-14 Féile Peile na nOg competition for the 3rd time. The trip to Donegal had to be aborted due to an outbreak of meningitis in Kilgobnet.

Kerry, captained by Liam Hassett, won the Munster and All-Ireland Senior Football Championships. Liam Hassett, the first Laune Rangers player to captain a Kerry senior football team to All-Ireland glory, played at centre half-forward and Billy O Shea at left full-forward. Mike F. Russell came on as a substitute and Mike Hassett was a substitute.

Mike Hassett, Liam Hassett and Mike Frank Russell and Billy O Shea won National Football League medals.

Kerry defeated Cork in the Munster U-21 Football Final but lost to Meath in the All-Ireland semi-final. John Sheehan played at left fullback, Pa O Sullivan at centre half-forward and Mike F. Russell at left half-forward.

Klinge/Fujisawa defeated Fexco in the final of the Kerry Senior Inter-Firm Championship

James Coffey was Joint-Treasurer of the Kerry Co. Board for the 25th successive year.

 

Near misses

Laune Rangers lost the All-Ireland Club Championship (1996) semi-final to Crossmaglen Rangers on the score of 1-8 to 1-7.

Laune Rangers lost the Munster Club Championship (1997) semi-final to Castlehaven by 2-10 to 1-3.

Laune Rangers, captained by Tommy Byrne, lost the Co. Senior Championship Final to East-Kerry by 1-11 to 0-8, after a replay. That was Laune Rangers’ first time being beaten in a Co. Senior Football Final since 1910.

Laune Rangers lost the final of Co. League Div. 5 to Dr. Crokes.

Laune Rangers lost the U-21 Co. Championship Final to Feale Rangers.

Laune Rangers lost the Mid-Kerry Minor Football Final to Milltown/Castlemaine.

Mid-Kerry lost the final of the U-16 Inter-District Board Championship to Tralee.

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The AGM of Laune Rangers’ Club was held on 22nd Jan. 1997 in the Manor Inn. The Secretary’s Report was given at the end of 1996 and the Chairman advised that it should be put forward for an award. James Ferris gave a detailed account of Bord na nOg activities during the year and the setting up of girls’ football. James Coffey gave a detailed account of the club’s finances and answered questions pertaining to it. The Chairman, in his address, stated that 1995/’96 will be etched forever in the minds of all Laune Rangers. He hoped that the club could further improve but warned that the future was fraught with danger, especially from the inside. He said that it would be remiss of them to forget the old officers who ran the club in the bad old days. He reminded the meeting of the players, who in 1970, gave up their chance of further success with Mid-Kerry to go on their own in the Co. Senior Football Championship. He had a special word of thanks to James Coffey and Mike Foley for the great job they had done on the financial side of the club. He thanked the Secretary for his dedication and he had a special word of thanks for Bernie Corkery, the club’s first female officer, who had been resigning. He mentioned all the trainers by name of the ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, U-21 and minor teams. He had a special word for John Evans. He thanked the Bord na nOg officers, James Ferris, Michael Ahern and Sean Moriarty. He thanked Mary Clifford for her solo effort every year with Scór for the club. He thanked the club’s sponsors, especially Killorglin Credit Union. He also thanked the media, radio and newspapers. He warned the members not to take all the club’s successes for granted. He emphasised that the place for discussion was club meetings and warned that there was too much whispering and sniping taking place outside of the club meetings. He stated that the club was greater than any individual and that no one was bigger than the club. He stated that the trip to the Canaries was a great thing for the club and he hoped that the development of the JP O Sullivan Park would soon be a reality. He said that it was great to see new officers coming on board in the club. He wished all the teams well, especially the ‘A’ team. He hoped that they would go on to retain their All-Ireland title. Finally, he wished the club all the best for the future. The following officers were elected:

Chairman – John Clifford (Jerome Conway did not seek re-election). John Clifford spoke about the great honour it had been for him and paid tribute to his predecessor for his years’ of dedication. His priority was to beat Crossmaglin, go on to the recapture the All-Ireland again and to win three-in-a-row of Co. Championships.

Vice-Chairmen – Jim Galvin and Ger Counihan.

Secretary – Tommy Woods.

Joint Treasurers – James Coffey and Michael Foley.

PRO – John Griffin (Bernadette Corkery did not seek re-election).

Ass. PRO – Michael O Shea.

Registrar – Liam Shannon and Batty Foley.

Insurance Officer – Bart Moriarty.

Delegate to Co. Board – Aidan Gannon.

Delegate to Mid-Kerry Board – Donal Pigott.

 

At the Laune Rangers Club meeting on Mon. 24th March the following selection committees were elected:

Senior Selection Committee – John Evans, John Griffin and Ger Counihan. Patsy Joy did not seek re-election due to health reasons.

‘B’ Team – James McEnery, Maurice Corkery and Mike O Shea.

‘C’ Team – Mike O Shea, Dominic Crowley and Peter Lyons.

 

All-Ireland Club Football Championship 1996

 

Previewing the All-Ireland semi-final, Eamonn Horan wrote the following in the Kerryman: “Title-holders Laune Rangers will have to be at the top of their form if they are to surmount the challenge of the Ulster Champions, Crossmaglen Rangers. No doubt the defending champions will be only keenly aware of the threat posed. But John Evans has been working his men hard in recent weeks and they’ll be fully primed for the occasion. Laune Rangers’ selector, John Griffin, said they would be picking from a full panel. Both Mike Hassett and Billy O Shea, who have been carrying injuries, are fully fit again. Asked about the likelihood of Timmy Fleming making a return to the side after a lengthy absence, he said, ‘He’s shaping up very well. He may be lacking match practice, but he has played a few challenges with us and he will definitely be in the running’. He said Liam Hassett was back to his best form, having recovered from an injury, which he picked up last August. John Griffin said a few of them had watched Crossmaglen in the Ulster final replay. ‘They seem to be young, strong, very lively and very mobile,’ he remarked. ‘If we were playing Bellaghy, we’d know more about them, but Crossmaglen are largely an unknown quantity. Last year, we were in the All-Ireland Club Championship for the first time, but there was still a certain amount of confidence in the ranks. Now the input of younger players like John Sheehan, Michael Francis Russell and Pa O Sullivan has given us new drive. As far as having an appetite for the game goes, there is no problem.’

He said that Rangers’ two matches with Rathgormack were tough and they might have taken them lightly the first day. ‘We had seen them against Moyle Rovers,’ he said. ‘They were a robust team and we could not put them away. The final against Clonakilty was a classic game of football. They were probably as good a team as we had met over the past two years.’ Selector Griffin said the long lay-off since the Munster final should work in Rangers’ favour. ‘Towards the end of last year we were carrying a lot of injuries,’ he said. ‘The break has given us a chance to get the players back to full fitness.’

From the point of view of experience, Laune Rangers have this in abundance in players of the calibre of Paudie Sheahan, Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Billy O Shea, Paul Griffin, Mark O Connor, Joe Shannon and Conor Kearney. When you combine this with the youthful skills and enthusiasm of up-and-coming stars like Michael Francis Russell, John Sheehan and Pa O Sullivan, you get a combination, which has to be greatly respected no matter what the quality of the opposition. ‘We’d be cautious but reasonably confident,’ said John Griffin. ‘The team may be even better prepared than last year. We’ll be hoping we can make it to the final, especially for the sake of our supporters and our sponsors, Killorglin Credit Union. We’d be quietly confident.’

There will be a mighty following to support the men in the blue and white jerseys on Sunday in O Moore Park (Portlaois). Crossmaglen are going to present a formidable opposition as they bid to end Laune Rangers’ reign. But John Evans’ charges are well used to such challenges and I expect the team, to a man, to rise to the occasion in the manner born and book their place in the All-Ireland final against either Éire Og (Carlow) or Knockmore (Mayo).”

 

Eamonn Horan, having interviewed John Evans prior to the game, wrote the following: “Hard preparation, with a goodly mixture of caution, are two ingredients, which trainer John Evans is hoping will provide him with the key to victory when Laune Rangers put their All-Ireland Club Football Championship title on the line in Sunday’s semi-final clash with Crossmaglen Rangers. Chatting to the Tralee garda, one quickly realises that here is a man who is not prepared to sit on his laurels and who is only all too keenly aware that if his team is to reach the final for the second successive year then a super-plus effort is required against the Ulster standard-bearers.

Utility player Billy O Shea has a foot injury and has not trained to date this year. Timmy Fleming, out since last year’s club championship, is back training, as are Shane O Sullivan and Mike Hassett. ‘Our big problem is getting games,’ said Evans. ‘We have not played near as many games as last year. We have had a very long season but we have to get the balance right between giving the team a break and the closeness of the All-Ireland semi-final.’ He says the team’s trip to the Canaries was a great boost for them and he was absolutely amazed at the turn-out and the level of commitment shown at the three training sessions they had while on holiday. ‘I think this wouldn’t happen in any other code, which only goes to show the level of commitment which Laune Rangers are putting into it at the moment,’ he said. ‘If one were to take an overall look at the Munster Championship games against Rathgormack and Clonakilty, one would think that Laune Rangers had gone backwards. But I would prefer to think that both Clon and Rathgormack, like any other club in the All-Ireland club championship, were hugely prepared. You cannot underestimate any team nowadays with the level of fitness and preparation.’

The Killorglin trainer says he is not as happy with things this year as he was going into last year’s semi-final. ‘But then again, that was our first time out and the enthusiasm was far higher last year. What we have gained this year in retaining the county championship and the Munster club titles is a wealth of experience and that should stand to us.’

As far as Crossmaglen are concerned, Evans has seen them on video and he feels they are a deceptive team who push forward from the back. ‘Two things struck me about Crossmaglen,’ he said. ‘One is their enthusiasm and level of fitness. The second thing is that Bellaghy had two bites at the cherry to beat Crossmaglen and they failed on both counts. Bellaghy have a tremendous reputation, so that sent warning signals out to myself, Patsy Joy and John Griffin and also to the team – be warned! They will not be put away easily.’

The Rangers’ trainer realises what winning the title last year meant to them but, nonetheless, he feels it is a dangerous position to be in. ‘Any team that has ever tried to retain an All-Ireland Club Championship, they have had to be twice as good the following year,’ he said. ‘I don’t think Laune Rangers are twice as good as last year. It is a very worrying thought. However, the overall objective in any semi-final is to win the game. Against Corofin in last year’s semi-final, the conditions were very bad and we had a slender win, but the important thing was that we got to Croke Park.’

He is very cautious in his approach to Sunday’s game, especially with a man of the calibre of Joe Kernan in charge of Crossmaglen. He acknowledges the tremendous backing Laune Rangers continue to receive from their supporters and club officers. For weeks past, buses and special trains have been laid on for Sunday’s game. The level of support has improved from last year instead of declining and this applies all over the county. ‘I know that, after the Munster final, I received a lot of phone-calls and letters from people throughout the county wishing Laune Rangers the best in the championship campaign and that was very gratifying,’ he said. ‘As well as that, our captain, Mark O Connor, is leading the team in training in a very workmanlike approach and all the other players have followed behind him – working very hard.’

Evans believes that it’s a ‘huge, huge achievement’ for any team to come out of the club championship in the North, with so many of the counties doing so well over the last number of years. However, he thinks that his team’s experience and team-work could swing it on the day. ‘We may not have the same level of fitness at present, but we have shown that we can rise to the occasion,’ he said. ‘That, I believe, is a very important factor in our favour.’ The sagacious garda bluntly states that he is not looking beyond Sunday and the pursuit of victory over Crossmaglen Rangers. Only then, he says, can one be permitted to mention names like Knockmore and Éire Og. ‘Again, I would be very careful,’ he concluded, ‘We’re very cautious and we’re preparing hard.’

A scouting party, consisting of Jerome Conway, John Clifford and Michael Foley, had gone to the Ulster Club Championship Final in St. Tighearnach’s Park, Clones on 8th Dec. 1996 to witness Crossmaglen’s victory over Bellaghy Wolfe Tones by 2-5 to 0-8, and to report back to the team management.

 

Semi-final on Sun. 23rd Feb. at Portlaoise: Crossmaglen Rangers 1-8; Laune Rangers 1-7.

Eamonn Horan reported on the game in the Kerryman as follows: “The exchanges were tough, indeed at times they were torrid, the football was grippingly exciting if not stellar in quality and the issue hung in the balance right up to the pulsating moments of injury time. But at the call of time, Laune Rangers were a point in arrears and so surrendered their AIB All-Ireland club championship title to a lion-hearted young Crossmaglen Rangers side.

Sheer determination and dogged resistance to the best efforts of Laune Rangers gave Crossmaglen Rangers a famous victory at wind-swept O Moore Park, Portlaoise, and earned them a place in the final against Knockmore of Mayo. Laune Rangers were bitterly disappointed at the finish and this was visibly mirrored on the crestfallen faces of players like Tommy Byrne and Gerard Murphy as they trooped from the field. It was a game that Laune Rangers could just as easily have won, but they will be the first to admit that they were the authors of their own downfall. With the very strong wind behind them in the opening half, they failed to take full advantage of it and the concession of a penalty in the first quarter – which Jim McConville duly booted to the net – proved to be their undoing.

The champions rallied magnificently in the closing minutes of the half and an opportunist goal by Michael Francis Russell and a smashing point by Gerard Murphy saw the Kerrymen go in at halftime leading by a solitary point (1-4 to 1-3). But Rangers must have known in their heart of hearts that they faced an uphill battle in the second half, against the elements. So it proved. And, strange to relate, it was their attack which let the defending champions down in that grimly-contested second half. With the prime exception of Russell, the rest of the forwards failed to shine on the day and this became palpably obvious as the second half unfolded.

Laune Rangers were magnificent in defence, where Tommy Byrne and Paudie Sheahan stood out like beacons, and Timmy Fleming turned in a stormer at midfield, considering that he has been out of football since last year’s All-Ireland final. But when it came to applying the expected forward finish, the champions failed to deliver and the tenacious Crossmaglen men were snapping at their heels all the way through the second half as the battle for supremacy was waged with feverish intensity. Liam Hassett moved from full-forward to the ‘40’ in a swop with Russell after halftime, but the desired penetration was not forthcoming. Hassett tried for all he was worth to open up the defence, but the Crossmaglen backs stuck steadfastly to their task and badgered and harried the losers’ forwards at every hand’s turn.

In hindsight, Crossmaglen called it rightly then they decided to play against the strengthening breeze, having won the toss. Events conspired to keep them very much in contention all through the first half. Timmy Fleming kicked his side into the lead with a marvellous point from a free on the 45m line after four minutes. Three minutes later, Liam Hassett plied Paul Griffin with a neat pass and the right corner-forward hit a lovely long-range point. Tony McEntee had the winners’ opening score – a point in the ninth minute. Then, in the 12th minute, disaster befell Laune Rangers. McEntee careered through the defence on a great solo-run only to be upended in the parallelogram by goalkeeper, Peter Lyons. Jim McConville nonchalantly dispatched the penalty shot to the corner of the net, with Lyons motionless in its wake. That goal proved to be the killer blow as far as the Killorglin men were concerned. It gave the Ulster title-holders a tremendous boost when playing against the strong breeze, but it also put Laune Rangers under severe pressure for the remainder of the half.

Byrne and Russell worked the ball through to Liam Hassett, but the referee gave a free out to Crossmaglen when the full-forward was in a prime scoring position in the 17th minute. However, Laune Rangers redressed the matter shortly afterwards when Byrne placed Hassett who shot a brilliant point from out-field. A defensive blunder by Billy O Shea gifted a point to Jim McConville in the 22nd minute and the Northerners led by 1-2 to 0-3. Laune Rangers replaced Joe Shannon with Pa O Sullivan in an attempt to bring more penetration to the attack.

Then, after O Sullivan touched a long free by Fleming wide, the champions were presented with a goal-scoring opportunity and they took it with open arms. The Kerrymen pressed forward and when fullback Donal Murtagh attempted to clear, he fumbled the ball. It broke onto the path of the incoming Michael Francis Russell and the centre half-forward coolly booted a ground shot to the net. That opportunist goal came after 27minutes and regained the lead for Laune Rangers. And, within a matter of seconds, they were back to extend their lead, Murphy whipping over a great point from a pass by Fleming (1-4 to 1-2). Just on halftime, Cathal Short and Gavin Cummisky combined to put Oisín McConville through for a point to narrow the deficit and Laune Rangers went in at the interval leading by just a point.

At times, Laune Rangers produced the brand of flowing football, inter-laced with intricate short-passing, which has long been their hallmark. But, unfortunately, for them on Sunday, a few such movements came unstuck because of a flawed final pass, which landed in opposition hands and which swung the game in their rivals’ direction.

Russell was the mainstay of the attack in the second half, with some spasmodic support from Liam Hassett and, in all too rare flashes, Gerard Murphy. But the attack as a whole was never firing on all cylinders as is its wont. Paul Griffin was well shadowed by Patrick McKeown, while Billy O Sullivan, in the left corner, was never a force to be reckoned with and this meant the threat in front of goal came solely from the dynamic Russell. Liam Hassett tried to light the spark but found it more than a little difficult to shake off the attentions of centre halfback Francie Bellew. The towering Colm O Neill fastened on to a long free by Tony McEntee to whip over a 36th minute point and the scores were tied for the first time.

The champions nosed in front again when Russell pointed following a free by Fleming, but they were all square again when the elusive Cathal Short cut through for a great point in the 39th minute, with the Killorglin defence under pressure. It was hard, absorbing stuff as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy. There was a resilience about the Killorglin men’s play which seemed to suggest that they had that little extra in reserve in critical situations and that this might just about tilt the scales in their favour. Twelve minutes into the half, Laune Rangers struck another blow in their bid for further glory. The dynamic Byrne found Russell and the young attacker sprinted his way through on the left flank to punch over a point. Some would say afterwards that perhaps he should have gone for a goal at such close range. But that proved to be Laune Rangers’ second last score of the game. They didn’t score again until two minutes into injury time, when Fleming pointed a free after Byrne had been fouled. But, by then, it was too little too late. The damage had been done. Fleming explained afterwards that when he asked the referee how much time was left, he gave him to understand that there was still enough time for them to get a draw. But he blew full-time almost immediately.

Russell’s 42nd minute point put his side ahead by a point (1-6 to 1-5). There were 13 minutes of absolute stalemate before Crossmaglen levelled the scores once again in the 55th minute. Oisín McConville saw his thundering shot come back off the crossbar with goalkeeper Peter Lyons beaten, but the ball broke to Short and he picked off an equaliser. Then the same player was just wide of the mark before Oisín McConville pointed, following a 59th minute movement involving O Neill, Short and Bellew, to give Crossmaglen back the lead which they never lost afterwards. They were on fire now and their supporters went wild with delight. Within 30 seconds they struck again and this time it was the all-action McEntee who burst through to boot over another great point. They shot two wides before Lyons made a memorable save from Oisín McConville, when a goal looked inevitable. McConville was wide with the ensuing ‘45’.

Laune Rangers pressed relentlessly forward but Murphy and Russell were wide in turn. Had their finish matched their Trojan approach work, I have little doubt but that Laune Rangers would still be in contention for back-to-back All-Ireland titles. Naturally, they will be wondering how it all went wrong for them in the hectic closing minutes. They’ve been in even tighter corners in their time and still managed to survive. But somehow they finally ran out of luck in O Moore Park.

Tommy Byrne gave an inspirational display at centre halfback and must certainly be in the shake-up for a place in the county jersey on his latest performance. Paudie Sheahan, likewise, excelled at fullback and they were admirably assisted in defence by Mike Hassett, Billy O Shea and, in the second half, John Sheehan. Fleming showed that he has lost none of his power and poise and we can look forward to seeing him back in the fray in the weeks and months ahead. As stated, MF Russell was the star in the forward division, with spasmodic support from Gerard Murphy and Liam Hassett. But their stars were few and far between.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor (capt.), Mike Hassett, Tommy Byrne, Billy O Shea, Pierce Prendiville, Timmy Fleming (0-2, frees), Gerard Murphy (0-1), Michael F. Russell (1-2), Joe Shannon, Paul Griffin (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-1), Billy O Sullivan. Subs: Pa O Sullivan for J. Shannon, Pa Murphy, Conor Kearney, Adrian Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, James O Shea, Pat McKenna, Fergus O Meara, John Doona. .

Crossmaglen: Jarlath McConville, Martin Califf, Donal Murtagh, Patrick McKeown, Joe Fitzpatrick, Francie Bellew, Gary McShane, John McEntee, Anthony Cunningham, Cathal Short (0-2), Tony McEntee (0-2), Oisín McConville (0-2), Jim McConville (capt.) 1-1, 1 pen., Gavin Cummiskey, Colm O Neill (0-1). Sub: Michael Moley for G. Cummiskey.

Ref: John Bannon (Longford).

It was agreed afterwards that the Rangers’ forward line failed to get into their rhythm and did not put enough scores on the board in the first half when aided by the elements. However, it was equally obvious that Billy O Shea was struggling from an early stage and he could be seen limping after Cathal Short on occasions. With backs of the calibre of Adrian Hassett and Shane O Sullivan on the sideline it was difficult to understand why action was not taken to remedy that situation. Colm O Neill played as a third midfielder and that was a ploy that Laune Rangers could not counter. It was equally perplexing that Conor Kearney was not introduced in an effort to neutralise the O Neill factor.

Co. Senior Football Championship

Sixteen teams played in the Co. Senior Football Championship, Austin Stacks, Feale Rangers, West-Kerry, Desmonds, Laune Rangers, Kenmare, Mid-Kerry, Dr. Crokes, St. Kieran’s, John Mitchels, Kerins O Rahillys, South-Kerry, Shannon Rangers, Legion, East-Kerry and St. Brendan’s.

 

Rd. 1 on Sun. 27th July at Kenmare: Kenmare 1-11; Laune Rangers 2-15.

Deirdre Walsh reported as follows on the game in the Kerryman: “Reigning county champions, Laune Rangers, had a far from easy start to their ’97 championship campaign when they made heavy weather of defeating a fit and spirited Kenmare side which, for long stretches of the game, looked like causing a major upset. In the end, it was the Killorglin men’s superior forward power and extra bit of cuteness and experience, which won the game for them. But, in truth, the final score-line flattered the winners – the teams were level for much of the second half and Kenmare were within a point of Rangers with eight minutes remaining.

The visitors started well and were leading by 0-5 to 0-2 after 15 minutes, with forwards Gerard Murphy and Pa O Sullivan in particularly good form. However, Liam Hassett and Timmy Fleming were struggling at midfield, where Kenmare’s Johnny O Sullivan and the experienced Teddy Harrington enjoyed supremacy for much of the first half. It was that midfield dominance by Kenmare which kept the home side in contention. The Kenmare comeback began in the 16th minute when in-form Kieran Moriarty kicked three beautifully-struck points in succession – the last of which was from a free – to bring the sides level at 0-5 each. From then on, Kenmare enjoyed a spell of dominance which lasted up to halftime. Pa O Sullivan put Rangers ahead briefly with a point from a free in the 22nd minute, but that was quickly cancelled out by a point from Kenmare full-forward, Brendan O Neill.

Kenmare’s Conor McSwiney and Kieran Moriarty took a point each to bring the score to 0-8 to 0-6 in favour of the home team and, at this point, the relatively small home crowd was in raptures, no doubt hoping that this two-point lead would be the catalyst for a major upset. However, the hard-working Pa O Sullivan kept the pressure off the champions with a point from a free just before the break, to leave the visitors trailing 0-7 to 0-8 at the halftime.

The second half exploded with high drama. Laune Rangers charged ahead when the rampant Gerard Murphy was pulled down in the square and Tommy Byrne had no difficulty finding the back of the net with a well-struck penalty. But there was more excitement to follow when some brilliant team-work involving Kenmare’s Seamus McIntyre and Conor McSwiney led to a McSwiney goal barely a minute later. But then Laune Rangers’ wing-forward, Brian Gannon, brought on at the start in place of Kerry star Mike Frank Russell, collected a well-executed pass from Paul Griffin and took a point to bring the sides level at 1-8 each after just seven minutes.

It was tit-for-tat for the following five minutes and the Kenmare crowd got more than their money’s worth. Teddy Harrington put Kenmare ahead with a point from a free, but Billy O Shea, who had a far better second half, quickly replied with a point at the other end. Again, it was Kenmare that went ahead with a point from Brendan O Neill a minute later, but the ever-reliable Paul Griffin again cancelled this out with a well-struck point for the Killorglin men. After 18 minutes, the teams were deadlocked at 1-10 apiece, with Kenmare looking sharper and enjoying the greater share of possession. But the reigning champions made better use of the ball in attack and points by Gerard Murphy and Liam Hassett put them ahead by 1-12 to 1-10 after 20 minutes. To the credit of the home side, they never hung their heads and a point from a free by Brendan O Neill brought them within a point of Rangers with just eight minutes left.

It was then that the extra experience of Laune Rangers became important. The excellent Pa O Sullivan, who was easily the best of John Evans’ team on the day, battled against the sticky Kenmare backs to shoot two more points, both from play, to leave the score at 1-14 to 1-11. Kenmare enjoyed enough possession to be able to come right back at the champions as the final minutes ticked away, but nothing happened up front and the industrious Billy O Shea neatly wrapped it all up for Rangers with a goal in the 28th minute. He collected a pass from Timmy Fleming and ran through the Kenmare backline before firing the ball to the net. Pa O Sullivan had the final say for Rangers when he pointed in the last seconds of the game.

Their coolness won it in the end for Rangers, who were best served by Pa O Sullivan, Gerard Murphy, Billy O Shea, Paul Griffin and, to a lesser extent, Tommy Byrne, who took his penalty well but had a quiet game by his own standards.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Mike Hassett, Mark O Connor, John O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne (1-0, pen), Shane O Sullivan, Timmy Fleming, Liam Hassett (0-1), Brian Gannon (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-7, 4 frees), James O Shea, Paul Griffin (0-2), Gerard Murphy (0-3), Billy O Shea (1-1). Subs: Johnny Lynch for J. O Shea, Billy O Sullivan for B. Gannon, Pierce Prendiville, Conor Kearney, Paudie Sheahan, Derry O Sullivan, Fergus O Meara, Eoin O Connell, Adrian Hassett..

Kenmare: Tomás Carey, Pat Twomey, Conor Daly, Danny Quill, John K. O Sullivan, Sean O Shea, John Daly, Teddy Harrington (0-1), Johnny O Sullivan, Conor McSwiney (1-1), Seamus McIntyre, James Moriarty, Kieran Moriarty (0-5, 3 frees), Brendan O Neill (0-4, 3 frees), Fergus O Sullivan.

Ref: Paudie Hickey (Gneeveguilla) – very fair throughout the game.

 

Quarter-final on Sat. 30th Aug. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Laune Rangers 1-17; St. Kieran’s 2-12.

Conor O Donnell reported on the game for the Kerryman as follows: “Laune Rangers are the team to beat again this year. At times, the Killorglin men looked devastating in this game, playing the ball with absolute control, precision and incisiveness. Pity poor St. Kieran’s. They really had no answer to Rangers’ quality play and it wasn’t until the Killorglin side relaxed their game with 12 minutes remaining (with an eight-point lead) that the divisional team was allowed to come back into the game.

There was always a menacing sense of the Killorglin side’s ability to up a gear whenever St. Kieran’s threatened their dominance. However, that conservative approach was severely tested at the end, and if seasoned Rangers’ keeper, Peter Lyons, had failed to make two brilliant late saves, the champions could easily have been robbed of a game they scarcely deserved to lose.

No doubt about it, Rangers are moving well. For much of last year, the side looked tired, but they are back refreshed. In football terms, they’re playing a strong, fluid game with timely and well-placed passes, great follow-up play and covering. And, of course, a few younger players – Michael F. Russell, Pa O Sullivan, John Sheehan and Brian Gannon – have firmly established themselves in the game-plan.

Rangers opened the scoring following the throw-in, with Pierce Prendiville finding Pa O Sullivan who pointed. Billy O Shea was on the end of a move involving Liam Hassett, Brian Gannon and Michael Francis Russell for Rangers’ second score, before Pa O Sullivan pointed again, giving them a three-point lead after just three minutes. Liam Brosnan signalled what a threat he can be with an impressive point for Kieran’s from 20 yards a minute later, after Ruairí O Rahilly released him with a clever pass. Rangers then moved into a five-point lead after just eight minutes – points from Pa O Sullivan (0-2, 1 free) and Brian Gannon. However, St. Kieran’s began to settle and worked hard to keep apace of Rangers.

Sean McElligott, grafting for all he was worth, picked off two points, the second an impressive sideline free from 30 yards. O Rahilly and Gene O Keeffe finished the scoring spree with a point apiece, cutting the deficit to one point. Rangers, smarting at their opponents’ resurgence, gave us a glimpse of the gulf in standards between the sides in the final 10 minutes of the half. Timmy Fleming and Pa O Sullivan kicked two frees, following fouls on Gerard Murphy and Billy O Shea, before Gerard Murphy sped through an opening in the Kieran’s defence. Goalkeeper, Liam O Sullivan, reacted brilliantly to save Murphy’s powerful left-footed shot from point-blank range. With two minutes remaining, Rangers’ corner-forward Billy O Shea won a ball in the heart of his own defence, fed corner-back John Sheehan who stormed up the field to the 21-yard line and hooked over a fine point without one St. Kieran’s player getting in a tackle. Liam Brosnan and Liam Hassett swapped points, leaving Rangers ahead by four points at halftime (0-10 to 0-6).

Michael F. Russell, now switched from full-forward to wing-forward, opened the second half with a good point before Timmy Fleming and Ruairi O Rahilly shared pointed frees. Billy O Shea switched to centre half-forward, with Liam Hassett moving to full-forward. Billy O Shea, oozing confidence following his storming All-Ireland semi-final display, kicked a delightful point in the 38th minute. In possession on the right wing, he held the ball, sized up his options and swung the ball over the bar with his left boot. O Rahilly got his second pointed free from the hand, again following a needless foul on Liam Brosnan.

Then, in the space of three minutes, Rangers exploded again. Liam Hassett, who gave a solid display, pointed before St. Kieran’s keeper, Liam O Sullivan, made another spectacular save. Russell, on the burst, chipped up the ball and hammered it at goal, but O Sullivan’s reflexes were superb and he smothered the ball confidently. With the title-holders leading by 0-14 to 0-8, Rangers’ Pa O Sullivan and Timmy Fleming pointed frees, giving the Killorglin side a comfortable eight-point lead with 14 minutes remaining.

But St. Kieran’s showed great character in refusing to give up. A sweeping movement, involving Ruairí O Rahillys, Denis Dennehy and Sean McElligott, released Liam Brosnan, who made no mistake when striking the ball low and hard past a number of Killorglin backs. If anybody was in doubt about Laune Rangers resolve, they were reassured a minute later. Russell had the ball in the net at the other end with a left-footed drive. It was a lethal response. St. Kieran’s wing-forward Sean McElligott and Ruairí O Rahilly, with a massive free from off the hands from 50 yards, scored points before Pa O Sullivan pointed with the outside of his boot following hard graft – a point which epitomised his superb display.

Laune Rangers continued to create openings but consistently failed to find the post, the normally very accurate Gerard Murphy being the most culpable. They kicked eight wides in the second half, as opposed to just two in the first. Kieran’s seized upon Rangers’ lethargy (now seven points ahead, 1-17 to 1-10, with three minutes left) by taking a simply-worked goal. A long ball from midfielder Denis Dennehy found his brother, Pa, unmarked and he made no mistake, banging the ball into the net. Then, on the stroke of fulltime, O Rahilly, foraging for a goal, was brought down in the square by Tommy Byrne who, despite this needless indiscretion, gave a solid display at centre-back. With just four points separating the sides, Sean McElligott faced a pressure kick. However, his effort was spectacularly palmed over the bar by Peter Lyons, giving Rangers an amazing let-off. Kieran’s battled for four minutes for a break-through, which almost paid off when Liam Brosnan fed the incoming Gene O Keeffe, but Lyons was equal to that goal-shot and managed to palm over the bar in breathtaking fashion.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan (0-1), Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, Pa Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Timmy Fleming (0-3, 3 frees), Pierce Prendiville, Pa O Sullivan (0-7, 3 frees), Liam Hassett (0-2), Gerard Murphy, Brian Gannon (0-1), Michael F. Russell (1-1), Billy O Shea (0-2). Subs: Paul Griffin for B. Gannon, James O Shea for M. O Connor, Billy O Sullivan for G. Murphy, John O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan. Adrian and Mike Hassett were injured and unable to play.

St. Kieran’s: Liam O Sullivan (Ballymac), Con Greaney (Cordal), James Flynn (Currow), Jack O Connell (Knocknagoshel), Neily O Sullivan (Ballymac), Kieran Scanlon (Currow), John Maguire (do.), Sean O Connor (do.), Denis Dennehy (do.), Sean McElligott (Knocknagoshel) 0-4, 1 free, Pa Dennehy (Currow) 1-0, Ruairí O Rahilly (Ballymac) 0-4, 3 frees), Con Fleming (Currow), Gene O Keeffe (Ballymac) 0-2, Liam Brosnan (Currow) 1-2. Subs: John McGlynn (Currow) for J. Maguire, Tom Fleming (Currow) for N. O Sullivan.

Ref: Johnny Cahill (Rathmore).

 

Semi-final on Sun. 5th Oct. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Laune Rangers 0-17; West-Kerry 2-9.

Eamonn Horan reported on the game in the Kerryman as follows: “Laune Rangers are poised to take their third AIB county senior football championship title as a result of this hard-earned but totally deserved victory over a gallant West-Kerry side at Fitzgerald Stadium. In the end, it was the dazzling teamwork and never-say-die spirit of the defending champions which carried the day. This was a game that throbbed with lots of excitement and the fact that the issue hung in the balance for so very long ensured that it held the attention of the 12,000 strong attendance right to the final whistle.

West-Kerry had gone into this game with high hopes of taking revenge for last year’s narrow defeat by Rangers in the final. They certainly didn’t fail for want of effort and endeavour. Indeed, there were times when it looked like they would succeed. And it took a magnificent co-ordinated performance on the part of Laune Rangers to thwart them in a nail-biting finish.

Scores were level four times in the opening half, at the end of which West-Kerry led by a point (1-8 to 0-10). The sides were again tied twice in the second half. It was a game that West-Kerry could have won, had they been able to build on their early first-half dominance and again when they scored their second goal early in the second half and followed with a point to leave them leading by four points (2-9 to 0-11). West-Kerry will also point to an incident in the final quarter when star forward Dara Ó Cinnéide was blatantly fouled but the referee failed to award West-Kerry a free. Instead, Rangers launched a counter-attack from which they levelled the scores for the sixth time in the game. In the hectic closing minutes, it was the greater teamwork, cohesion and finishing power of the Killorglin men, which saw them reach yet another final and, in the process, they signalled their intention of holding onto the Bishop Moynihan trophy for another year.

West-Kerry received a wonderful fillip when Sean Geaney finished the ball to the net in the sixth minute. Dara Ó Sé found the Dingle man with a through-ball, but Geaney’s initial attempt rebounded off goalkeeper Peter Lyons and the left corner-forward finished it to the net. That gave the challengers a lead of four points (1-2 to 0-1). But they were never quite able to shake themselves free of the tenacious Rangers’ side. Tommy Byrne, at midfield, and Timmy Fleming, on the 40, were right at the top of their form for Rangers and it was largely through their energy and enterprise that Rangers stayed afloat in the opening half. Byrne fielded and pushed forward with commendable fluency, while Fleming once again showed what a whole-hearted player he is. He won some great ball and triggered off some rewarding movements by the winners’ attack over the hour.

The West-Kerry forwards frequently found their way barred by a tight-marking defence in which Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Mark O Connor and Pa Murphy excelled. Mike Hassett marked his return to action with a capital performance and he was one of the architects of his side’s great comeback after West-Kerry had shot into a four-point lead seven minutes into the second half. At that stage it was looking somewhat ominous for the title-holders. Were they going to wilt under the pressure being applied by their opponents? Or could they produce some of the power-play that has so often in the past hauled them off the floor and put them back in contention?

Once again, Rangers dug into their reserves of stamina and endurance as they began to slowly but surely overtake their opponents. The amazing thing about the second half was the fact that once Ó Cinnéide had kicked a point in the seventh minute, to give West-Kerry a four-point lead, they failed to score again for the remainder of the game. Instead, we witnessed a tremendous resurgence by Laune Rangers as they set about the task of overhauling their rivals. Sharp-shooting Pa O Sullivan and Gerard Murphy had points in the 41st and 42nd minutes to reduce the arrears (2-9 to 0-13). Liam Hassett was almost through when his shot was brilliantly blocked down by Micí Ó Conchúir.

The losers substituted Pól Quinn for Fintan Ashe at midfield, but they were unable to loosen Laune Rangers’ grip on the exchanges in this area at this stage of the game. In this half, Pierce Prendiville moved up a gear or two and gave whole-hearted support to the rampant Tommy Byrne. Thus the Rangers’ attack saw plenty of good ball as the half progressed and they turned several of these chances to telling account. In the 50th minute, Mike Hassett and his brother, Liam, combined to put Pa O Sullivan through and the tall wing-forward cut through the middle to boot over an excellent point. Then Fleming was wide with a long free. But Rangers kept powering their way forward in search of scores that would save the day for them.

In the 54th minute, they came raiding again, and again it was Mike and Liam Hassett who made ground and paved the way for Gerard Murphy to punch over the equalising point (2-9 to 0-15). Three minutes from time, Rangers launched another attack. The ball reached Michael F. Russell who dummied his way round centre halfback, Tomás Ó Sé, before passing to Mark O Connor and the left corner-back’s parting shot went over the bar off goalkeeper Diarmuid Murphy’s hands. Rangers had taken the lead for the third time in the game, but this time they were not going to relinquish it. They had the scent of victory in their nostrils and would not be denied. In fairness to West-Kerry, they tried to retaliate. Riobard Mac Gearailt found Bingo Driscoll with a neat pass but the Annascaul man’s shot was daringly blocked down by Shane O Sullivan.

Then, in the 58th minute, Gerard Murphy again demonstrated what a fine marksman he is when he booted over his fourth point of the game and Rangers were through to the final against East-Kerry. Once again, Laune Rangers had shown that they are a team apart when it comes to fighting their way out of tight corners. Other teams might well have capitulated in the face of the kind of pressure exerted on them by West-Kerry all through the opening half and again early in the second half when the losers hit them for goal No. 2. But not Rangers. They are men with big hearts who never know when to give in. It is this resiliency and splendid all-round teamwork which sets them apart from all other teams in the championship. They’ll not be easily foiled in the final.

Outstanding for Rangers were Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Pa Murphy and Mark O Connor in defence, Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville at midfield and Timmy Fleming, Pa O Sullivan, Gerard Murphy and Liam Hassett in attack. Michael F. Russell had a comparatively quiet game by his standards.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor (0-1), Pa Murphy, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Pierce Prendiville (0-1), Tommy Byrne (capt.), Pa O Sullivan (0-6, 3 frees), Timmy Fleming (0-3, 2 frees), Michael F. Russell, Paul Griffin (0-1), Liam Hassett, Gerard Murphy (0-4). Sub: Brian Gannon for P. Griffin, James O Shea, Conor Kearney, Billy O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan, Fergus O Meara, Johnny Lynch, John O Sullivan, Paudie Sheahan.

West-Kerry: Diarmuid Murphy (Dingle), Noel Murphy (do.), Micí Ó Conchúir (Gaeltacht), Kieran O Driscoll (Annascaul), Mark Moynihan (do.), Tomás Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory), Dara Ó Sé (Gaeltacht) 0-1, Fintan Ashe (Dingle), Riobard Mac Gearailt (Gaeltacht) 0-1, J.J. Corduff (do.) 0-1, Aodán Mac Gearailt (do.) 0-1, Dara Ó Cinnéide (do.) 0-4, 2 frees, Bingo Driscoll (Annascaul) 0-1, Sean Geaney (Dingle) 2-0. Sub: Pól Quinn (Gaeltacht) for F. Ashe.

Ref: Michael O Donoghue (Glenflesk).

John Evans, the Laune Rangers’ manager, admitted that it was a tough game. ‘It was a great football game and football was the winner,’ said Evans. ‘While it was a tough game, it’s still only the semi-final and we still have to perform in the final on next Sunday. In the end, it was our resiliency and never-say-die spirit saw us through. It was a hard, tight game of football. We kicked quite a number of wides at a time when it was quite close. Michael Francis Russell, Gerard Murphy, Liam Hassett and Timmy Fleming all kicked wides. But the bottom line is that it’s still only a semi-final. We finished very well. We have put in a huge effort to get to the final and we have beaten last year’s county finalists to get there.’

 

In his preview of the Co. Final, Eamonn wrote in the Kerryman, “These are indeed heady and exciting days for Kerry football. Two weeks ago, it was all about the All-Ireland final and Kerry’s 31st title. Last weekend it was the turn of the county football championship semi-finals to hold centre-stage. Now, on Sunday there is the very fitting finale to the year with the staging of the AIB Co. SFC final at the Austin Stack Park between title-holders Laune Rangers and East-Kerry. The Tralee venue should house a bumper attendance for this repeat of the 1995 meeting of the teams in the final.

Following their tremendous victory over West-Kerry in last Sunday’s semi-final, Laune Rangers go into this final as the strong fancy to lift the Bishop Moynihan Cup for the third successive year. Admittedly, the defending champions had to survive a mighty joust with the Westerners before eventually proving superior. Indeed, there were times over the hour when it looked as if their crown was in serious jeopardy, such was the power and the intensity of the challenge thrown down by West-Kerry. But, as they have done so often in the past, Rangers survived the tempest and, in the final quarter, they produced some superbly controlled football to overtake their rivals and they cut through for two great match-winning points in the last few minutes of the game.

It was a game that had the big crowd on tender-hooks of excitement as the teams battled for all they were worth to gain the ascendancy. They were level six times in all over the hour and, inevitably, at the final whistle, there were the stories of missed chances and questionable refereeing. But, when all is said and done, Rangers were full value for their victory. Once again they showed that they are an exceptional side – a side with commitment and purpose and a fighting spirit above the ordinary and a side which never knows when to give best.

Rangers must be concerned at the conceding of two softish goals in last week’s semi-final and it remains to be seen if men like Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, John Sheehan and Pa Murphy can blot out the threat from the East-Kerry attack. The burning question, of course, is whether or not East-Kerry’s backline can withstand the might of Laune Rangers’ forward artillery when it is unleashed over the hour. Last Sunday, Timmy Fleming, Gerard Murphy and Pa O Sullivan played out of their skins and between them accounted for 13 of their team’s 17 scores. I expect Michael Francis Russell to be back to his very best for the final and, if Paul Griffin and Liam Hassett deliver on the day, then East-Kerry will be in serious trouble. In their three games played to date, Rangers have scored 3-49 and conceded 5-32, while East-Kerry, in four matches played, have notched 1-51 and had 3-31 scored against them.

Pa O Sullivan aggravated a shoulder injury in the semi-final but the Rangers’ wing-forward is expected to be ok. Other than that, Mike Hassett took a knock in the ribs and brother, Liam, shipped a facial bang, but they are both certain to line out. ‘We’ll have to have a serious look at marking Con O Connor in the centre of the field,’ said Rangers’ assistant trainer, John Griffin. ‘And there’s our defence – if we were to concede 2-9 against East-Kerry, I can’t see us winning. Tommy Byrne is bang in form and Pierce Prendiville totally dominated his man. We have young players like Pa O Sullivan and John Sheehan coming through. They’re very ambitious and they want to get places. They have brought a new thrust to the team and there’s also the enthusiasm of the other players. We would be reasonably confident. But, in saying that, East-Kerry poses a massive threat. However, I would be very hopeful of pulling off the three-in-a-row.’

So, the scene is set for what should be a thrilling game of football. The scales seem tilted in favour of the defending champions judging on collateral semi-final form. But East-Kerry may be propelled more than a little by going into this game as outsiders. They have a lot of talented footballers in their ranks. But, for me, I’ll stick with Laune Rangers to answer all the questions. I believe they have the football, the flair and the key men to make it another night of celebrations by Launeside on Sunday evening.”

 

Brian Carroll spoke to the Laune Rangers’ captain, Tommy Byrne, prior to the final for the Kerryman: “Laune Rangers’ captain, Tommy Byrne, has had to handle some slippery customers in his time – on the field and off it. Being a vet by trade, his working week can involve putting his hands in some unmentionable quarters and, at weekends, he plays football.

This Sunday, one of the East-Kerry midfielders, Donal Daly or Con O Connor, will face up to Tommy Byrne in the county final and Byrne isn’t bothered about which one it is. He’s hoping to lead his team to their third county championship title in-a-row, and his commitment has never been stronger. Sunday’s game will involve a lot of inter-county stars and, while Tommy Byrne may no longer be one of them, he’s just as good on his day and he will have a major say in the destination of the Bishop Moynihan trophy no matter who is marking him.  Byrne is surrounded by inter-county stars at Laune Rangers – the Hassetts, Billy O Shea, Michael F. Russell – but he is just as highly-rated by the Laune Rangers’ faithful as any of their Kerry stars and his role in securing the All-Ireland Club Championship for the Killorglin side in 1995 is well-documented. ‘That was the high-light of my career. My most abiding memory was of the pressure we were put under for 20 minutes of that game. We learned a lot from that. I will always remember coming home to Killorglin with the cup. It was all worth it for that,’ Byrne told the Kerryman.

The lessons of resilience and reward learned that day have stood to both the club and the man. Then and now, Laune Rangers don’t finish any game until they are in the showers afterwards. West-Kerry know all about that after last Sunday, and East-Kerry know they will have to stop Byrne and his midfield partner, Pierce Prendiville, if they are to have any chance this weekend.

Based in Adare, Byrne hasn’t let the long drive from the Limerick village to Killorglin interfere with his club responsibilities. His club-mate, Billy O Shea, was based in Adare as a veterinary sales representative until earlier this year, when his commitment to the Kerry team forced him to move temporarily back to Listowel. Prior to that, he shared a house in Adare with Byrne and Currow footballer, Con Fleming. On nights when they were not training in Kerry, the three used often train together with ex-Laune Rangers’ man, Joe Shannon. Football at this level is more than a pastime. ‘It’s a huge commitment travelling up and down for training. I suppose I am lucky enough in that my busy time as a vet is almost all in the close-season for football, so I can make the time.’

Football was always a passion for the 6ft 2in midfielder ever since his days at Killorglin’s Intermediate School. He helped the college to win the Munster Division Three title in 1988 before moving to Dublin, where he competed in the more illustrious Sigerson Cup with UCD. He didn’t taste the Sigerson Cup victories but an All-Ireland minor medal helped whet the appetite for more bites at the cherry. Success at the highest level with Laune Rangers was only around the corner. In 1993, he made the breakthrough at senior inter-county level but it was short-lived. ‘I played a couple of National League games. I was in the panel under Ogie Moran in 1993 but I didn’t do that well. I was still in college doing my finals and I got injured and I was dropped at Christmas.’

His luck didn’t change much under Páidí Ó Sé. ‘I was on the panel when Páidí took over. We were in the club championship with Laune Rangers and the commitment was very demanding. Again I played National League games. I did well against Derry but the club pulled me out of the game against Meath in Tralee and I think that went against me.’

Watching his club-mates’ role in Kerry’s All-Ireland victory, does he still dream of playing for Kerry? ‘It’s hard to say. I was finding the training difficult. I need to train a long time to get fit. It’s a huge commitment to play with any county team these days. At that moment, it didn’t really suit me. I was based in Adare and travelling for training. There were only two of us at work because my boss died. Football was taking all my free time. It was working and football, working and football. Whether I’ll ever play with Kerry again is conjecture but my allegiance will always be to my club. At the moment, my club is all I think about – not Kerry.’

A son of Thomas and Margaret Byrne, Tommy is the second eldest of six children. On Sunday, the whole family will be shouting him on, and he doesn’t aim to disappoint. ‘Last year the team was tired but there is no questioning our hunger this year. Our aim was to get a three-in-a-row immediately after winning last year. We certainly will not under-estimate East-Kerry on Sunday, but I will be just as proud as everyone else on the team if we can win that three-in-a-row.’

Win or lose – Adare, the day-job, and another year’s training will beckon for the Laune Rangers’ stalwart.”

 

Final on Sun. 12th Oct. at Austin Stack Park: Laune Rangers 1-9; East-Kerry 0-12.

Eamonn Horan reported on the game in the Kerryman as follows: “For sheer intensity, excitement and a nerve-wracking finish, it would be difficult to surpass Sunday’s AIB Co. SFC final at Austin Stacks Park, which saw Laune Rangers come perilously close to relinquishing their title in the face of a tremendous challenge by an East-Kerry side, which had good cause to bemoan their missed chances when it was all over.

East-Kerry had gone into the game as sheer outsiders, but they made light of general public opinion going into the game. Indeed, from the moment when Michael D. Cahill sped down the left wing flank to beat wing-back Shane O Sullivan and knock over their opening point, after two minutes, the East-Kerrymen were on fire and they had their opponents running round in circles in the first 10 minutes, at the end of which they led by 0-5 to 0-0. East-Kerry took control at midfield from the very outset, with Donal Daly and, in particular, Con O Connor lording it over Pierce Prendiville and Tommy Byrne. This ensured a ready supply of good ball to the attack and, with Paud O Donoghue, Daly and O Connor on target, the challengers realised from a very early stage in the game that Rangers were far from being unbeatable.

But, as the half unfolded, East-Kerry lost their way on a couple of occasions through over-elaboration and, had they used the more direct route to goal, they could have been in a far more commanding lead that the four-point margin they enjoyed at the interval, when they led by 0-8 to 0-4. Pa O Sullivan eventually opened Laune Rangers’ account with an 11th minute point from a free and by the 20th minute they had closed the gap to two points. In between times, however, East-Kerry missed a great chance of stretching the lead when John Crowley kicked a terrible wide.

Tommy Byrne was playing like a Trojan in the middle of the field for Rangers, but he received little real back-up from Prendiville in the opening 30 minutes, with the result that Rangers’ attack rarely enjoyed the kind of free-flowing supply on which they thrive. And when the title-holders did mount offensives, their forwards were subjected to some very stubborn resistance from an East-Kerry defence in which Seamus Moynihan was rock-solid at centre halfback and there were other fine displays from the likes of Anthony Morris, Tom O Sullivan and Eoin O Doherty.

East-Kerry pounced in the 22nd minute when, after Crowley robbed Timmy Fleming, the divisional side worked its way through for a well-taken point by Paud O Donoghue. East-Kerry were winning good ball at this stage but they overplayed it on occasions and some prominent movements came to naught. In the 26th minute, Paud O Donoghue as wide from a kickable free, but the challengers were back within a minute when Denis Moynihan put Crowley through for a point and Paud O Donoghue put five points between the teams when he pointed a free two minutes from halftime, after Adrian Hassett had fouled Con O Connor. Mike and Liam Hassett combined for Liam to notch a point in the 29th minute. At this stage, Fleming was at full-forward, with Liam Hassett moving out to the ‘40’. Rangers had a chance to reduce the deficit with the half in injury time. Pa O Sullivan was fouled by Morris but Fleming’s free-kick came back off the right upright. So, East-Kerry went in leading by four points at halftime and they must have been feeling reasonably happy with them selves at this stage as they faced the second half with the prospect of the strengthening breeze behind them.

Gerard Murphy had moved from left corner to the full-forward position on the resumption. The half was scarcely half a minute in progress when Mike Hassett raced up the middle and drove over a tremendous point. Laune Rangers were now playing with far greater purpose and cohesion than they had been in the opening half. For one thing, Prendiville started to come into the picture more and, with Byrne buzzing around the centre like a busy bee, they more than stabilised the earlier grip on the exchanges which Daly and O Connor enjoyed for East-Kerry. In addition, Liam Hassett came very much into the game. He roamed all over the place and won some excellent ball to help initiate some probing raids on their opponents’ lines.

Paud O Donoghue pointed a free from his hands in the 33rd minute after he had been fouled himself. Rangers struck at the other end in the 36th minute when Byrne, Prendiville and Liam Hassett combined to put Fleming through for a point – the ball going over off the right post to narrow East-Kerry’s lead to three points (0-9 to 0-6). Anthony Morris, who was one of the pillars of the East-Kerry defence, foiled a hot Rangers’ attack when he saved from Gerard Murphy. But the Killorglin side quickly launched another attack and after Liam Hassett’s shot came back off the post, he regained possession to punch a point and now his side were trailing by just two points, nine minutes into the half. A shot from Crowley was blocked down, but East-Kerry regrouped and Cahill passed to Daly who pointed. That score came after Seamus Moynihan had brilliantly blocked down a shot by Pa O Sullivan.

On a few occasions, Mossie Cronin popped up back in defence, once in particular to clear from a free by Fleming. Midway through the half, Cronin was replaced in the attack by Sean Og O Leary and the Gneeveguilla man quickly got involved in the thick of the action. Rangers reduced the deficit to two points again when Pa O Sullivan pointed a free from his hands. That was after 15 minutes of the half. Then, three minutes later, the game took a dramatic turning when Rangers struck for the only goal of the game. Seamus Moynihan went to clear his lines but his pass was intercepted and Prendiville engaged in a one-two with Liam Hassett before sending a return pass to Hassett and the Kerry captain sent an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net, giving goalkeeper Declan O Keeffe no chance whatsoever. It was a magnificently taken goal. Rangers had hit the front for the first time in the game (1-8 to 0-10) and their supporters in the crowd of about 8,000 went wild with delight.

Were we about to see East-Kerry being taken apart in the face of a tidal wave of power play from the defending champions? Seamus Moynihan was fouled and Paud O Donoghue pointed the free from his hands to tie up the game, with ten minutes remaining. The excitement was at fever pitch as both sides battled for supremacy. It certainly was no place for anybody other than the bravest of heart at this stage and, not surprisingly, tempers became a little bit frayed on both sides on a few occasions. Then, in the 51st minute, East-Kerry mounted another offensive. Sean Og O Leary and Crowley combined to make an opening and there was Denis Moynihan to split the posts with a perfectly placed shot and East-Kerry were back in front amidst a welter of excitement. Mike Hassett put Michael Francis Russell through, but the wing-forward found his path to goal barred by a phalanx of red and white shirted defenders.

Four minutes from the finish, Rangers came storming up-field again. Two of their players seemed to touch the ball on the ground but play continued and when it finally reached Russell, the No. 12 planted a high ball between the uprights to tie the scores for the second time in the game. A minute later there was more high drama when Daly was robbed by Liam Hassett as he tried to engineer an attack. Then Mike Hassett burst on the scene again and found substitute Brian Gannon with a pass. The latter in turn picked out the waiting Russell. It seemed as if the ball was destined for the East-Kerry net again but goalkeeper Declan O Keeffe made a fantastic save at point blank range. The title was still up for grabs. Rangers raided again but this time substitute Conor Kearney was wide with a high ball.

The reality was that both teams had chances to clinch victory but failed to take them and, in the end, a draw was perhaps the fairest result. It was a game that gripped the crowd from start to finish and nobody will want to miss chapter two of this football saga. Football was certainly the overall winner on the day and followers are assured of another thrill-packed game of football when they meet in the replay.

Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Mark O Connor and Shane O Sullivan stood out in the Rangers’ defence, with Byrne and Prendiville (second half) putting in some sterling work at midfield. Up front, Liam Hassett had a superb game and it was he more than any other individual player who inspired his side’s great second half comeback. He was ably supported by Pa O Sullivan, Paul Griffin, Timmy Fleming and Michael Francis Russell. Gerard Murphy was always in the thick of the action but he was never allowed much space in which to manufacture scores.”

Two matters were the subject of conversation afterwards amongst the Rangers’ supporters. The first was the little protection that the referee accorded to Gerard Murphy against the rough-house tactics of the East-Kerry corner-back, Michael O Donoghue. He continuously fouled the Laune Rangers’ man, many of the fouls going unpunished and that contributed hugely to Laune Rangers inability to win the game. The second was Mike Frank Russell’s decision to go for a goal near the end when a more judicious tap over the bar would have given his side the lead. However, how was he to know that it was the last scoring opportunity of the game? In any case, as Mikey Sheehy said afterwards, it was a great sign of a forward to have the confidence to go for goal in situations like that.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Pa Murphy, Mike Hassett (0-1), Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, Tommy Byrne (capt.), Paul Griffin, Timmy Fleming (0-2, 1 free), Michael F. Russell (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-3, 1 free), Liam Hassett (1-2), Gerard Murphy. Subs: Brian Gannon for P. Griffin, Conor Kearney for P. Prendiville, James O Shea, Billy O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan, Fergus O Meara, Johnny Lynch, John O Sullivan, Paudie Sheahan.

East-Kerry: Declan O Keeffe (Rathmore), Anthony Morris (Spa), Niall Mangan (Kilcummin), Michael O Donoghue (Glenflesk), Tom O Sullivan (Rathmore), Seamus Moynihan (Glenflesk), Eoin O Doherty (Rathmore), Donal Daly (Firies) 0-2, Con O Connor (do.) 0-1, Denis Moynihan (Rathmore) 0-1, John Crowley (Glenflesk) 0-1, Michael D. Cahill (Rathmore) 0-1, Paud O Donoghue (Glenflesk) 0-6, 4 frees, Mossie Cronin (Spa), Jerry Murphy (Rathmore). Subs: Sean Og O Leary (Gneeveguilla) for M. Cronin, Charlie McCarthy (Gneeveguilla) for N. Mangan.

Ref: Tom McCarthy (Desmonds).

 

Eamonn Horan captured the mood in the Laune Rangers’ camp prior to the county final replay: “The one thing that won’t happen in Sunday’s county football final replay is that Laune Rangers will not be allowing East-Kerry sail into an early five-points lead like they did in the drawn game. That is the categorical view of trainer John Evans. ‘I believe it will be a very close game,’ said the Laune Rangers’ man, speaking after he had put his troops through another strenuous training session in preparation for the replay. ‘There’s no doubt about it, it’s going to be tooth and nail and has the making of a cracking game. But we certainly will not be giving a five-point lead to East-Kerry this time. We didn’t play well the last day and we’ll have to up our performance considerably for the replay because East-Kerry have shown that they are a very good side. But there might be a small bit of pressure to perform as well on this occasion. A lot of the pressure has been taken off Laune Rangers. We are playing a very good team, which has proven ability in that they have now played three county championships in three years. I know they haven’t won, but they showed they can compete with the best. When we have a look at East-Kerry, and where their strengths are, we should be able to counter-act them.’

Evans makes no secret of the fact that it was a bit much to expect Laune Rangers to come out and give ‘big performances’ on successive Sundays against West-Kerry in the semi-final and then against East-Kerry in the final. ‘We have knuckled down to it for the past three weeks,’ he said. ‘We have trained hard. I think we are in for a very good, hard, fast game. It’s a fifty-fifty situation at this stage and nobody can deny that. Looking back at the drawn game, East-Kerry controlled midfield for the hour, but we still managed to come back and go ahead of them. We will have to break even at midfield and our forwards will have to work harder and can’t be waiting for the ball to come to them. With the defence playing behind a beaten midfield, we found it very hard to get the ball to the forwards. The forwards will have to work harder.’

The Tralee-based Garda believes they have learned a lot from playing East-Kerry, both from the point of view of the quality of the team and the type of game they play. He is pleased that the team is injury free – Billy O Shea’s absence apart, that is. They have been training five times a week, including weekends – the latter being used specially to improve ball play and to indulge in ball practice. ‘I would certainly expect the pace of the game to be a bit quicker,’ said the trainer. ‘We are expecting East-Kerry to be even better than the last day. There is huge room for improvement in our game from the drawn game and we hope to be able to produce that on the day.’

Evans said the whole idea of doing ‘three-in-a-row’ had gone out the window. ‘It’s now a county final and a Kerry county championship is a very prestigious thing to win,’ he said. ‘After the game the last day, I didn’t know we were going to be nominated by the County Board to represent Kerry in the Munster Club Championship. We put more credence in the county championship than in the club championship at this stage.’

The trainer readily acknowledges the tremendous loss the absence of Billy O Shea is to the team. ‘But we have crossed those hurdles before without key players and still achieved our goal,’ he said. ‘Whilst we are very sympathetic towards Billy O Shea, the team has got to get on with the job. I am very pleased the way the players have responded over the past three weeks. They are extremely fit and they will be a lot more focussed. The last day, we had to be able to produce good stuff in an excellent game where we came from behind. Having had a good, long look at it, we hope to be able to do the business and to win by a couple of points.’

Rangers’ captain, Tommy Byrne, feels that while they could have won the drawn game, they didn’t have the determination to win it. ‘We were lucky,’ he said. ‘It gave us a lot of things to work on – areas to target and to work on. We were very disappointed with our display. A lot of us did not play well. We were not competitive enough. We allowed them to dictate the pace of the game. But we hope to rectify that and the training has been going extremely well. People realise they have a job to do.’

The Limerick-based vet admits that East-Kerry played very well, but then ‘we knew they would be good.’ ‘We did not take them for granted,’ he said. ‘East-Kerry dominated all their match against Austin Stacks in the semi-final, but they didn’t transform their advantage into scores. We knew how well they played last year and we were not underestimating them at all.’ The high-fielding midfielder doesn’t think Rangers have gone off the boil. ‘Last year they said the same thing and we still won,’ he said. ‘The opposition has got a lot stronger in the last two years. They are two years older now and there is a wealth of inter-county experience in East-Kerry. I would be confident but I would be cautiously confident. We know what kind of task is before us and we are more aware of it. We won’t be as static or immobile. If we get more possession, we can translate it into scores.’

Byrne said they had thought about the ‘three-in-a-row’ goal earlier on, but in the past few months they have been just thinking about another championship. The captain said they were injury free except for Pierce Prendiville’s sore hip. ‘Apart from that, we have no serious injuries,’ he said. ‘Timmy Fleming had the flu, but he has recovered.’ He said they would have preferred to have played the replay a week sooner, but ‘in hindsight, it has given us an extra week of preparation.’

‘I’ll be happy if we win by a point,’ said Byrne. ‘In fact, I don’t care what we win by as long as we win. They say we are very hard to beat, but they have so many fellows who can win the game for them. There is always the possibility of Seamus Moynihan coming up behind and sticking in a goal. It will be a relief alright when it is all over but, hopefully, we will come out on top.’

Byrne’s midfield partner, Pierce Prendiville, said that East-Kerry had shown that they were up to it the last day. ‘But we will be hoping for a result this time,’ he added.

Selector and assistant-trainer, John Griffin, felt that the drawn game would stand to the title-holders, if they had learned lessons from it. East-Kerry’s backs were very tight markers and they have a number of very good footballers. ‘From our point of view, we will have to improve at midfield,’ said selector Griffin. ‘We definitely lost out sixty-forty here the last day. No doubt, the midfield and Seamus Moynihan behind them forms a particularly strong triangle. It’s something we will be trying to counter-act in the replay. But, as well as their tight defence, the kick-outs by Declan O Keeffe are phenomenal. A number of our players were below form the last day. We’ll be looking for better, especially from Pa O Sullivan and Michael Francis. I don’t think they did themselves justice in the drawn game. I still feel that if we are to win, we will have to have a better turn-over at midfield. I have no doubt it is going to be a close game. Obviously, we can’t afford to give away any frees because anything inside the fifty yards line will be punished by Paud O Donoghue.’

Griffin feels that there is no better motivator for the champions going into Sunday’s replay than John Evans himself. ‘The players themselves have responded well and the efforts of the last few weeks will stand to them,’ he said. ‘Morale is good and the one thing that stands to us the whole time is being a  club team. The spirit and determination is there to fight for each other. Obviously, Billy O Shea is a big loss to us, but I think the team at the moment is possibly stronger than the team that won the All-Ireland. We will be looking for the little bit of extra sparkle and bite. Our defence did reasonably well the last day, but our forwards have a little bit to improve on. With that little bit of improvement, we will be hoping we can do it this time.’

Selector Ger Counihan – a brother of East-Kerry trainer Sean Counihan – will be hoping that Rangers start better than they did in the drawn game. ‘You have to give great credit to East-Kerry for the way they played the last day,’ said Ger. ‘But I do think there is a little bit more in some of our players. Any final is fifty-fifty and don’t let anybody think otherwise. It’s there to be won. The only pleasing thing about it from our point of view is that it was so tense it was a hard game to enjoy. East-Kerry have been together a long time. They have five games played and that gives them a great boost and the fact that they are choosing from eight clubs gives them a great variety of players from which to pick.’ Selector Counihan admits that Billy O Shea’s absence is a tremendous loss to them. ‘His enthusiasm comes right across,’ he said. ‘That is a loss in itself and so also is his ability. We have worked very hard since the drawn game. The preparation of the team has been one hundred per cent. It’s then down to the players. The spirit and the hunger are there. I think it will take a very good team to beat us this time. I think there is great respect for East-Kerry, but I also think we are up for it.’

Laune Rangers club chairman, John Clifford, will be looking for a one hundred per cent effort from the players in the replayed county final. ‘I have no doubt we will get that much out of them,’ said John, who took over this year in succession to Jerome Conway. ‘I would not expect East-Kerry to have the same dominance at midfield this time. If we get control at midfield and if our forwards get a small bit more possession we will get the scores.’ The Rangers’ chairman points to the fact that the title-holders performed so well in the semi-final against West-Kerry, while East-Kerry didn’t seem to play so well in their game against Austin Stacks. ‘East-Kerry improved one hundred per cent in the final even though we were supposed to be firm favourites,’ he said. ‘If we can gain parity at midfield on Sunday, our forwards are probably that bit craftier than East-Kerry. Our lads showed great character the last day to come back when all seemed lost. Midfield is the key to the result. I am sure they will improve the situation. We probably had to peak to beat West-Kerry in the semi-final and then the final came the week after. But the fact that we have had a couple of weeks now to prepare should be to our advantage.’

John Clifford feels that the presence of such talented young players as Pa O Sullivan, Michael Francis Russell, John Sheehan and Brian Gannon in their ranks is a tremendous asset to Rangers. ‘They will be very much to the fore,’ he stressed. ‘Of course, experience is a factor also. It stood to us the last day. It brought us through the semi-final and I have no doubt it will again the next day, especially going for three-in-a-row.’

The Chairman said losing to Crossmaglen in last year’s All-Ireland Club semi-final was a big disappointment for Rangers, but they came out of it ‘fairly good.’ ‘We haven’t lost a championship match since,’ he said. ‘In fairness to John Evans and his selectors, they have worked very hard all year. I have no doubt there is a tremendous desire to win three-in-a-row. It will be the first time to have done it since John Mitchels back in the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s. It will be a tremendous spur to the team. The preparation of the team has been excellent and we have had no injuries.”

 

Final replay on Sun. 2nd Nov. at Austin Stack Park: East-Kerry 1-11; Laune Rangers 0-8.

Eamonn Horan reported on the game in the Kerryman as follows: “Evan though they lived dangerously for long periods of this game, East-Kerry came good with a grandstand finish to oust title-holders Laune Rangers in this replayed AIB Co. SFC final at Austin Stack Park on Sunday. And, at the full-time whistle, nobody could deny the divisional side their right to the title.

They had absorbed the best that Laune Rangers could throw at them in a titanic second half, which more than compensated for an error-ridden opening 30 minutes, which saw East-Kerry dominate the exchanges for long stages. However, when it came to applying the necessary finish, the challengers were found sadly wanting, shooting seven dreadful wides in the process. And, even though they led by two points (0-5 to 0-3) at halftime, it would have been an optimist indeed who would have plumped for anything other than a win for the Killorglin men at that stage.

The game was played in ideal conditions and was watched by a crowd of about 11,000. From the outset, Rangers tried to take control. Twice they edged a point in front only to be pulled back each time by the eager East-Kerry men. The sides were level three times in the first half and again in the second half as they battled for supremacy. Laune Rangers deployed Timmy Fleming as Tommy Byrne’s midfield partner from the outset with Liam Hassett on the ‘40’ and Pierce Prendiville at full-forward. But the defending champions were unable to gain dominance at midfield where Donal Daly was right at the top of his form and, over the hour, gave his side a strong hand in this vital area. However, his partner, Con O Connor, didn’t have the happiest of days and never played with the fluency which he had so often demonstrated throughout the championship. In fact, the East-Kerry mentors made a crucial tactical move when they introduced Sean Og O Leary in place of O Connor early in the final quarter and that change played a vital part in deciding the issue.

As stated, East-Kerry had something of a nightmare first half. They won some great possession but, when it came to applying any kind of clinical finish, they were found sadly wanting. One felt that, sooner or later, the challengers were going to pay for these indiscretions. Jerry Murphy edged East-Kerry a point in front after 16 minutes and, six minutes later, Pa O Sullivan tied matters up again (0-3 apiece). But time and time again East-Kerry spoiled some fine approach work with inept kicking, goalkeeper Peter Lyons having no trouble in clearing his lines on a number of occasions. Incidentally, the Laune Rangers man drew loud protests from the crowd on several occasions for his delay in kicking out the ball. Rangers must have been feeling reasonably confident when they went in trailing by just two points at halftime.

On the restart, Rangers had Tommy Byrne at midfield along with Conor Kearney, with Timmy Fleming at left halfback, and Pierce Prendiville switching from full-forward to centre halfback. The champions had two quick points and a 36th minute point by Paul Griffin gave them the lead. Just then it was looking distinctly ominous for the East-Kerry side. But it was at this stage in the game that the challengers showed what gritty battlers they really are. They refused to be over-awed by either the occasion or their rivals’ reputation. The exchanges were hard, with no quarter asked or given, and East-Kerry showed that they can mix it with the best of them. They had a dominant figure in the middle of the field in the person of Donal Daly and the further the game went the better did the Firies man relish it. He fetched some great balls and helped set numerous attacks in motion.

Likewise, Seamus Moynihan was a tower of strength at centre halfback and, even though Liam Hassett was often in the thick of the action, the Rangers’ player was never quite able to shake off the attention of Moynihan. The winners had other stalwarts in defence in Eoin Doherty, Tom O Sullivan, Anthony Morris and Niall Mangan. They never allowed the opposing forwards time to settle on the ball and, as a result, we didn’t see too much of the high-powered Rangers’ attacking movements – so often a hallmark of their game in recent years. Just how largely ineffectual was the losers’ attack can be gleaned by the fact that four of their total of eight points came from frees. Four points from play is a paltry tally for a team that were reigning All-Ireland champions this time last year. Perhaps it’s an indication that some of the old sparkle has gone after such a lengthy period at the top of the ladder.

East-Kerry drew level again before Rangers hit the front once more with a brilliantly-taken point by corner-back Adrian Hassett in the 43rd minute. But, once more, Jerry Murphy equalised within a minute and the game began to drift away from Rangers who just couldn’t shake off the shackles of their opponents. There was a lot of scrimmaging and bad-tempered exchanges, with East-Kerry’s Michael O Donoghue engaging in some man-to-man tussles with Gerard Murphy. The end result was that Murphy grew more frustrated as the game went on and, with the likes of Liam Hassett, Pa O Sullivan and Michael F. Russell unable to find a way through the backline, it became palpably obvious that all was far from well with the champions.

Jerry Murphy put East-Kerry back in the lead and they never lost it thereafter. The final quarter belonged almost entirely to East-Kerry. Their mentors made a master-move when they introduced Sean Og O Leary at midfield in place of Con O Connor 18 minutes into the half and the Gneeveguilla man proceeded to stamp his authority on the exchanges. O Leary and Daly held sway in the centre of the field and the forwards got plenty of good ball. Rangers substituted James O Shea in place of Gerard Murphy in their attack, but all to no avail.

East-Kerry went two points clear before Rangers were presented with a lifeline in the form of a goal-scoring chance, which might have salvaged the game for them. The indefatigable Tommy Byrne flighted a great ball in the path of the inrushing Mike Hassett and, with the defence caught napping, the free-striding wing-back had only goalkeeper Declan O Keeffe to beat but he belted the ball wide of the right post and a golden opportunity had been squandered. Many people in the crowd thought it was a goal, but it quite apparent that the ball had gone wide of the target when Hassett put his hands up to his head in disbelief at his miss. Had Rangers got a goal then, it would have put them back in front and they might have survived. But that is all pure conjecture now and the reality is that East-Kerry took complete control in the closing seven minutes or so.

They were three points in front when they struck for the only goal of the game in the 58th minute. Crowley and Daly combined to open up the defence and it was left to the ever-alert Paud O Donoghue to crash the ball to the net, to the thunderous cheers of supporters. There was no way back for the title-holders and Mark O Connor’s closing point for them was purely of token value. Rangers, and Mike Hassett in particular, will long bemoan their missed chance of a goal at a critical point in the game. But, that incident apart, it has to be said that the losers were beaten by a sharper and keener side on the day. Laune Rangers had their best players in Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Tommy Byrne, Mike Hassett, Timmy Fleming, Conor Kearney, Pa O Sullivan and Michael Francis Russell.”

Mikey Sheehy’s verdict on the game was as follows: “Laune Rangers didn’t start as badly as they did in the drawn game but they still weren’t playing up to scratch. I also thought that they played too much of the short-passing game – East-Kerry played the more direct football which suited the conditions. It said a lot for East-Kerry when Laune Rangers started with a different midfield pairing than they did three weeks ago, and they then started the second half with a different combination again. It showed that things were not going right for the champions and East-Kerry must surely have taken heart from those changes.

For whatever reason, Laune Rangers could never get into top gear. They have done it all before – winning the All-Ireland Club Championship and two county championship titles – and I felt they were lacking the necessary hunger to achieve the three-in-a-row. They seemed to be labouring but were still there with every chance until East-Kerry got their goal with three minutes to go.

It is always easy to be wise after the event, but I thought Laune Rangers made a crucial mistake in playing Mike Hassett at wing-back right through the game. He had a stormer of a game the last day at centre-back which is such a crucial position – I felt his drive was needed there. He could never get into the thick of the action being stuck out on the wing. Of course, a lot of people were talking afterwards about the goal chance he missed with seven minutes to go, but it would be unfair to criticise him for that. Any other day, you would have put your house on him to score because he has shown in the past that he knows how to find the net, but his time his luck was out. If he had scored, I believe that Laune Rangers would probably have gone on to win, but that’s Gaelic football for you.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett (0-1), John Sheehan, Mark O Connor (0-1), Mike Hassett, Tommy Byrne (capt.), Shane O Sullivan, Timmy Fleming, Conor Kearney, Pa O Sullivan (0-3, frees), Liam Hassett, Gerard Murphy, Paul Griffin (0-1), Pierce Prendiville, Michael Francis Russell (0-2, 1 free). Subs: Brian Gannon for P. Griffin, James O Shea for G. Murphy, Pa Murphy, Paudie Sheahan, Johnny Lynch, Fergus O Meara, Billy O Sullivan, John O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan, Billy O Shea..

East-Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Tom O Sullivan, Niall Mangan, Anthony Morris, Michael O Donoghue, Seamus Moynihan, Eoin Doherty, Donal Daly, Con O Connor, Denis Moynihan (0-1), Mossie Cronin, Michael D. Cahill (0-1), Paud O Donoghue (1-4, 4pts from frees), John Crowley (capt) 0-1, Jerry Murphy (0-4). Sub: Sean Og O Leary for C. O Connor, Charlie McCarthy, Jerry O Sullivan, Timmy O Sullivan, Stephen Flynn, John Cronin, Ger Cremin, Mike O Connor, Dan O Sullivan, Ger Cronin, Sean Moynihan.

Ref: Tom McCarthy (Desmonds).

Shane Scanlon reported from the Laune Rangers’ dressing-room afterwards: “So used to drinking from the victory chalice, Laune Rangers were left sampling the taste of Co. Final defeat for the first time in three years on Sunday, but they swallowed the bitter pill with the dignity of champions. They Killorglin men might not have played their best football, yet they showed why they are respected so much the length and breath of the country. And when one considers the cross their legendary trainer, John Evans, has been carrying, one comes to understand and admire the family nature of the Laune Rangers’ club even more.

The Killorglin supremo announced after Sunday’s match that he intends to step down as trainer once the team finishes their All-Ireland Club Championship campaign. It put things into perspective when he revealed why. One of his children (Seán) is fighting a serious illness. ‘I have had the honour of training this team for seven years, but now I will be leaving the sporting fields of Kerry and going into the game of life,’ he said in the dressing-room. ‘I will be staying on for the Club Championship and I am looking forward to travelling to Castlehaven on Sunday week for what should be another great Cork/Kerry clash,’ he said. Commenting on the match, he was quick to pay tribute to East-Kerry and said they fully deserved their victory. ‘We have played East-Kerry five times in championship matches in the last three years and they have always given us a tough, fair match. It was no different today, except this time they came out on top. East-Kerry showed great spirit throughout. They know us very well and they managed to keep a firm grip on us for most of the game. We hung in there and then Mike Hassett had that chance with a few minutes to go – he came all the way up from halfback to have a go and no one should start blaming him for the miss. A few decisions did not go our way today and you need the rub of the green to win important matches. But that’s football and at least we get a second bite of the cherry against Castlehaven the weekend after next and we’re still in a lot of competitions in Kerry.”

Undoubtedly, Laune Rangers found it hard to lift themselves without the inspiration of Billy O Shea. It has, also, to be said, that Pierce Prendiville looked all at sea in the game as he struggled to come to terms with the chopping and changing of his position.

Munster Club Football Championship 1997

 

Semi-final on Sun. 23rd Nov. at Castlehaven: Castlehaven v Laune Rangers

John Barry reported on the game that never was for the Kerryman as follows: “Amidst much controversy, the Munster club senior football championship semi-final between Kerry representatives, Laune Rangers, and Cork representatives, Castlehaven, has been refixed for Sunday week, December 7, in Castlehaven. In relation to last Sunday’s abortive trip to Castlehaven, there was a lot of upset in the Laune Rangers club over the circumstances of the postponement decided upon by the Munster Council Treasurer, Declan Moylan, in consultation with referee Kevin Walsh of Clare.

John Evans, trainer of Laune Rangers, said that they were all very, very disappointed that the game didn’t go ahead. ‘The lads were wound up for the game and wanted to play and you just don’t switch off the engine like that,’ he said. ‘At the end of November, you expect a bit of water and a bit of muck on a pitch and we pushed for the game to be played. So did Castlehaven. But it was out of our hands. Our own pitch in Killorglin is ten times worse than this pitch. There is a bit of surface water on it but it is playable.’

Evans said that the Laune Rangers club had been put to a lot of expense and inconvenience. So had their supporters, and so had a lot of people who had travelled from many parts of the country for the game. ‘It was lashing when we left Killorglin, but here we are in Castlehaven with sunshine and blue skies and no match. It’s all very disappointing and frustrating.’

Evans said that there should be a better mechanism in place by the Munster Council to deal with situations like this. The referee and the Munster Council representative should have travelled on Saturday evening and inspected the pitch early on Sunday morning. ‘If a decision had to be taken to call off the game, it should have been taken in plenty of time,’ he said. Evans said that the Munster Council was putting emphasis on safety and there was a chance that somebody could get injured. ‘But we as amateurs were willing to take that chance,’ he said.

Larry Tompkins, the Cork football trainer who plays with Castlehaven, said that both teams wanted to play the game. The referee seemed to be a bit indecisive but the Munster Council representative seemed to be adamant that the game be put off. ‘I walked the field and I saw no water in any part of it,’ he said. ‘I played in worse conditions and I felt that the game should have gone ahead. A lot of people travelled to the game and it was particularly unfair on Laune Rangers.’

Munster Council Treasurer, Declan Moylan of Limerick, put a rather different interpretation on the calling-off of the game. He said that he arrived at Castlehaven about 12.30pm and he walked the pitch with Castlehaven Chairman, James O Neill, who had expressed the opinion that the surface was ‘fairly bad.’ Moylan said that when (Kevin) Walsh arrived both of them walked the pitch. Referee Walsh agreed with him that a game on it was ‘definitely out.’ Laune Rangers hadn’t arrived at that time and when they did arrive, he (Moylan) went on to the pitch with Rangers’ trainer John Evans. Evans’ initial comment, he said, was that ‘it was bad alright.’ Moylan went on to say that referee Walsh stated that he wouldn’t start the game because it was too dangerous. ‘It was felt that it wasn’t worth the risk, that it was too dangerous, and John Evans had agreed,’ said Moylan.

In relation to the comments by Declan Moylan that John Evans had agreed that the pitch was too dangerous, Evans said this week that there was no question of that happening. ‘I agreed that the conditions weren’t great, but I still thought that the pitch was playable,’ said Evans. ‘Any fellow involved in sport would know that all you have to do is dial 1550123850 and you get the weather forecast for the Munster region. Anyone worth their salt in Munster football knows that.’

John Barry wrote that he walked across the pitch with his shoes and, although there were a lot of wet patches, he felt that the game could have gone ahead. On many occasions in the past, he had seen games played on surfaces that were far worse and the whole episode did not exactly redound to the credit of the Munster Council.”

 

Semi-final on Sun. 7th Dec. at Castlehaven: Castlehaven 2-10; Laune Rangers 1-3.

Eamonn Horan reported from the game in the Kerryman as follows: “Windswept Castlehaven was no place for other than the hardiest of folks on Sunday and most certainly no place for a supporter of Laune Rangers as the defending AIB Munster Club Football Champions were stripped of their laurels by a bang-in-form Castlehaven combination who gave a vintage display in artic-like weather conditions.

Apart from a first-minute point by Gerard Murphy for the title-holders, this game was dominated all the way by Castlehaven, who played with verve and vitality throughout. The Cork side had a bounce in their step and a positiveness about their every movement, which their opponents were never able to counter, let alone match.

Castlehaven were a point up inside three minutes, thanks to the deadly boot of Larry Tompkins from frees. Then, after seven minutes, veteran John Cleary struck the first lethal blow for the challengers when he sent a penalty kick rocketing into the roof of the net, with goalkeeper Peter Lyons completely stranded. The penalty was rather harsh on Rangers in the circumstances, left corner-back Mark O Connor being deemed to have made a late tackle on full-forward Colin Crowley. In fact, Cleary was to play a major role in the demolition of Laune Rangers. The former Cork star struck for a second goal in the 23rd minute and he also had two points to his credit for good measure. Along with Cleary, the winners had two other outstanding performers in Tompkins on the ‘40’ and Niall Cahillane at midfield. This trio combined to fashion the downfall of Rangers. Everything they did had the hallmark of class about it. They won an endless supply of ball throughout and combined to unhinge the losers’ defence.

Then there was the dynamic presence of the mercurial Tompkins on the 40. The Cork team-manager demonstrated all the skills of the game in an abysmal day for playing football. He fetched, dodged, ran and outwitted opponents with effortless ease and the Rangers’ backs were often left floundering in his wake.

Even allowing for the fact that Rangers had to field without the services of Billy O Shea, Liam Hassett and Pa Murphy, nevertheless the Kerry side were but a shadow of the team that swept all before them early in 1996, as they claimed the All-Ireland Club Championship. The sparkle that once was there was sadly missing. That innate hunger – always such an intrinsic part of their game – was nowhere to be found and the players themselves seemed to be indecisive and lacking in confidence. One looked for a player or maybe two who could inspire their team-mates to join serious issue with their rivals, but the search was in vain. Rangers never shook off the chains of mediocrity, which enmeshed them throughout this game, which was played in the face of a mighty strong wind and with intermittent rain for good measure.

Tommy Byrne battled hard in the middle of the field in the opening half, but he was fighting a losing cause, with Conor Kearney unable to quite measure up to standard beside him. They were opposed by a powerful pairing in Niall Cahillane and the pacy Alan Crowley, who worked like Trojans from start to finish. The losers’ attack never performed with the typical flair and finesse, which has always been a feature of their play in recent years. Timmy Fleming, on the ‘40’, was the only one of the sextet in the opening half who ever looked remotely like penetrating the home side’s impregnable backline. Rangers’ only score from play in the first half came via Murphy at the very outset – the other two scores resulted from frees from the hand by Pa O Sullivan. This is glaring evidence of the paucity of the attack as a whole.

To add to the tale of woe, Fleming injured his left leg midway through the first half and this resulted in the centre half-forward’s enforced retirement from the game at halftime. With the departure of Fleming, Rangers’ slim hopes of getting back into the game evaporated and they never looked remotely like threatening for scores all through the second half. Castlehaven went from strength to strength on the other hand, and the wonder was that they didn’t win by an even bigger margin. Laune Rangers were dealt another fell blow when goalkeeper Peter Lyons was adjudged to have stepped over the goal-line as he fielded a probing centre from John Cleary under his crossbar. The concession of that second goal seven minutes before the interval had a most demoralising effect on the defending champions. On the other hand, it opened up a yawning nine-point gap between the teams and Rangers must have known they had a mountain to climb when they went in well in arrears at halftime (2-6 to 0-3).

The introduction of Pierce Prendiville in place of the injured Fleming after the break failed to stop the rot. Prendiville was unable to turn the tide of events in the middle of the field in his side’s favour and, even with the assistance of the very strong wind, Rangers never looked remotely like making a game of it. They looked a tired, listless side with no one individual able to assume an authoritative role. Hence the challengers were able to pick up where they left off in the first half.

Try as they did, Rangers could not get into top gear and their plight was reflected in the fact that Paul Griffin was to be seen foraging for possession back in his own defence on a couple of occasions. The game was long over as a contest when substitute Brian Gannon found the net with a hard, low shot from about 30 yards out in the 59th minute. The score was purely a consolation one for Rangers, helping to make the score-board a little bit more respectable at the finish. Tempers became somewhat frayed in the latter stages and, as a result, both Griffin and Gerard Murphy for Rangers and Castlehaven’s Dinny Cahillane received their marching orders from referee Kevin Walsh.

Gannon and Michael Francis Russell tried for all they were worth to get things moving up front in the second half, but they found their way to goal cordoned off by a very vigilant backline. As stated, Tommy Byrne gave everything at midfield, but he lacked real back-up and was all too often fighting a lost cause. Mike Hassett, at centre halfback, was always in difficulty against the eager-beaver Tompkins and the best of the other defenders were Mark O Connor, John Sheehan and Shane O Sullivan. Sunday’s defeat probably marked the end of a golden era for Laune Rangers during which time they won every honour the game has to offer and brought glory and credit to their club, their home town and their county. It also marked the end of John Evans’ tenure as team coach. But the Tralee-based Garda can look back on a magnificent few years at the head of affairs of one of the most successful teams in the history of the modern game.”

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, John Sheehan, Mark O Connor, Paudie Sheahan, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Conor Kearney, Paul Griffin, Timmy Fleming, James O Shea, Pa O Sullivan (0-2, frees), Gerard Murphy (0-1), Michael F. Russell. Subs: Pierce Prendiville for T. Fleming (inj.), Brian Gannon (1-0) for J. O Shea, Johnny Lynch for P. Sheahan.

Castlehaven: Mike Maguire, Kevin O Donovan, Denis Cleary, Donal McCarthy, Denny Cahillane, Brian Collins, Michael O Brien, Alan Crowley (0-1), Niall Cahillane, John Maguire (0-1), Larry Tompkins (0-4, 2 frees and one 45), Fra Cahillane (0-1), Martin O Mahony, Colin Crowley (0-1), John Cleary (2-2).

Ref: Kevin Walsh (Clare).

Eamonn Horan reported from the Laune Rangers’ dressing-room afterwards: “When the hop of the ball went Castlehaven’s way, then everything seemed to go their way. That’s how Laune Rangers’ coach, John Evans, reflected wistfully on Sunday’s Munster Club semi-final at wind-battered Castlehaven. ‘Things didn’t go well on the day for us,’ said Evans, whose last game as team coach this was. ‘Conversely, you had the fact that Castlehaven played so well. When the hop of the ball went their way, then everything seemed to go their way. Their second goal before halftime was a fierce blow to us. Had we gone in just 1-6 to 0-3 down, then we might have done a lot better. Castlehaven were really geared up for it and playing very well. There was great support play by them. Then we lost Timmy Fleming through injury at halftime and that, added to the fact that we were without Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea and Pa Murphy, simply meant that we had a hill too far to climb. You need everybody to be pulling their weight and everybody at full belt. Both Niall Cahillane and Larry Tompkins were bang in form, but you also had younger players like Brian Collins and Alan Crowley playing very well. In fairness to Castlehaven, they played with great team-work. They had a great level of fitness and, more than anything else, they had a great appetite for the game.’

Acknowledging that this was his last game as team coach, Evans said naturally the occasion was tinged with a certain degree of sadness. ‘You always like to give your best performance on the last round-up,’ he said. ‘I have absolutely no regrets. I have been in thirty finals since coming to Laune Rangers and they are still in two more finals. So, I have brought them to thirty-two finals and lost one.’

Laune Rangers Club Secretary, Tommy Woods, said they all felt they had been on the road for a long time and they were wondering when it was going to end. ‘We were struggling all this year, including the two county final matches,’ said Tommy. ‘The West-Kerry game was the high point for us. There were other games we should have lost. Castlehaven were quite good and they got a great start. Their two first-half goals gave them great confidence.’ The Secretary admitted that the absence of Billy O Shea, Pa Murphy and Liam Hassett was a huge loss to the team. ‘Billy O Shea is a great link-man and he puts a lot of life in the team,’ he said. He helps hold the team together. Then, of course, there was the penalty, which they got at the start and I thought it was very debatable. I have no doubt it would have been a different game had we played to form. But we never really got going. There will probably be a building period after this. Some players may decide to go. But I suppose everyone needs a rest. John Evans will bow out now. He has done a magnificent job over the years.”

Co. Senior Football League Div. 1

 

Rd. 1 on Sun. 23rd March at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys 1-6; Laune Rangers 0-12.

League champions, Laune Rangers, had too much fire-power for the home side and the game never lived up to expectations. Vinny Murphy, former Dublin inter-county star, was the centre of attraction as he made his home debut for the Rahillys. The crowds turned out in force in pleasant conditions. Rangers rested a share of their long-serving players. However, they still fielded a formidable outfit and were much sharper in attack.

In the opening 20 minutes, Rangers were well on top with Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville having the edge in the middle of the park. Michael F. Russell and the very impressive Pa O Sullivan caused constant havoc to the Rahillys’ defence. They helped themselves to two points each and Liam Hassett scored one as the champions led by 0-5 to 0-0. Vinny Murphy, operating at full-forward, scored a good point and helped Jason Morrissey to score number two to leave the scores at 0-5 to 0-2 after 23 minutes.

Rangers, spraying the ball about in attack, added three further points. For the first of those, Conor Kearney dispossessed Barry O Shea to set up Brian Gannon. Mike F. Russell (free) and Liam Hassett opened up further daylight in the closing stages of the half. Ollie Molloy pointed for the losers to leave the Killorglin side worthy leaders at the break by 0-8 to 0-3.

On the resumption, Pa O Sullivan and Vinny Murphy traded points and then Pa O Sullivan popped up at the end of another open-play movement to point when a goal looked in sight. A Phillip O Connor interception foiled Mike Hassett’s final pass to Brian Gannon on the edge of the small parallelogram to avert danger. Vinny Murphy, having moved out to midfield, shot over a point but Rangers immediately responded with points by Conor Kearney and Pierce Prendiville. It was all O Rahillys in the last eight minutes as the Rangers tired but, despite a goal by Morgan Nix and a pointed free by Vinny Murphy, the Rangers, still showing a thirst for success, held out for the win. Their best performers were Adrian Hassett, Mike Hassett and Pa Murphy in defence, Tommy Byrne at midfield and Pa O Sullivan and Liam Hassett in attack.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Pa Murphy, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville (0-1), Tommy Byrne, Pa O Sullivan (0-4, 1 free), Liam Hassett (0-2), Mike F. Russell (0-3, 1 free), Brian Gannon (0-1), Conor Kearney (0-1), Billy O Shea. Subs: Gerard Murphy for B. Gannon, Billy O Sullivan for M.F. Russell.

Ref: Dan O Sullivan (Currow).

 

Rd. 2 on Sun. 30th March at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 2-8; Dr. Crokes 0-6.

That glamour clash failed to live up to its billing as the home side had too many aces for the young Killarney lads. Rangers had too much strength in most sectors of the field and the fact that Crokes only managed two points in the opening half tells the whole story. A cracking goal from Liam Hassett, in addition to points from Mike Hassett, Brian Gannon and two from Gerard Murphy, saw Rangers lead at halftime by 1-4 to 0-2. Rangers picked up where they left off on the resumption and had two points from James O Shea and two from Gerard Murphy. When Billy O Sullivan pounced for their second goal eight minutes after the restart, following great approach work by Conor Kearney, the writing was on the wall for Crokes. Rangers had too many big guns and they ran out convincing winners on the day. Their best were Fergus O Meara in goals, John O Sullivan and Pa Murphy in defence, Liam Hassett at midfield and James O Shea, Gerard Murphy and Brian Gannon in attack.

The game marked the retirement from senior football of Joe Shannon who got a marvellous reception from the supporters when introduced as a substitute. Joe had undoubtedly been one of the best club players to ever wear the blue jersey, having played on the senior team since 1979.

Laune Rangers: Fergus O Meara, John O Sullivan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Karl Griffin, Mike Hassett (0-1), Pa Murphy, Pierce Prendiville, Liam Hassett (1-0), Billy O Sullivan (1-0), James O Shea (0-2), Gerard Murphy (0-4), Brian Gannon (0-1), Conor Kearney, Paul Griffin. Subs: Joe Shannon for P. Griffin, Thomas Walsh for K. Griffin.

 

Rd. 3 on Sun. 13th April at Gallerus: An Ghaeltacht 1-13; Laune Rangers 0-11.

That was surely one of Laune Rangers poorest performances of that period. Gaeltacht showed much more appetite and determination and dominated in all sectors of the field. Early on, Dara Ó Sé scored the first point for the men from the west but Billy O Sullivan, with two points, Billy O Shea and James O Shea, with a point each, had Rangers 0-4 to 0-2 in front, J.J. Corduff having scored his side’s other point early on.

On 20 minutes, the home side was awarded a penalty but Peter Lyons saved Riobard Mac Gearailt’s shot, tipping it over for a point. Dara Ó Sé scored a point in the 25th minute and, in a frantic finish, J.J. Corduff scored points in the 26th and 29th minutes to give the home side a 0-6 to 0-4 lead. Paul Griffin pulled one back for the Rangers but Corduff increased his side’s lead with a similar score. Then, in injury time, An Ghaeltacht wrapped up the game when Owen Crowley scored a fine goal. Riobard Mac Gearailt shot a point and Billy O Sullivan replied to leave the home side ahead by 1-8 to 0-6 at halftime.

An Ghaeltacht began the second half with points from Cathal O Dowd and J.J. Corduff. There seemed to be no way back for Laune Rangers but, inspired by Tommy Byrne and Pierce Prendiville at midfield, who had a ragged first half, Billy O Sullivan, Paul Griffin, Liam Hassett and Paul Griffin again added points. Dara Ó Sé scored a point in the 15th minute. Then entering the last ten minutes, Corduff scored his seventh point and Billy O Shea had the last say for the Rangers.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John O Sullivan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Pa Murphy, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Brian Gannon, Liam Hassett (0-1), James O Shea (0-1), Paul Griffin (0-3), Billy O Sullivan (0-5), Billy O Shea (0-1). Subs: Conor Kearney for B. Gannon, Thomas Walsh for S. O Sullivan.

 

Rd. 4 on Sun. 27th April at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 0-10; Currow 0-4.

Laune Rangers, playing without Kerry senior panellists Mike and Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea and Mike F. Russell, started brightly and opened the scoring with a point from U-21 star, Pa O Sullivan, after 3 minutes. Another point by Pa O Sullivan from a free saw Rangers lead by 2 points after 5 minutes. Though playing against the wind, they were totally on top in the opening quarter and points by Paul Griffin, Billy O Sullivan and Gerard Murphy and two more by Pa O Sullivan saw them ahead by 0-7 before Liam Brosnan opened the Currow account from a free after 20 minutes. Paul Griffin had another point for the winners before Currow replied with points by Sean Dennehy and Pa Dennehy to leave the halftime score at 0-8 to 0-3 in favour of the home side.

The second half was a much closer affair with a lot of wasted chances by both sides. Denis Dennehy pointed for Currow after 3 minutes. The exchanges were hard and tough in the third quarter and Currow appeared to have been handed a life-line midway through the match when the referee awarded them a penalty. However, the shot came back off the post and was gratefully cleared by the Rangers’ defence. Rangers had points from full-forward Conor Kearney and Gerard Murphy to complete the win.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John O Sullivan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, Thomas Walsh, Pa Murphy, Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pierce Prendiville, Brian Gannon, Pa O Sullivan (0-4), Gerard Murphy (0-2), Paul Griffin (0-2), Conor Kearney (0-1), Billy O Sullivan (0-1).

Ref: Mike O Donoghue (Glenflesk).

 

Rd. 5 on Sat. 10th May at Gneeveguilla: Gneeveguilla 1-9; Laune Rangers 1-15.

Rangers dominated the first half with their midfield well on top and their all-scoring unit did much of the damage. Points from Billy O Sullivan (3), Ger Murphy (2) and Pa O Sullivan (2) and a 10th minute goal by Liam Hassett gave them a halftime lead of 1-7 to 0-4.

Gneeveguilla came back after halftime with renewed effort and reduced the lead to just two points midway through the second half. However, Rangers were soon back into their stride and points by Ger Murphy (2), Paul Griffin (2), Pa O Sullivan (2) and Billy O Sullivan (1) closed the door on Gneeveguilla. Best for the Rangers were John Sheehan, Billy O Shea, Pierce Prendiville, Gerard Murphy, Liam Hassett and Pa O Sullivan. Rangers were without Mike Hassett and Mike F. Russell and Shane O Sullivan retired injured during the game.

 

Rd. 6 on Sun. 18th May in Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-12; Waterville 1-10.

Classy Laune Rangers sent out a chilling message to the chasing pack after another breath-taking display against Waterville. However, it was a different story at halftime with just two points separating the sides, Conor Kearney and Darby Clifford exchanging goals, to leave the score at 1-6 to 1-4 in favour of the home side.

In the second half, Rangers upped the tempo and, playing the better football, pulled away from Waterville – wing wizard Mike F. Russell being the main culprit. First he tipped over a lovely point and, minutes later, he settled the contest when he struck for an opportunist goal. Conor Kearney, who lined out at full-forward, added another point before Waterville struck for a flurry of second-half scores. Rangers, who had taken their foot off the pedal somewhat, introduced Gerard Murphy with seven minutes left on the clock, and he responded with two points inside a minute. Denis O Dwyer and John Cronin added points for Waterville before Ger Murphy ended a blistering spell with the last point of the game. All Rangers’ scores came from play.

 

Rd. 7 on Sat. 14th June at Direen: Legion 0-8; Laune Rangers 2-13.

Laune Rangers had an expected win over Legion to remain top of the Co. League. Legion stayed with Rangers until the 17th minute when a defensive mistake gifted the Laune-siders a goal. Mike F. Russell, with a superb shot, hit the top corner of the net. After that, it was all Rangers and they led at halftime by 1-8 to 0-4. Tommy Byrne, at centre halfback, Liam Hassett, Pierce Prendiville and the flying Billy O Shea won lots of possession for the Rangers and points from James O Shea, Billy O Sullivan, Pa O Sullivan and Liam Hassett set the pattern. Legion’s only point from play came from Donal O Leary in the 10th minute and frees from Cathal O Grady and Donal Culloty gave them their first half total.

Sean Culloty had a great chance of a goal just after halftime but he blazed wide with only Peter Lyons to beat and after that the league champions scored a string of points. Legion’s forwards never looked like getting the necessary scores and two late points from the Culloty’s were their only scores from play. In the 27th minute, Pa Murphy came forward from wing-back to crash the ball low past Legion’s impressive young goalkeeper, Justin Healy.

In the closing minutes, Mike F. Russell had to leave the field with a deep gash to his left knee. Best for the Rangers were Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea, Pa O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Pa Murphy and Michael F. Russell.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John O Sullivan, John Sheehan, Mark O Connor, Billy O Shea (0-1), Tommy Byrne, Pa Murphy (1-0), Pierce Prendiville, Liam Hassett (0-2), Pa O Sullivan (0-3), Mike F. Russell (1-4), James O Shea (0-1), Brian Gannon (0-1), Conor Kearney, Billy O Sullivan (0-1). Subs: Johnny Lynch, Eoin O Connell and Paudie Sheahan (all played).

Ref: Tommy Sugrue (St. Pat’s, Blennerville).

 

Rd. 8 on Sat. 5th July at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 0-15; Austin Stacks 0-5.

What was billed as the match-of-the-day turned out to be one of the most disappointing games of the season thus far as Austin Stacks suffered their heaviest defeat ever at the hands of Co. Champions, Laune Rangers. Both sides, fielding without their county players, found it hard to settle and had a few uncharacteristic misses before Pa O Sullivan opened the scoring for the home side with a pointed free in the 11th minute. The same player added another from play a minute later, before Donal McEvoy opened the Stacks’ account with a long-range effort in the 15th minute. A further exchange of points by the same two players, one by McEvoy and two by O Sullivan, a Darren Ahern point for Stacks and a Paul Griffin point for Rangers broke the pattern and left the Killorglin side with a two-point lead at halftime, 0-5 to 0-3.

The second half was totally dominated by Rangers. Timmy Fleming and Pierce Prendiville were in command at midfield and their forwards, as well as wing-back Shane O Sullivan, were scoring at will with very little resistance by a very inept Tralee side. Timmy Fleming pointed three long-range frees. In all, Rangers added ten points in that half to just two for Stacks. Best for the Rangers were Timmy Fleming, Pierce Prendiville, John Sheehan and Tommy Byrne.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Pa Murphy, Mark O Connor, John O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan (0-1), Pierce Prendiville, Timmy Fleming (0-3, frees), Brian Gannon (0-1), James O Shea, Johnny Lynch, Gerard Murphy (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-6, 4 frees), Paul Griffin (0-2). Subs: Billy O Sullivan (0-1) for J. Lynch, Derry O Sullivan for G. Murphy.

Ref: Paudie Hickey (Gneeveguilla).

 

Rd. 9 on Sun. 13th July at Rathmore: Rathmore 0-12; Laune Rangers 2-10.

That was a marvellous game of football, played in ideal conditions. The locals had to play second-fiddle to Laune Rangers in the early stages but, with all their early dominance, they were only two points up when Rathmore got their first point from Gerry Murphy in the 13th minute. Paul Griffin had scored Rangers’ two points in the 2nd and 12th minutes. The low scoring was partly due to the fine defensive work by Rathmore, with Tom O Sullivan outstanding at fullback.

A goal from a penalty by Billy O Sullivan in the 15th minute was followed by a point straight away by Gerard Murphy. Those scores seemed to spark Rathmore into action and during the second quarter they were on top in most sectors. They went on to score three points, two from Gerry Murphy in the 17th and 18th minutes and one from Dermie Fitzgerald in the 25th minute, before Rangers had a point from Pa O Sullivan in the 26th minute, followed by a point by Gerry Murphy a minute later. That was cancelled out by a Brian Gannon point shortly with two great long-range points for the locals by Denis Moynihan and Michael D. Cahill in the 28th and 30 minutes, which left the halftime score at 1-5 to 0-7 in favour of the visitors.

Rangers made all the running in the second half and had a point from Gerard Murphy in the 5th minute after the ball came back off the post. Billy O Sullivan had a point from play two minutes later after a good passing movement. Gerry Murphy had a brilliant long-range point for Rathmore to keep them in touch and, with Denis Moynihan and Eoin Doherty lording it at midfield, they went from strength to strength. Paul Moynihan scored a fine point in the 11th minute. Gerard Murphy moved to full-forward for the Rangers and proceeded to play much better. He scored a point in the 15th minute. This was followed by a point from a free by Gerry Murphy (Rathmore). It was exciting stuff at that stage. Timmy Fleming pointed a 30m free in the 20th minute but Dermie Fitzgerald levelled the scores in the 25th minute to tremendous applause from the big local following.

The referee blew the fulltime whistle at that stage but he was quickly reminded that there were five minutes left in the game, during which time, Rathmore had two chances to go ahead, one from a 50m free that goalie Kenneth O Keeffe sent badly wide. A minute later, Michael D. Cahill was also off target. Disaster struck for Rathmore in the final minute. Rangers were awarded a free just inside the 45m line, out on the wing. Up stepped Timmy Fleming and he floated the ball goalwards. The defence seemed to have the situation under control but the ball ended up in the net to the dismay of the local keeper. Paul Griffin collected the kick-out and scored a great point to finish the scoring.

Best for the Rangers were Paudie Sheahan (fullback), Tommy Byrne (centre halfback) and Shane O Sullivan in defence, Billy O Sullivan, Paul Griffin and Gerard Murphy in attack.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Mark O Connor, Paudie Sheahan, Pa Murphy, John O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, Timmy Fleming (1-1, 1-0 free), Brian Gannon (0-1), James O Shea, Paul Griffin (0-3), Gerard Murphy (0-3), Pa O Sullivan (0-1), Billy O Sullivan (1-1, 1-0 pen). Subs: Eoin O Connell, Johnny Lynch and Derry O Sullivan.

Ref: Tom McCarthy (Desmonds).

 

Rd. 10 on Sun. 17th Aug. at Dingle: Dingle 1-10; Laune Rangers 0-15.

The men from the Laune had a two-point win over Dingle at sun-drenched Páirc an Ághasaigh. Both sides lined out without regulars due to Kerry commitments and injuries but Rangers, with their abundance of reserve talent, were less affected. The game was close up to the last ten minutes, with only a point separating the two teams.

Gerard Murphy, who was a thorn in Dingle’s side all through, opened Rangers’ account with a point in the fourth minute. In the 6th minute, the boys in blue were awarded a penalty. Up stepped centre halfback Tommy Byrne, but Dingle goalkeeper Diarmuid Murphy saved at the expense of a ‘45’, which Byrne again failed to convert. Murt Moriarty scored a punched goal soon afterwards followed by a Padraig Curran point to give the home side a three points lead. Brian Gannon and John Dowd exchanges points. Four points by Gerard Murphy and one by Pa O Sullivan, with Dingle raising a white flag by Sean Geaney, left Rangers 0-7 to 1-3 ahead at the break.

Conor O Donnell had the sides level with a point for the home side on the resumption but Conor Kearney and Pa O Sullivan eased Rangers in front again. Both sides had further points from Sean Geaney (Dingle), Conor Kearney and Gerard Murphy (Laune Rangers) and Colm Geaney (Dingle) to leave the minimum between the teams with eight minutes left. The visitors upped a gear with points by Tommy Byrne, Derry O Sullivan, Brian Gannon and Conor Kearney to open up a gap of five points with only three minutes left. Dingle had two late points by Colm Geaney and Murt Moriarty.

Best for the Rangers were John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne, Gerard Murphy, Pierce Prendiville and Conor Kearney.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Mark O Connor, John O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne (0-1), Pa Murphy, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea, Pa O Sullivan (0-2), Conor Kearney (0-3), Paul Griffin, Brian Gannon (0-2), Gerard Murphy (0-6), Billy O Sullivan. Subs: Derry O Sullivan for B. O Sullivan, Eoin O Connell for J. O Sullivan.

Ref: Tom Lynch (Desmonds).

 

Rd. 11 on Sat. 13th Sept. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 1-16; Desmonds 0-4.

Rangers were ahead at halftime by 1-6 to 0-3, the goal having been scored by Paul Griffin midway through the half.  The second half was all one-way traffic. Rangers’ best were Fergus O Meara in goals, Pa Murphy and Tommy Byrne in defence, Pierce Prendiville at midfield with Paul Griffin and James O Shea in attack.

Laune Rangers: Fergus O Meara, John Sheehan, Adrian Hassett, Pa Murphy, Johnny Lynch, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Pierce Prendiville, Timmy Fleming (0-5), Pa O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan, James O Shea (0-2), Brian Gannon (-0-2), Gerard Murphy (0-3), Paul Griffin (1-3). Subs: Billy O Sullivan (0-1) and John O Sullivan (both played).

 

Both Laune Rangers and Dingle had qualified for the Co. League Final. Unfortunately, the final was not scheduled until the following year. Eventually, the game was fixed for 31st May 1998 but Dingle failed to appear and the game (and the league title) was awarded to Laune Rangers.

Molyneaux Cup (Co. Club ‘B’ Football Championship)

That competition was played on a knockout system. Players who had played in the Co. Senior Championship were ineligible for that competition.

Laune Rangers’ Selection Committee – James McInery (trainer), Maurice Corkery and Michael O Shea.

Rd. 1 on Wed. 13th Aug: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-10; Austin Stacks ‘B’ 1-6.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Paudie Sheahan, Redmond Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, Jerry O Brien, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Doona, Podge Foley, Joe Shannon, Michael O Reilly, Jason Griffin, Garrath Sheehan, Pat McKenna, Derry O Sullivan. Sub: Eoin Ferris for J. O Brien.

 

Quarter-final on Wed. 20th Aug. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-9; Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ 0-3.

Laune Rangers led at halftime by 1-4 to 0-3.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Paudie Sheahan, Eoin Ferris, Redmond Fitzgerald (0-1) John F. O Brien, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Doona, Michael O Reilly (1-2), Jason Griffin (0-2), Podge Foley (0-1), Jerry O Brien, Garrath Sheehan (2-1), John Moriarty, Pat McKenna (0-2) capt.. Sub: Karl Griffin for J. Moriarty.

 

Semi-final on Sat. 6th Sept. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-12; Dr. Crokes 1-7.

Eoin Ferris and John F. O Brien were outstanding in defence, while Jerry O Brien and Joe Shannon led the way in attack.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Karl Griffin, John F. O Brien, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Doona, Michael O Reilly, Jerry O Brien, Podge Foley, Derry O Sullivan, Jason Griffin, Joe Shannon, Pat McKenna (capt.). Subs: Redmond Fitzgerald and John Moriarty (both played).

 

Final on Sun. 19th Oct. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-6; St. Mary’s ‘B’ 0-5.

Kerry’s Eye carried the following report on the match: “Laune Rangers added another county title to their already cabinet full of honours when they defeated a strong St. Mary’s side in the final of the Molyneaux Cup, but they had to summon on all their reserves and experience to win this one as St. Mary’s put them to a stern test. It was a late goal by corner-forward Fiachra O Donoghue that wrapped it up for the Laune Rangers team just two minutes from the end.

The Laune Rangers side had man-of-the-match in their goalkeeper Tony Lyons. He saved a penalty after seven minutes and, four minutes from the end, he went full stretch to his right to turn a Peter Keane rasper round the post at the expense of a ‘45’. If St. Mary’s had a goal from any of these chances, the final result would probably have gone the other way.

The standard of play in the game was not of a high standard and there was poor passing and poor finishing on both sides. The deciding factor of the game was Rangers’ ability to make better use of the possession they gained. The ground was a bit on the soft side, while there was a breeze that blew across the pitch and this made scores hard to come by.

St. Mary’s seemed to have the elements in their favour in the first half and, after two minutes, Kieran McCarthy put a shot in that came back off the woodwork. Mossie Coffey was on hand to kick over a point. Pat McKenna equalised for Rangers. Peter Keane was dragged down shortly afterwards for a penalty but Gearoid Constable’s kick was sell saved by Tony Lyons. Rangers then put on two points from Pat McKenna, who was having a great game, and one each from John Doona and Dicey Reilly, which helped them to an interval lead of 0-5 to 0-3.

The second half saw Rangers full-forward Joe Shannon set up team captain Pat McKenna for a point. Five minutes later, John Golden pointed to close the gap, 0-6 to 0-4. The rest of the half was forgettable as the next score did not come until three minutes from the end. Rangers’ defence never lost their ability to work the ball out and also to close down their opponents.  The game ended on a high note when Tony Lyons produced a great save that saw Peter Keane send over the resultant ‘45’ to leave only a solitary point, 0-6 to 0-5, between the sides. Everything was to play for, but it was Rangers who broke up field and there was Fiachra O Donoghue, a young man who has a great eye for goal, and he went through and blasted the ball to the roof of the net. That decided the game.

Mid-Kerry Board Chairman, Kevin Griffin, presented the Andy Molyneaux Cup to a delighted Rangers’ captain, Pat McKenna. Best for Rangers were keeper Tony Lyons, Danny Cahill, Karl Griffin and Mark Conway in defence, John Doona and Dicey Reilly at midfield, Pat McKenna, Fiachra O Donoghue, Joe Shannon and Derry O Sullivan up front.”

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, Mark Conway, Eddie Birmingham, John F. O Brien, Karl Griffin, John Doona (0-1), Michael O Reilly (0-1), Jerry O Brien, Liam Foley (0-1), Derry O Sullivan, Fiachra O Donoghue (1-0), Joe Shannon, Pat McKenna (0-3) capt. Subs: Joe Hayes for L. Foley, Redmond Fitzgerald for J. O Brien.

Ref: Donie O Connor (Rathmore).

 

Laune Rangers ‘B’ – 1997 Molyneaux Cup Champions Front: Timmy Moroney, Mark Conway, Tony Lyons, Pat McKenna (capt.), Fiachra O Donoghue, Joe Hayes. Back: James McInery (Trainer), Jerry O Brien, John F. O Brien, Danny Cahill, Redmond Fitzgerald, Eddie Birmingham, Karl Griffin, Michael O Reilly, Derry O Sullivan, John Doona, Joe Shannon, Maurice Corkery (Selector).

Laune Rangers ‘B’ – 1997 Molyneaux Cup Champions
Front: Timmy Moroney, Mark Conway, Tony Lyons, Pat McKenna (capt.), Fiachra O Donoghue, Joe Hayes.
Back: James McInery (Trainer), Jerry O Brien, John F. O Brien, Danny Cahill, Redmond Fitzgerald, Eddie Birmingham, Karl Griffin, Michael O Reilly, Derry O Sullivan, John Doona, Joe Shannon, Maurice Corkery (Selector).

Co. Football League Div. 5

Rd. 1 on Sat. 29th March at Gallerus: An Ghaeltacht ‘B’ 1-12; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-14.

Best for Laune Rangers were Timmy Moroney and Karl Griffin in defence, Thomas Walsh and John Doona at midfield and Jason Griffin in attack.

Laune rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, Eddie Birmingham, Karl Griffin, John F. O Brien, Robert Evans, Thomas Walsh, John Doona (0-4), Jason Griffin (3-2), Pat McKenna, Mikey Griffin (0-1), Joe Healy (0-2), Liam Foley (0-1), Michael O Reilly (0-3). Subs: Podge Foley (0-1) and Derry O Sullivan (both played).

 

Rd. 2 on Sat. 12th April: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-16; Firies ‘B’ 0-4.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Liam Foley, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, Paudie Sheahan, Eoin O Connell, John Doona, Karl Griffin, Jason Griffin, Pat McKenna, Mikey Griffin, Brian Gannon, Michael O Reilly, Joe Healy. Subs: Derry O Sullivan and Fiachra O Donoghue (both played).

 

Rd. 3 on Sat. 26th April: Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ 3-7; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-10.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Paudie Sheahan, Timmy Moroney, Eoin O Connell, Karl Griffin, Eddie Birmingham, Liam Foley, John F. O Brien, Derry O Sullivan, Pat McKenna, Mikey Griffin, Brian Gannon, Michael O Reilly, Fiachra O Donoghue. Subs: Thomas Walsh, John Doona and Joe Healy (all played).

 

Rd. 4 on Sat. 17th May at Gneeveguilla: Gneeveguilla ‘B’ 1-7; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-14.

Rd. 5 on Sun. 15th June: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-15; John Mitchels ‘B’ 1-4.

 

Rd. 6 on Sat. 28th June: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-12; Austin Stacks ‘B’ 0-8.

Outstanding for the Rangers were Tony Lyons in goals, Jerry O Brien and Paudie Sheahan in defence, Johnny Lynch and Podge Foley at midfield and Mikey Griffin, Brian Gannon and Pat McKenna in the attack.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, John O Donnell, Jerry O Brien (0-1), Paudie Sheahan, Eddie Birmingham, Johnny Lynch (1-0), Podge Foley (0-1), Derry O Sullivan (0-3), Michael O Reilly (0-2), Mikey Griffin (2-1), Brian Gannon (0-2), Pat McKenna (0-2), Jason Griffin. Sub: Robert Evans (played).

 

Rd.  7 on Sun. 13th July at Beaufort: Beaufort ‘B’ 1-8; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-13.

Beaufort led at halftime by 1-3 to 0-4.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, John F. O Brien, Jerry O Brien (0-1), Podge Foley (1-1), John Doona, Joe Healy (0-1), Michael O Reilly (0-5), Mikey Griffin (0-1), Jason Griffin (0-2), Pat McKenna (0-2), Michael Cahillane. Sub: Karl Griffin for J. Healy.

 

Semi-final on Sat. 9th Aug. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-11; Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ 0-9.

Missing a couple of regulars, Rangers were behind at the break by 0-4 to 0-2. An improved second-half performance, with three points each from Derry O Sullivan and Pat McKenna, two points from Liam Foley and one point from Podge Foley gave them victory. Best for the Rangers were Tony Lyons in goals, Joe Hayes, Brendan Fitzgerald and Paudie Sheahan in defence, Podge Foley at midfield and Derry O Sullivan and Liam Foley in attack.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Brendan Fitzgerald, John F. O Brien, Paudie Sheahan, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona, Podge Foley (0-1), Jason Griffin, Pat McKenna (0-3), Derry O Sullivan (0-3), Garrath Sheehan, Liam Foley (0-2), Michael O Reilly (0-2). Sub: Mark Conway for Danny Cahill (inj.).

 

Final on Sat. 13th Sept. at Castleisland: Dr. Crokes ‘B’ 1-8; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-6.

Timmy Sheehan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Dr. Crokes, with a workmanlike display, deservedly claimed the Junior Football League and, in the process, denied Laune Rangers their third successive title at this grade. Crokes monopolised matters territorially for long periods but their margin of success was not entirely reflected on the score-board. In Tommy Brosnan, they had the most outstanding player on view. Apart at all from his scoring contribution from placed balls, he was very much a key figure both on the ‘40’ and at midfield.

Laune Rangers really only played in fits and starts and even if their defence was quite solid, they were reduced to sporadic raids for long periods, despite the input, at times, of the extremely hard-working John Doona, at midfield.

A persistent downpour made playing conditions extremely hazardous from the outset and it was Crokes, with Cooper and Corridan in control at midfield, who held the decisive edge very early on in proceedings. However, scores remained very much at a premium. After a period of sustained pressure, Tommy Brosnan, with a pointed ‘45’, opened Crokes account in the 10th minute and then added a second three minutes later. Locked in their own half, Rangers were thankful to Mark Conway for some outstanding defending but, despite the stranglehold they exerted in all sectors, Crokes didn’t transfer their superiority into scores.

Having weathered the storm, Rangers settled to come a lot more into contention. Michael O Reilly secured their first score, with a pointed free in the 15th minute but, three minutes later, corner-back Batt Moriarty popped up at the other end of the pitch and availed of Mike Buckley’s through ball to fist it over the advancing goalkeeper and into the net for the only goal of the game. Reilly, with his second pointed free, and Brendan Fitzgerald, with a left-footed angled score from play, reduced the margin to two points but Tommy Brosnan’s third point (free) right on the stroke of halftime ensured that the Killarney side held a one-goal lead at the interval.

Availing of an opening, created by Mike Buckley, Ger O Shea stretched Crokes lead to four points within two minutes of the restart, a margin which was increased even further by another Tommy Brosnan free in the 36th minute. Another free from Brosnan in the 39th minute pushed Crokes into a six-point lead, a margin which accurately reflected the trend of proceedings up until that juncture. However, Rangers continued to battle with a lot of intensity and were rewarded when Jerry O Brien and Pat McKenna pointed in the 44th and 46th minutes. A goal then for Laune Rangers would have thrown the issue wide open. For a period, the Crokes challenge lapsed somewhat. John Doona made a lot more of an impact in midfield but solid defending ensured that the Rangers’ challenge was contained.

Brosnan, with his sixth point (free) afforded Crokes some breathing space in the 50th minute and a similar score from the same player one minute later put the black and amber brigade back in control. They had to withstand sustained onslaughts on their goal in the dying minutes but they coped admirably under pressure. Rangers’ sole reply was a pointed free from Michael O Reilly in the 53rd minute. They never played with any level of consistency, wholehearted and all as their efforts were.”

Unfortunately, the game clashed with the Div. 1 game versus Desmonds, the result of which had no relevance, and deprived the ‘B’ team of some important players – poor management by the club.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Eoin Ferris, Timmy Moroney, Eoin O Connell, Paudie Sheahan, Karl Griffin, John Doona, John F. O Brien, Jerry O Brien (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-1), Brendan Fitzgerald (0-1), Michael O Reilly (0-3, frees), Podge Foley, Garrath Sheehan. Subs: Joe Healy for T. Moroney, Liam Foley for P. McKenna, Fiachra O Donoghue for P. Foley.

Ref: Dan O Sullivan (Currow).

 

Barrett Cup (Co. Club ‘C’ Football Championship)

Players who had played in the Co. Senior Championship or Co. Club ‘B’ Championship were ineligible to play in that competition.

Selection Committee – Peter Lyons, Dominic Crowley and Michael O Shea.

Rd. 1 on Fri. 8th Aug. at Glenbeigh: Glenbeigh ‘B’ 3-10; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-12.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Mark Conway, Eddie Birmingham, Redmond Fitzgerald, Anthony O Sullivan (0-1), Liam Foley (0-2), Alan O Sullivan (0-1), Derry O Sullivan (2-3), Joe Healy (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1), Michael Moriarty, Eoin O Sullivan (0-3).

 

Rd. 2 on Fri. 15th Aug. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-6; Waterville ‘B’ 0-6.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Mark Conway, John Moriarty, Jerry O Brien, Liam Foley, Anthony O Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan, Derry O Sullivan (0-1), Joe Healy (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (1-0), Podge Foley (1-4), Michael Cahillane.

 

Rd. 3 on Fri. 22nd Aug: Laune Rangers ‘C’ w/o; Desmonds ‘B’ scr.

 

Quarter-final on Fri. 29th Aug. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-13; Spa ‘B’ 1-7.

Laune Rangers led at halftime by 1-7 to 0-2.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Ross Breen, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, Mikey Griffin, Pat O Keeffe, Liam Foley (1-1), Joe Healy (1-2), Alan O Sullivan, Michael Cahillane (1-1), Eoin O Sullivan (0-4), Michael Moriarty (0-3), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1). Subs: Anthony O Sullivan for P. O Keeffe, Donncha Curran (0-1) for F. O Donoghue.

 

Semi-final on Sat. 20th Sept: Austin Stacks ‘C’ 2-12; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-4.

Having also reached the final of the Molyneaux Cup (‘B’ Championship), it was inevitable that the ‘C’ team would be very much weakened.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Ross Breen, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, Robert Moriarty, Liam Foley (0-1), Joe Healy (2-1), Mikey Griffin (0-1), Alan O Sullivan (0-1), Kevin Cahillane, Fiachra O Donoghue, Michael Moriarty, Michael Cahillane.

 

Co. Urban Football League

 

Rd. 1 on Fri. 9th May: Milltown ‘B’ 0-8; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-7.

Rd. 2 on Fri. 16th May at Scartaglin: Scartaglin ‘B’ 2-9; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 2-13.

 

Rd. 4 on Fri. 30th May at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys ‘C’ 0-11; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-10.

A draw looked on the cards with time almost up but O Rahillys attacked and were awarded a penalty, which was pointed to give them a one point win.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Mark Conway, Noel Purcell, Eddie Birmingham, Enda Clifford, Pa O Keeffe, Anthony O Sullivan, Alan O Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan, Donncha Curran, Fiachra O Donoghue, Michael Moriarty, Michael Cahillane.

 

Rd. 5 on Fri. 6th June at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-11; Cordal ‘B’ 1-9.

Laune Rangers led at halftime by 1-9 to 0-6.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Noel Purcell, Enda Clifford, Bertie O Riordan, Redmond Fitzgerald, Pat O Keeffe, Eddie Birmingham, Eoin O Sullivan (0-3), Derry O Sullivan (0-3), Kevin O Connor (0-1), Michael Cahillane (0-2), Michael Moriarty (2-1), Donncha Curran (0-1). Subs: Mark Conway for N. Purcell, Carl O Sullivan (1-0) for K. O Connor.

 

Rd. 6 on Fri. 13th June at Lispole: Lispole ‘B’ 0-7; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-10.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell (0-1), Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, Mark Conway, Anthony O Sullivan, Alan O Sullivan (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (1-1), Eoin O Sullivan (1-2), Joe Healy (0-2), Donncha Curran, Michael Moriarty (0-1), Michael Cahillane (1-0). Subs: Podge Foley (0-1) for Alan O Sullivan, Redmond Fitzgerald (0-1) for D. Curran, Enda Clifford also played.

 

Rd. 7 on Fri. 20th June at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 7-14; Austin Stacks ‘C’ 1-1.

All of Laune Rangers’ scores, with the exception of 0-1 by Donnacha Curran, came from play. The home side led by 3-8 to 0-1 at the break.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, John O Donnell (0-1), Eddie Birmingham, Jerry O Brien (1-1), Anthony O Sullivan, Alan O Sullivan (1-0), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-2), Eoin O Sullivan (1-0), Joe Healy (0-1), Donncha Curran (1-3), Derry O Sullivan (0-4), Michael Cahillane (1-0). Subs: Sean Moriarty (2-1) for M. Cahillane, Podge Foley (0-1) for Anthony O Sullivan, Enda Clifford for F. O Donoghue.

 

Rd. 8 on Fri. 27th June at Ballymac: Ballymac ‘B’ 1-4: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-17.

Best for Laune Rangers were Danny Cahill and Mark Conway in defence, Alan O Sullivan at midfield and Jerry O Brien and Eoin O Sullivan in the attack.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, John O Donnell, Mark Conway (0-1), Eddie Birmingham, Redmond Fitzgerald, Alan O Sullivan (0-2), Anthony O Sullivan (0-1), Jerry O Brien (0-2), Eoin O Sullivan (0-5), Donncha Curran (0-2), Sean Moriarty, Michael Cahillane (0-2), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-2). Subs: Enda Clifford for M. Cahillane, Noel Purcell for R. Fitzgerald, Colm Conway for S. Moriarty.

 

Rd. 9 on Fri. 4th July at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 6-9; Legion ‘B’ 0-4.

Laune Rangers’ forwards made little of the strong breeze and put together some lovely passages of open football to run out easy winners.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Redmond Fitzgerald, Pat Leahy, Eddie Birmingham, Jerry O Brien, Anthony O Sullivan, Alan O Sullivan, Joe Healy (0-2), Eoin O Sullivan (2-1), Michael Cahillane, Donncha Curran (3-1), Derry O Sullivan (0-2), Fiachra O Donoghue (1-2). Subs: Pat O Keeffe (0-1) for F. O Donoghue, Michael Moriarty for D. O Sullivan, Colm Conway for M. Cahillane.

 

Rd. 10 on Fri. 11th July in the J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-17; St. Pat’s ‘B’ 1-7.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Danny Cahill, Mark Conway, Pat Leahy, Eddie Birmingham (0-2), Jerry O Brien (0-1), Alan O Sullivan, Anthony O Sullivan (0-1), Joe Healy (0-2), Pat O Keeffe (0-1), Podge Foley (0-4), Donncha Curran, Michael Moriarty (0-3), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-2). Subs: Joe Hayes (0-1) for J. Healy, Michael Cahillane for D. Curran, Redmond Fitzgerald for P. Leahy.

 

Rd. 11 on Fri. 18th July ay Castleisland: Desmonds ‘B’ 1-6; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 0-8.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, Mark Conway, Danny Cahill, John O Donnell, Pat Leahy, Eddie Birmingham, Redmond Fitzgerald, Pat O Keeffe, Liam Foley (0-2), Fiachra O Donoghue, Podge Foley (0-3), Donncha Curran (0-1), Enda Clifford (0-1), Sean Moriarty (0-1), Michael Cahillane.

 

Semi-final on Wed. 6th Aug. at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys ‘C’ 1-4; Laune Rangers ‘C’ 3-8.

First half goals by Liam Foley and Anthony O Sullivan saw Rangers ahead at the break by 2-2 to 0-4. Rangers continued to dominate in the second half and with a third goal by Eoin O Sullivan, added to some splendid points from the forwards, Rangers ran out easy winners.

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Mark Conway, Eddie Birmingham, Timmy Moroney, Anthony O Sullivan (1-0), Pat O Keeffe (0-2), Alan O Sullivan, Liam Foley (2-2), Joe Healy, Eoin O Sullivan, Podge Foley (0-4), Michael Cahillane. Subs: Michael Moriarty for P. O Keeffe, Fiachra O Donoghue for M. Cahillane.

 

Final replay on Sun. 26th Oct. at Farranfore: Laune Rangers ‘C’ 1-17; Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ 3-8 (AET)

Laune Rangers ‘C’: Tony Lyons, John O Donnell, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Mark Conway, Eddie Birmingham, Timmy Moroney, Liam Foley, Pat O Keeffe (0-1), Joe Healy (0-1), Michael O Reilly (0-8), Michael Cahillane (1-0), Eoin O Sullivan (0-2), Derry O Sullivan (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1). Subs: Garrath Sheehan (0-3) for F. O Donoghue, Eoin Ferris for D. Cahill, Brendan Fitzgerald for E. O Sullivan, Enda Clifford, Sean Moriarty, Robert Moriarty, Michael Moriarty, Redmond Fitzgerald.

 

Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship

 

Semi-final on Sun. 9th Nov. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 2-8; Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-4.

Mike Carroll reported for the Kerryman on the match as follows: “Despite being short five regulars, Laune Rangers still had enough in reserve to see off the challenge of a spirited Glenbeigh/Glencar side in this Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship Semi-final. However, for long periods, Rangers did not have things their own way and if the losers had availed of their scoring chances, especially in the first half, matters could have been a lot closer at the end.

Rangers lined out without regulars Peter Lyons, Mark O Connor, Pa O Sullivan, Gerard Murphy and Mike Hassett, and they were replaced by Fergus O Meara, Paudie Sheahan, Brian Gannon, Pa Murphy and James O Shea. They played with the assistance of a strong wind in the first half, but it was Glenbeigh/Glencar that opened the scoring when Sean Barton pointed a long-range free in the second minute. However, the fact that Glenbeigh/Glencar had to wait until the 23rd minute for their next score tells the story of this half, a half in which they kicked wides from very scoreable positions, while also spurning two great goal chances.

Rangers were far more economical with the possession they gained and Brian Gannon opened their account with a point in the 6th minute. Paul Griffin quickly added another and Liam Hassett scored a third to leave them ahead by 0-3 to 0-1 after eight minutes. Courtney, O Connor and O Sullivan squandered chances for the losers before Timmy Fleming stretched Rangers’ lead in the 15th minute. Kenneth O Connor replaced the injured Looney for the losers and his moving to midfield in a swap with Ciarán O Sullivan greatly improved matters for them in that sector.

Then, in the 21st minute, Rangers struck for the game’s first goal. Good inter-change play between the forwards set up Michael Francis Russell and he made no mistake from the edge of the square. Rangers now led by 1-4 to 0-1 and it looked as if they were heading for a runaway victory. Glenbeigh/Glencar had other ideas and, almost straight from the kick-out, they launched an attack. Pa Murphy and Ciarán O Sullivan were instrumental in a move that set up Barton and he cracked an unstoppable shot past the helpless O Meara. This was to be the last score of the half and Rangers led by 1-4 to 1-1 at the interval.

On resumption, Rangers introduced Pa O Sullivan for Gannon and his impact was immediate as he slotted over two points inside the first five minutes to stretch his team’s lead to five points. But once again, Glenbeigh/Glencar hit back. They pressed and Kenneth O Connor forced O Meara to make a fine save. However, the Rangers’ goalkeeper failed to hold the ball and corner-forward Brian Healy was on hand to knock the ball into the net and so reduced Rangers’ lead to just two points. It was anybody’s game at this stage and Pat O Grady (G/G) and James O Shea (LR) exchanged points to leave the same margin between the sides heading into the last quarter.

Then, in the 46th minute, came the score that effectively won it for Rangers and it was that man Mike Frank who again was on hand to deliver. There seemed to be no danger in the Glenbeigh/Glencar defence, but the ever alert Russell pounced on a misplaced pass and crashed the ball to the net, giving Healy no chance. This put five points between the sides once again and it was asking too much of a now tiring Glenbeigh/Glencar side to stage yet another comeback. To their credit, they never gave up and Kenneth O Connor pointed to leave the score at 2-7 to 2-3 with ten minutes left.

But now Rangers looked composed and they played possession football for the remaining minutes, content in the knowledge that they were heading for yet another Mid-Kerry final – their eighth-in-a-row. Paul Griffin finished their scoring with a disputed 58th minute point, while Kenneth O Connor pointed for the losers with virtually the last kick of the game. Overall, this was not a classic by any means, but there were some good passages of play by both sides. The heavy underfoot conditions didn’t help matters, with players finding it hard to keep their footing.

Rangers were best served by Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan and Tommy Byrne in defence, Conor Kearney at midfield (until he was substituted late the second half), and Paul Griffin, James O Shea, substitute Pa O Sullivan and two-goal hero, Mike Frank Russell, in attack. Summing up their performance, Rangers definitely have played better on past occasions, but it must be said that they were able to step up a gear any time their lead was threatened.”

Rangers had lost the Co. Senior Football Final on the previous Sunday and were very vulnerable for that game. Billy O Shea had broken his leg in the All-Ireland Final and was a huge loss to the team.

Laune Rangers: Fergus O Meara, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, John Sheehan, Pa Murphy, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Conor Kearney, Pierce Prendiville, James O Shea (0-1), Timmy Fleming (0-1), Paul Griffin (0-2), Brian Gannon (0-1), Liam Hassett (0-1), Mike F. Russell (2-0). Subs: Pa O Sullivan (0-2) for B. Gannon, Gerard Murphy for C. Kearney.

Glenbeigh/Glencar: Pa Healy, Richard O Connor, John Joe Quirke, Patie Griffin, Jerry O Sullivan, Pat O Grady (0-1), Pa Murphy, Kieran O Sullivan, Gerard O Connor, James Moriarty, Eugene Courtney, Brian Looney, Ger Burke, Sean Barton (1-1), Brian Healy (1-0). Subs: Kenneth O Connor (0-2) for B. Looney, Lar Joe McKenna for G. Burke.

Ref: William O Shea (Keel).

 

Final on Sun. 14th Dec. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 0-11; Milltown/Castlemaine 0-9.

Mike Carroll (Chairman of Milltown/Castlemaine Club) reported on the game for the Kerryman as follows: “In a game in which free-taking proved vital, the accuracy of Pa O Sullivan and Mike F. Russell from placed balls was the key element in the victory of Laune Rangers over Milltown/Castlemaine in this closely-contested Mid-Kerry Senior Football Championship Final. Between them, O Sullivan and Russell scored nine points of Rangers’ tally, eight of them coming from placed balls situations and that contribution is put in perspective by the team’s winning margin of just two points. For Rangers, it was their eighth Mid-Kerry title in the trot.

From the outset, the champions made some positional changes. Corner-forward Johnny Lynch went to right halfback, James O Shea moved from the No. 5 spot to wing-forward and Billy O Sullivan switched to corner-forward. It was O Sullivan who opened the scoring with a Rangers’ point after two-and-a-half minutes and, with the wind, the Killorglin side asserted itself well in the first quarter. Russell and O Sullivan added two pointed frees to make it 0-3 to 0-0 after 12 minutes. Milltown/Castlemaine registered their first score in the 13th minute when Ian Twiss slotted over a free after William Harmon had been fouled. However, their backs were inclined to foul and Russell and O Sullivan took advantage from frees to add a point each by the 17th minute.

Rangers were looking comfortable at this stage but then Milltown/Castlemaine upped a gear and had points from John Giles, a fisted effort, and Martin Burke. Burke’s shot screamed over the bar when a goal looked on. Pa O Sullivan and Twiss exchanged pointed frees before another O Sullivan pointed free made it 0-7 to 0-4. Twiss was then presented with two good chances of scores, one from play and one from a free, but he failed to score from either. However, Martin Burke was to find the target for Milltown/Castlemaine before the interval, after Mike Burke had been fouled, and this left the score at 0-7 to 0-5 in favour of Rangers.

Milltown/Castlemaine made a whirlwind start to the second half and were level inside two minutes. From the throw-in, they were awarded a free, which Twiss converted. The kick-out was won by Harmon and he kicked a marvellous long-range point. A titanic struggle for supremacy ensued and neither side was able to gain the upper-hand. Rangers, courtesy of Russell and O Sullivan, took the initiative briefly, but points by Twiss and Harmon left it all square heading into the last quarter. It was anybody’s game at this stage and things became even more competitive as the large crowd began to find its voice.

Then, in the 49th minute, there was a development which had a huge bearing on the outcome. Milltown/Castlemaine pressed forward and a long delivery found Ian Twiss on the edge of the square. He slipped his marker, Mike Hassett, but Hassett somehow regained his footing and dispossessed Twiss to deny him his shooting opportunity. In the ensuing struggle for possession, Twiss seemed to be fouled, but referee Mike O Sullivan waved play on. Rangers won the ball, broke from defence and set up an attack at the other end. The result was that Pa O Sullivan was upended and Mike Frank Russell pointed to give Rangers back the lead.

Excitement was at fever pitch and both sides gave their all in the energy-sapping conditions. Milltown/Castlemaine replaced forwards Willie Maher and Martin Burke with Seamus Burke and Joe McAuliffe, while Rangers’ Mark O Connor and Thomas Walsh came on for the tiring Paudie Sheahan and the injured Mike Hassett. One point still separated the sides with just two minutes left. Then, enter Billy Sullivan……

He gained possession out near the touchline, brought the ball infield and then swung over a magnificent point from 30m. It was a score that was greeted by a huge roar of approval from the Rangers’ supporters. Understandably so, as it was a score worthy of winning any match. Milltown/Castlemaine tried valiantly to save the day and moved Sean Burke to full-forward in an effort to snatch a match-winning goal. However, with John Sheehan and Johnny Lynch playing well in defence, Rangers never wilted and their great unbeaten run in Mid-Kerry championship football continued.

Afterwards, the Chairman of the Mid-Kerry Board, Kevin Griffin, presented the O Connor Cup to winning captain, Tommy Byrne. The man-of-the-match award went to full-forward, Mike F. Russell. For the winners, John Sheehan, Johnny Lynch and Mike Hassett were the pick of the defenders. Hassett was a tower of strength and he did an excellent man-to-man job on Milltown/Castlemaine’s danger-man, Ian Twiss. The Rangers’ midfield pairing of Prendiville and Byrne worked hard throughout and, while they did not do any spectacular fielding, they did manage to gather an amount of loose ball. The Killorglin attack was disappointing. True, players like Billy O Shea, Paul Griffin and Liam Hassett weren’t there, but, on the day, it is doubtful if Rangers would have put up a much bigger score. Why? Quite simply, because the Milltown/Castlemaine defence was absolutely rock-solid, man-to-man tactics worked really well and Rangers were limited to just three points from play. The tightness of the marking led to numerous frees, albeit many of them questionable, and Milltown/Castlemaine paid a dear price due to the fact that Pa O Sullivan and Mike F. Russell were in fine kicking form. Apart from one Mike F. Russell point, Billy O Sullivan was the only other Rangers’ forward to score from play.

Psychologically, that was a huge win for Rangers. Having been dethroned as county champions and provincial club champions, they needed to get back on the winning trail and to do so on their home patch, in the final of the local divisional championship, had to be satisfying.”

Laune Rangers had lost to Castlehaven in the Munster Club Championship on the previous Sunday and morale was at a low ebb. Coupled with that, the loss of forwards Billy O Shea, Liam Hassett and Paul Griffin could have been fatal. However, John Evans had his team in good mental condition for the game. Paudie Sheahan was chosen to mark Willie Maher, as he had done successfully on so many previous occasions, and he did his job to perfection. Indeed, when the Milltown/Castlemaine selectors decided to withdraw Maher, the Laune Rangers’ selectors did likewise with Paudie Sheahan – job done. Edso Crowley, of the Fishery, sponsored the man-of-the-match award.

Laune Rangers: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, John Sheehan, James O Shea, Mike Hassett, Shane O Sullivan, Tommy Byrne (capt.), Pierce Prendiville, Pa O Sullivan (0-5, frees), Conor Kearney, Billy O Sullivan (0-2), Johnny Lynch, Michael F. Russell (0-4, 3 frees), Brian Gannon. Subs: Mark O Connor for P. Sheahan, Thomas Walsh for M. Hassett (inj.), Fergus O Meara and Derry O Sullivan.

Milltown/Castlemaine: Mike Murphy, Andrew Boyle, Noel Spillane, Mike Quirke, John Giles (0-1), Sean Burke, Fionán Kelliher, Joe Daly, Mike Burke, Alan O Connor, Ian Twiss (0-4, frees), William Harmon (0-2), Martin Burke (0-2, 1 free), Linus Burke, Willie Maher. Subs: Seamus Burke for W. Maher, Joe McAuliffe for M. Burke.

Ref: Michael O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).

Laune Rangers – 1997 Mid-Kerry Senior Football Champions  Front: Mike O Donnell, Derry O Sullivan, Peter Lyons, Shane O Sullivan, Billy O Sullivan, Mike Frank Russell, Brian Gannon, Pa O Sullivan, Mark O Connor. Back: Fergus O Meara, Paudie Sheahan, Pierce Prendiville, Adrian Hassett, James O Shea, Conor Kearney, Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne (capt.), Johnny Lynch, Thomas Walsh.

Laune Rangers – 1997 Mid-Kerry Senior Football Champions
Front: Mike O Donnell, Derry O Sullivan, Peter Lyons, Shane O Sullivan, Billy O Sullivan, Mike Frank Russell, Brian Gannon, Pa O Sullivan, Mark O Connor.
Back: Fergus O Meara, Paudie Sheahan, Pierce Prendiville, Adrian Hassett, James O Shea, Conor Kearney, Mike Hassett, John Sheehan, Tommy Byrne (capt.), Johnny Lynch, Thomas Walsh.

Tommy Byrne (captain) lifts the O Connor Cup (1997)

Tommy Byrne (captain) lifts the O Connor Cup (1997)

 

Mid-Kerry Senior Football League

It was a club decision, in consultation with the senior management, that the first-15 senior players would not play in that competition. The competition was sponsored by Bunker’s Bar and Restaurant, Killorglin.

 

Rd. 1 on Sun. 9th March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-10; Cromane 0-8.

The final score did not tell the full story as Laune Rangers struggled for long periods of the game and the scoring was close all through. However, Laune Rangers finished the stronger and pulled away in the last quarter.

Laune Rangers: Fergus O Meara, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, Eddie Birmingham, Paudie Sheahan, Karl Griffin, John Doona, Thomas Walsh, Jason Griffin (0-2), Pat McKenna ()-3), Pa O Sullivan (1-2), Brian Gannon (0-1), Podge Foley (0-1), John O Sullivan (1-0). Subs: Fiachra O Donoghue, Pat O Keeffe and Michael O Reilly 0-1 (all played).

Ref: William O Shea (Keel).

 

Rd. 2 on Sun. 16th March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-10; Keel 0-5.

Best performers for Laune Rangers were Fergus O Meara, John O Sullivan, Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon and Joe Healy. That result put the team into the semi-final of the competition.

Laune Rangers: Fergus O Meara, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, John O Sullivan, Eddie Birmingham, Pa Murphy, Karl Griffin (0-1), John Doona, Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon (1-2), Pa McKenna, Jason Griffin (1-0), Michael O Reilly (0-3), Podge Foley (1-0), Joe Healy (0-4).

Ref: Tom Kelliher (Beaufort).

 

Semi-final on Sun. 6th April at Beaufort: Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-9; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-8.

A controversial last-minute goal from midfielder Ger O Connor grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat as Glenbeigh advanced to the final of the Bunkers Mid-Kerry League after that close and exciting game at Coughlan Park, Beaufort.

The winners started the game better and Sean Barton had two pointed frees before Rangers opened their account, a point by John F. O Brien in the 15th minute. With scores hard to come by, O Brien and Mikey Griffin for Rangers and Patie Griffin and John Healy for Glenbeigh exchanged points to leave the bare minimum between the sides heading for the interval. Right on the stroke of halftime, the winners got a real tonic when midfielder Pa Murphy rattled the Rangers’ net for the game’s first goal to leave the interval score at 1-4 to 0-3 in favour of Glenbeigh/Glencar. Rangers had wasted many chances with a poor first-half performance.

On the resumption, Derry O Sullivan replaced Dicey O Reilly at full-forward and Rangers took the game to their opponents. Scores were still hard to come by but towards the end of the third quarter two goals by Rangers really brought the game to life. The first came in the 39th minute from Jason Griffin and the second five minutes later when Pa O Sullivan took a pass from Derry O Sullivan and crashed the ball to the net to give Rangers the lead for the first time in the game. The final quarter was close and exciting and points from Pa O Sullivan (3) and Jason Griffin maintained Rangers’ lead. However, points from Sean Barton (2), Kieran and Brendan O Sullivan ensured that there was only the bare minimum between the sides heading towards the final whistle.

Then in the 60th minute came O Connor’s goal to give the winners a two points’ advantage. A long range free to Glenbeigh was flicked to the net by the Glencar man. Rangers, to their credit, never gave up and a 63rd minute point cut the deficit to one point. Indeed, they had a great chance of an equalising score when they were awarded a 25m free deep into injury time. However, the normally reliable John F. O Brien missed and so went Rangers’ last chance of getting something out of the game. Best for Rangers on the day were Liam Foley in goals, Pa Murphy in defence, Thomas Walsh at midfield and Pa O Sullivan, Mikey Griffin and Derry O Sullivan in attack.

Laune Rangers: Liam Foley, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, John O Sullivan, Karl Griffin, Pa Murphy, Eddie Birmingham, Thomas Walsh, John Doona, Pa O Sullivan (1-3), John F. O Brien (0-2), Mikey Griffin (0-2), Jason Griffin (1-1), Michael O Reilly, Joe Healy. Subs: James O Shea for E. Birmingham, Derry O Sullivan for M. O Reilly.

Ref: John Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).

 

Mid-Kerry O Sullivan Cup

Laune Rangers entered its ‘B’ team for that competition against the ‘A’ teams of the other clubs.

 

Semi-final on Sun. 25th May at Milltown: Laune Rangers 0-12; Beaufort 0-6.

 

Final on Sun. 8th June at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-15; Keel ‘A’ 1-7.

That final was played in brilliant sunshine in Killorglin. The Keel men started with all guns blazing and took the lead after two minutes through a Kieran Foley free. Pa O Sullivan equalised minutes later before the eventual losers got a real boost. Padraig Barton fielded a long ball at the edge of the square, turned and crashed it to the net. Aidan Foley added another point from a difficult angle and suddenly Keel were in the driving seat (1-2 to 0-1) after 15 minutes. Rangers were on the rack at that stage and an injury to wing-forward Shane O Sullivan forced them to re-adjust their team, Eoin O Connell coming in at right corner-back and John O Sullivan moving to wing-forward.

But no matter what Keel had to offer, they had no one of the calibre of Rangers’ Pa O Sullivan. He slotted over two points before forcing Keel custodian, Mike O Brien, into a brilliant save in the 18th minute. Keel’s Gene Evans and busy bee, Kieran Foley, traded points with O Sullivan and Brian Gannon heading towards the interval. But in the 27th minute, disaster struck for Keel, as Rangers made the most of a defensive error. There seemed to be no danger as Keel cleared their lines, but their final pass out of defence went awry and Rangers clinically punished them, with corner-forward, Eoin O Sullivan, finishing the ball to the net. It meant that Rangers had taken the lead for the first time in the game. Although Kieran Foley restored parity, Pa O Sullivan had the final say of the half with a pointed free to leave the halftime score at 1-7 to 1-6 in favour of the Rangers.

On resumption, Rangers stamped their authority on the game with early points from O Sullivan (3) and Pat McKenna. They were then playing with conviction and Keel had no answer to the combination shown by Rangers throughout the field. Further points from McKenna, O Sullivan and James O Shea put the issue well beyond doubt before Keel registered their first score of the half – a point from wing-forward, Tommy Evans, in the 55th minute. In fact, that was Keel’s only score of the half and, in truth, they didn’t have many opportunities, their best coming in the 47th minute when Kieran Foley punched wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

On the day, Rangers were best served by the ever alert veteran, Paudie Sheahan, Joe Hayes and Pa Murphy (he curbed the threat of Tommy Evans, when switched on to him), in defence, John Doona in midfield, and Pat McKenna and the elegant Pa O Sullivan, who scored 10 points of his side’s final tally. After the game, Neilie O Sullivan, on behalf of the O Sullivan family, Glenbeigh, presented the O Sullivan Cup to the winning captain, Liam Foley. Mike Carroll, PRO Mid-Kerry Board, presented the man-of-the-match award to Pat McKenna.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Liam Foley (goal & capt.), John O Sullivan, Danny Cahill, Joe Hayes, Pa Murphy, Paudie Sheahan, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona, James O Shea (0-2), Brian Gannon (0-1), Pa O Sullivan (0-10, 5 frees), Shane O Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan (1-0), Pat McKenna (0-2), Derry O Sullivan. Subs: Eoin O Connell for S.O Sullivan (inj.), Michael Moriarty, Timmy Moroney (both played).

Keel ‘A’: Mike O Brien, Johnny Sheehan, Paddy Hilliard, Tony Ladden, Danny Evans, Raymond Clifford, Seamus Evans, Aidan Foley (0-1), Donal Murphy, Tommy Evans (0-1), Padraig Barton (1-0), John A. Hilliard, Jason Foley, Gene Evans (0-1), Kieran Foley (0-4, frees). Subs: Terry Ladden and Mike Griffin (both played).

Ref: Mike O Sullivan (Glenbeigh).

At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on Mon. 14th July, in the Manor Inn, Killorglin, John Dowling, Vice-Chairman expressed the view that Laune Rangers ‘B’ should not have been allowed to play in the O Sullivan Cup!

Laune Rangers ‘B’ – 1997 Mid-Kerry O Sullivan Champions Front: John O Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan, Danny Cahill, Liam Foley (capt.), Eddie Birmingham, Joe Hayes, Timmy Moroney, Eoin O Connell. Back: Paudie Sheahan, Karl Griffin, Pa O Sullivan, Michael Moriarty, John Doona, Derry O Sullivan, James O Shea, Pat McKenna, Pa Murphy, Brian Gannon, Michael O Donnell. Missing – Shane O Sullivan.

Laune Rangers ‘B’ – 1997 Mid-Kerry O Sullivan Champions
Front: John O Sullivan, Eoin O Sullivan, Danny Cahill, Liam Foley (capt.), Eddie Birmingham, Joe Hayes, Timmy Moroney, Eoin O Connell.
Back: Paudie Sheahan, Karl Griffin, Pa O Sullivan, Michael Moriarty, John Doona, Derry O Sullivan, James O Shea, Pat McKenna, Pa Murphy, Brian Gannon, Michael O Donnell. Missing – Shane O Sullivan.

Liam Foley, captain, receives the O Sullivan Cup from Neilie O Sullivan Pat McKenna receives the man-of-the-match award from Mike Carroll, Mid-Kerry PRO.

Liam Foley, captain, receives the O Sullivan Cup from Neilie O Sullivan
Pat McKenna receives the man-of-the-match award from Mike Carroll, Mid-Kerry PRO.

 

Mid-Kerry Senior ‘B’ Championship

That competition was sponsored by Quirke’s Sand & Gravel, Killorglin. At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on 1st April, Paudie Sheahan and Pat McKenna were regraded from senior level.

 

Rd. 1 on Tues. 6th May at Keel: Keel ‘B’ 2-13; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-3.

Rd. 2 on Tues. 13th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-14; Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ 1-5.

Rd. 3 on Tues. 27th May at Beaufort:Beaufort ‘B’ 2-8; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-5.

Rd. 4 on Tues. 3rd June: Glenbeigh/Glencar ‘B’ 2-4; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 0-6.

As only the top two teams, after the preliminary rounds, reached the final, Laune Rangers ‘B’ were out of the competition.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Danny Cahill, Timmy Moroney, John O Donnell, Paudie Sheahan, Eddie Birmingham, John Doona, Pat O Keeffe, Eoin O Sullivan (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-1), Fiachra O Donoghue (0-1), Liam Foley, Derry O Sullivan, Jerry O Brien (0-1). Sub: Michael O Reilly (0-2).

 

Co. U-21 Football Championship

Trainer/Coach/Selector – James Sheehan. Selectors – Noel O Mahony, Maurice Corkery and Jerry Coffey.

 

Rd. 1 on Sun. 21st Sept: Laune Rangers 0-14; Dr. Crokes 1-5.

Rangers started slowly but gained control in the second half to run out convincing winners. Best on the day were Eoin Ferris and John O Sullivan in defence, Johnny Lynch at midfield, with Brian Gannon and Paul Russell in attack.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, John O Sullivan, Johnny Lynch, Brendan Fitzgerald, John Moriarty, Pa O Sullivan, Brian Gannon, Podge Foley, Paul Russell, Fiachra O Donoghue, Michael McGillycuddy, Garrath Sheehan. Sub: John Sheehan (played).

 

Quarter-final on Sat. 29th Nov. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 2-8; Mid-Kerry 0-11.

Two first-half goals from Mike Frank Russell and Johnny Lynch proved instrumental in that win. Those two critical scores were always the difference between the sides and, despite Mid-Kerry’s best efforts, they could not breach the Rangers’ defence to find the net. Despite the statistics, three dismissals and 13 scores coming from placed balls, it was not a rowdy affair and indeed the refereeing at times was the main source of debate and confusion, as some of his decisions were baffling. However, in his defence, conditions were not the best and led to the players making contact more out of accident than deliberation.

Mid-Kerry were first on the score-board when Ian Twiss pointed inside the first minute. Rangers hit back straight away with a Pa O Sullivan point and the same player gave them the lead after five minutes. Two minutes later came the game’s first goal when Russell fielded, rounded the fullback and made no mistake from the edge of the square. Then in the 10th minute came the game’s first dismissals when Podge Foley (kicking an opponent) and John A. Hilliard (head-butting) were ordered off after blows had been exchanged. Mike Frank Russell added another point for Rangers and, when Johnny Lynch added their second goal, they were in the driving seat. Twiss kept Mid-Kerry in contention with points in the 18th, 23rd, 29th and 30th minutes, while Johnny Lynch and Pa O Sullivan had points for Rangers to leave the halftime score at 2-5 to 0-6 in favour of Rangers.

On resumption, the losers replaced Rory McGrath and James Foley with Damien Murphy and Jason Giles. But, inside the first minute, Rangers were rocked when corner-back Eoin O Connell received his marching orders. He did foul the Mid-Kerry attacker but it seemed innocent enough and he was sent to the line for verbal abuse. Pa O Sullivan and Kieran Foley (Mid-Kerry) exchanged points before Russell put six points between the sides once more. Then, in the 46th minute, Mid-Kerry had a glorious chance to get right back into the game when they were awarded a penalty. Twiss took it but goalkeeper Tony Lyons managed to get his hand to the ball and put it over the bar. However, after Pa O Sullivan had another point for Rangers, the eventual losers pressed forward and, with the extra man, they pinned Rangers down in their own half for the remaining ten minutes. Twiss (2) and O Malley had points to reduce the deficit to three points and, with time running out, Mid-Kerry pressed for a goal. Rangers’ defence stood solid and when Lyons saved in injury-time, Mid-Kerry’s last chance of a draw was gone.

On the day, Rangers were best served by Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, John Sheehan, Pa O Sullivan, Johnny Lynch and Mike Frank Russell.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Brian Curran, John Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Pa O Sullivan (0-5, 4 frees), Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon, Podge Foley, Fiachra O Donoghue, Johnny Lynch (1-1), Mike Frank Russell (1-2, 1 free), Garrath Sheehan.

Mid-Kerry: Pat Healy (Glenbeigh/Glencar), James Foley (Cromane), Anthony Evans (Keel), John A. O Sullivan (Beaufort), Donal Coffey (do.), Fionán Kelliher (Milltown/Castlemaine), John A. Hilliard (Keel), Mike Burke (Mill/Castlemaine), Aidan Foley (Keel), William Harmon (Mill/Castlemaine), Ian Twiss (do.) 0-9, 8 frees, Mícheál Foley (Beaufort), Eanna O Malley (do.) 0-1, Rory McGrath (do.), Kieran Foley (Keel) 0-1. Subs: Damien Murphy (Mill/Castlemaine) for J. Foley, Jason Giles (do.) for R. McGrath, Eugene Courtney (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for M. Foley.

Ref: Paul O Sullivan (Dromid).

 

Semi-final on Sat. 20th Dec. at Waterville: South-Kerry 0-7; Laune Rangers 2-4.

Shane Scanlon reported on the game for the Kerryman as follows: “Superior forward play earned Laune Rangers their place in the Kerry U-21 Football final after they edged out South-Kerry in this uncompromising, but entertaining, semi-final in Waterville. With underfoot conditions extremely heavy, it was always going to be a test of stamina but, in fairness to both sets of players, this was a quality, which they possessed in abundance. The exchanges were never lacking in commitment and, though some challenges were border-line, it was by no means a foul-ridden encounter and both sides played some fine football considering the conditions. Over the 60 minutes, there was very little between the sides and, if anything, South-Kerry had the majority of possession. However, they paid dearly for some wasteful shooting. Ultimately, this was what decided the outcome – the Killorglin side had the more potent front line, which took advantage of their chances.

Of course, Laune Rangers had an ‘ace in the pack’ in Michael Francis Russell and, although the Kerry sharp-shooter amassed a total of 1-2, he was by no means a one-man show. The Killorglin forwards displayed far more ingenuity than their South-Kerry counter-parts, whose lack of ideas was best illustrated by their failure to trouble Killorglin goalkeeper, Tony Lyons.

Laune Rangers served notice of their intentions in the early minutes as the midfield partnership of Pa O Sullivan and Thomas Walsh quickly got into their stride. Michael F. Russell pointed a free in the second minute, while South-Kerry goalkeeper, Bernard Murphy, had to make a good save to deny Garrath Sheehan a goal six minutes later. Russell converted his second free in the 11th minute before South-Kerry finally began to work their way into the game. However, three bad wides meant they had still failed to open their account by the end of the first quarter and, even at this early stage, the signs were ominous. South-Kerry suffered another setback in the 18th minute when Russell capitalised on a quickly-taken free and easily beat Murphy for his side’s first goal. As the half closed, the South-Kerry duo of Austin Constable and John Sugrue began to gain control at midfield, John Shanahan kicked his side’s opening point five minutes before the break and Keith Moran followed up with a similar score from the right wing. The hard-working Sugrue fired over the final point of the half to narrow the gap to two points (1-2 to 0-3) at the interval.

Pa O Sullivan and Damien Fogarty exchanged points in the early stages of the second half before Sugrue reduced the deficit to a single point in the 37th minute. Pa O Sullivan doubled Laune Rangers advantage 11 minutes into the half, when he converted a free, before the Killorglin side struck for their second goal. Russell pumped in a free into the large parallelogram and the eagle-eyed Fiachra O Donoghue rose high to clinically finish the ball to the net – a goal to honour any stage. Trailing by five points with 13 minutes left, the home side faced an uphill task but, to their credit, they battled all the way to the final whistle. Points from Sugrue and Brian Hickey narrowed the gap to 3 points and, though they tried valiantly to grab an equalising goal, they never looked likely to prise open Laune Rangers’ resolute defence.

Among the leading lights for the winners were Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Brendan Fitzgerald, Pa O Sullivan, Mike Frank Russell and Fiachra O Donoghue.”

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Brian Curran, John Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Pa O Sullivan (0-2, frees), Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon, Michael McGillycuddy, Fiachra O Donoghue (1-0), Johnny Lynch, Michael Francis Russell (1-2, 2 frees), Garrath Sheehan. Sub: John Ahern for B. Gannon.

South-Kerry; Bernard Murphy (Waterville), Mike (Andy) O Connell (St. Mary’s), Stephen O Sullivan (Skellig Rangers), Mark Walsh (Waterville), Vincent O Sullivan (do.), Mark O Sullivan (Foilmore), John Paul O Connor (St. Mary’s), John Sugrue (Renard) 0-3, 2 frees, Austin Constable (St. Mary’s), Keith Moran (Waterville) 0-1, Brian Hickey (Skellig Rangers) 0-1, John Shanahan (Valentia) 0-1, Bernard O Connor (St. Mary’s), Len Burns (Sneem), Damien Fogarty (Waterville) 0-1. Subs: Muiris O Neill (Renard) for L. Burns, Kieran O Sullivan (Moul) for B. O Connor.

Ref: Johnny Cahill (Rathmore).

 

Final on Fri. 26th Dec. at Austin Stack Park; Feale Rangers 5-8; Laune Rangers 3-7.

Eamonn Horan reported for the Kerryman as follows: “Despite the concession of two goals to their opponents inside the opening two minutes of the game, the fast-moving, dynamic, young footballers of Feale Rangers turned in a superb performance to lift the Co. U-21 Championship at the expense of a gallant Laune Rangers side on St. Stephen’s Day. The game was played on a very heavy pitch, which militated against good football but, in the circumstances, both teams gave an exhilarating display of fast, flowing football, with some marvellous scores being registered over the hour. Indeed, rarely does one get a game that produces eight goals, but such was the case in this thrill-packed final. One could only speculate the even greater grandeur of the game had it been played in fine weather rather than in the depths of winter.

Laune Rangers rocked their rivals to their very foundations when they hammered home two brilliantly executed goals in the first two minutes of the game. The game was scarcely over half a minute old when the men from the Laune pounced. Johnny Lynch and Mike Francis Russell carved out the opening for Pa O Sullivan to gain possession and the big midfielder sent an unstoppable shot to the Feale Rangers’ net. It was the dream start any team would wish for. But Laune Rangers didn’t rest on their oars. Like hungry predators, they were back inside the second minute for goal No. 2. Wing-forward, Brian Gannon, found Mike Francis Russell with a lovely pass and the fleet-footed full-forward rattled the ball high into the net to the sheer astonishment of the Feale Rangers’ supporters. Two goals in two minutes! It looked right then as if Laune Rangers were going to run away with the game, such was their sureness and confidence. The goals were interspersed with a point for Feale Rangers by Paul Galvin after one minute.

Then, in the eighth minute, the North-Kerry side struck for the first of its five goals. Bryan Scanlon sent Tadhg Kennelly through with a neat pass and the left half-forward soloed his way through the middle before booting the ball into the net and, when Paul Galvin added a point within seconds, Feale Rangers were firing on all cylinders. In the tenth minute, Feale Rangers were on level terms after a lovely one-two between team-captain Marcus Kelliher and Paul Galvin, the Finuge man booting the ball high between the posts. Twelve minutes into the half disaster befell Laune Rangers and it was to open the sluice gates for a flood of match-winning goals by the North-Kerry side. Centre half-forward Noel Kennelly drove a free from his hands, from all of 45m range, into the Laune Rangers’ goalmouth. Goalkeeper Tony Lyons appeared to have the situation safely under control as he went to catch the ball but, to the utter disbelief of supporters, he left it slip through his hands and into the net. Feale Rangers had jumped into a three-point lead (2-3 to 2-0) and they never surrendered the advantage from there to the final whistle. The winners were already showing that they could adapt better to the sticky underfoot conditions than their lighter opponents and, in the end, it was this superior physical strength which was to prove decisive in determining the destination of the championship cup.

Pa O Sullivan pulled a point back for Laune Rangers in the 15th minute but the losers were sent skidding headlong to defeat with two stunning goals in the 18th and 19th minutes. First, a Brian Scanlon shot at goal came off the woodwork, the ball eventually came to Paul Galvin and the Finuge man whipped it past goalkeeper Lyons for a great goal. But Laune Rangers had scarcely recovered from the body-blow than they were struck another body blow. Noel Kennelly battled his way through the middle and when he found Enda Galvin with a lovely ball, the right wing-forward put the finishing touch to it with a tremendous drive and the winners had jumped into an unbelievable eight-point lead (4-3 to 2-1). Feale Rangers dominated the exchanges from there to the break, each side scoring two points.

Laune Rangers tried for all they were worth to get back into the game on the restart, but they found the going extremely tough against their hard-tackling opponents. Alan Doran and Pa O Sullivan exchanged points before Mike Francis Russell pointed two frees to leave them six points in arrears by the 40th minute. Then, 90 seconds later, the Killorglin side had their supporters cheering wildly when wing-forward Brian Gannon crashed a penalty shot to the net, after corner-forward Johnny Lynch had been upended in the parallelogram. Feale Rangers’ advantage had been reduced to just three points (4-6 to 3-6) and it was still anybody’s game. Laune Rangers were back in business and one wondered if Feale Rangers were beginning to show signs of strain.

Scanlon and Noel Kennelly were wide in turn before the latter pointed a free from his hands in the 46th minute. Centre halfback John Sheehan had a great chance of a goal at the opposite end but he lost possession in front of goal and a fine chance was lost by the Laune men. They mounted a number of hot attacks but were unable to find a way past a teak-tough Feale Rangers’ backline. Pa O Sullivan pointed a free in the 56th minute to leave his side trailing by just four points (4-8 to 3-7). The losers launched another blistering attack but, when the ball came back to John Sheehan, he sent it straight into the hands of a defender and Laune Rangers had thrown away their last real chance of salvaging the game. The winners finished off the job in the 59th minute when they broke up-field and Enda Galvin sent a beautiful ball into space and there was Paul Galvin to stick it in the net and the title was North-Kerry bound.

It was a hard, thrilling contest, which at times became somewhat over-heated and necessitated strong handling by the referee. But, overall, it was a highly eventful and entertaining game of football. Best for a gallant Laune Rangers side were Eoin O Connell, Eoin Ferris and John O Sullivan in defence, Pa O Sullivan at midfield and John Lynch, Mike Francis Russell and Brian Gannon in attack.

Laune Rangers: Tony Lyons, Joe Hayes, Eoin Ferris, Eoin O Connell, Brian Curran, John Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Pa O Sullivan (1-4, 2 frees) capt., Thomas Walsh, Brian Gannon (1-0, pen), Michael McGillycuddy, Fiachra O Donoghue, Johnny Lynch, Michael Francis Russell (1-3, 3 frees), Paul Russell. Sub: Pa Sheehan for M. McGillycuddy.

Feale Rangers: John Somers (St. Senan’s), Trevor McKenna (Finuge), Maurice Mulvihill (Moyvane), John Mulvihill (do.), Brendan Whelan (St. Senan’s), Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Finuge), Marcus Kelliher (St. Senan’s) capt., Padraig Somers (do.), Conor Galvin (Finuge), Enda Galvin (do.) 1-0, Noel Kennelly (Emmett’s) 1-2, 2 frees, Tadhg Kennelly (do.) 1-1, 1 free, Paul Galvin (Finuge) 2-4, Alan Doran (St. Senan’s) 0-1, Brian Scanlon (Emmett’s). Subs: Tom Dillon (Duagh) for A. Doran, Jackie Mulvihill (Moyvane) for M. Mulvihill.

Ref: Johnny Cahill (Rathmore).

 

Co. Minor Football Championship

Trainer/Coach – James Sheehan. Selectors – Noel O Mahony, Maurice Corkery and Jerry Coffey.

 

Rd. 1 on Tues. 22nd July at Lispole: West-Kerry 0-17; Laune Rangers 2-7.

West-Kerry were lucky to come away with a four-points’ win from a very entertaining. The visitors’ forwards were very impressive in the first half, running at the West-Kerry backs and found openings to get two goals. One came in the 7th minute from Garrath Sheehan and the other in the 16th minute from John Moriarty. Laune Rangers led by 2-4 to 0-6 at halftime.

The second half was a different story with Rangers failing to repeat their first-half performance, adding only three points to their tally. Mícheál O Shea dominated midfield and, with Co. Minor duo of Liam Og Higgins and Alan Lynch causing Laune Rangers problems up front, West-Kerry were impressive winners.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Pa Sheehan, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Brian Curran, Cian Foley, Terence Houlihan, Brendan Fitzgerald (0-1) capt., John Moriarty (1-0), Eoin Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (1-4), Morgan Foley, John Ahern, Michael McGillycuddy, Trevor Gannon (0-1). Sub: Kevin Cahillane for T. Gannon.

Ref: Tom Lynch (Desmonds).

 

Co. Minor Football League

 

Rd. 1 on Sat. 15th March at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers 2-11; Legion 1-4.

Best for Laune Rangers, who led by 2-6 to 0-2 at halftime, were Fergus Clifford and Brendan Fitzgerald in defence, Morgan Foley at midfield, and John Ahern, Kevin Cahillane and Garrath Sheehan in attack.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Eoin Ferris, Cian Foley, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Terence Houlihan, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Bob Foley, John Ahern (1-3), Trevor Gannon (0-1), Aidan O Connor (1-1), Kevin Cahillane (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (0-5). Subs: Karl Falvey for B. Foley, Andrew O Reilly for P. Sheehan.

 

Rd. 2 on Fri. 21st March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 1-8; Emmett’s 1-7

The large crowd was treated to a tough, uncompromising game of football. Rangers were ahead by 0-8 to 0-3 at halftime. Midway through the second half, Emmett’s piled on the pressure but failed, at any stage, to get ahead.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Robert Moriarty, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Terence Houlihan, Morgan Foley (0-1), John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (1-1), Kevin Cahillane (0-2), Trevor Gannon (0-1), Aidan O Connor, Cian Foley, John Ahern (0-3). Sub: Brian Curran for R. Moriarty.

 

Rd. 3 on Wed. 2nd April at Kilcummin: Kilcummin 0-9; Laune Rangers 2-6.

Laune Rangers led at halftime by 2-2 to 0-3.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Brian Curran, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald (0-1), Terence Houlihan, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (0-2), Garrath Sheehan (1-1), Trevor Gannon, Kevin Cahillane, Cian Foley (1-0), John Ahern (0-2). Sub: Aidan O Connor for T. Gannon.

 

Rd. 4 on Fri. 4th April at Castlegregory: Castlegregory 0-12; Laune Rangers 4-12.

That win put Rangers at the top of the league table. They led at halftime by 2-6 to 0-4.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Brian Curran, Cian Foley, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Terence Houlihan, Morgan Foley (0-1), John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (1-5), Trevor Gannon (0-1), Bob Foley (0-1), Kevin Cahillane (1-2), John Ahern (2-1). Subs: Jonathan Griffin for B. Foley, Aidan O Connor for T. Gannon, Robert Moriarty for P. Sheehan, Andrew O Reilly, Jamie Cahillane, Cyril Conroy and Fred Foley.

 

Rd. 5 on Fri. 11th April at Mitchels’ Pitch: John Mitchels 1-7; Laune Rangers 4-10.

Rangers led by 2-6 to 1-4 at halftime.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Brian Curran, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Terence Houlihan, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (2-4), Trevor Gannon (0-2), Kevin Cahillane (1-3), Cian Foley, John Ahern (1-0). Subs: Andrew O Reilly for J. Ahern, Jonathan Griffin for T. Gannon, Robert Moriarty for T. Houlihan.

 

Rd. 6 on Fri. 18th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 2-10; Austin Stacks 2-5.

Laune Rangers started well and, after 15 minutes, Morgan Foley found John Ahern unmarked and he found the net in great style. From the kick-out, Stacks attacked and a high ball found its way to the Rangers’ net. Laune Rangers led at halftime by 1-6 to 1-1. On the restart, Stacks assumed control and dominated in all areas of the field. With ten minutes remaining, the sides were level, but Rangers rallied and, with the help of a Garrath Sheehan penalty, pulled clear to win.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Brian Curran, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald (0-1), Terence Houlihan, Cian Foley, John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford, Garrath Sheehan (1-2, 1 pen.), Trevor Gannon (0-2), Kevin Cahillane, Morgan Foley (0-4), John Ahern (1-1). Sub: Bob Foley for K. Cahillane (inj.), Tom Crowley for T. Houlihan.

 

Rd. 7 on Fri. 25th April at Killarney: Dr. Crokes 1-13; Laune Rangers 0-12.

The home side led by 1-6 to 0-5 at halftime.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Brian Curran, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Pa Sheehan, Brendan Fitzgerald (0-1), Cian Foley, Morgan Foley, John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (0-7), Trevor Gannon, Kevin Cahillane (0-1), Michael McGillycuddy (0-1), John Ahern (0-1). Sub: Bob Foley for K. Cahillane.

 

Semi-final on Fri. 2nd May at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 1-13; Kilcummin 2-6.

Laune Rangers led by one point at halftime, 0-5 to 0-4.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Pa Sheehan (0-1), Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Brendan Fitzgerald (capt.), Cian Foley, Brian Curran, John Ahern (0-1), John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (0-2), Garrath Sheehan (0-7), Morgan Foley (0-1), Kevin Cahillane (0-1), Michael McGillycuddy, Trevor Gannon (1-0). Sub: Terence Houlihan for K. Cahillane.

 

Final on Fri. 9th May at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 2-9; Dr. Crokes 2-7.

That was a gripping contest, played before a large crowd. Laune Rangers got off to the best possible start with two goals in the opening ten minutes by corner-forward, Trevor Gannon. The Killorglin boys had a seven-points’ lead before Crokes’ first point. However, the Killarney side rallied and goals by P. Howard and Mike Crowley (penalty) saw them trail by just one point at the interval, 2-6 to 2-5.

Rangers retained the advantage in a most entertaining second half, though Crokes came close to scoring a goal on a few occasions. Best for the Rangers were Eoin Ferris, Brendan Fitzgerald and Cian Foley in defence, John Moriarty, John Ahern and Morgan Foley (second half) at midfield and Trevor Gannon, Michael McGillycuddy and Garrath Sheehan up front.

Rúnaí of Coiste Chiarraí, Tony O Keeffe, presented the cup to Brendan Fitzgerald, Laune Rangers’ captain.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Pa Sheehan, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Brendan Fitzgerald (capt.), Cian Foley, Brian Curran, John Moriarty, John Ahern, Eoin Clifford, Garrath Sheehan (0-6), Morgan Foley (0-1), Kevin Cahillane, Michael McGillycuddy (0-1), Trevor Gannon (2-0). Subs: Terence Houlihan for J. Moriarty, Aidan O Connor (0-1) for E. Clifford.

Dr. Crokes: Kieran Cremin, Sean Kavanagh, James Cahillane, F. Moran, S. Myers, Martin Beckett, S. Jones, B. Moriarty, Aidan O Donoghue, Mike Crowley, Eoin Brosnan, Jonathan Spalding, P. Howard, J. Lynch, A. O Brien. Subs: B. Regan and L. O Callaghan.

Ref: Denis O Donovan (Desmonds).

 

Mid-Kerry Minor Football Championship

That competition was sponsored by Killorglin Credit Union.

 

Rd. 1 on Sat. 18th Oct: Laune Rangers 3-14; Cromane 1-3.

 

Semi-final on Sun. 26th Oct. at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 0-12; Keel 0-8.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Pa Sheehan, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Terence Houlihan, Brendan Fitzgerald, Brian Curran, John Moriarty, Cian Foley, Eoin Clifford (0-1), Garrath Sheehan (0-5), Trevor Gannon (0-3), Kevin Cahillane (0-1), Michael McGillycuddy (0-2), Robert Moriarty. Subs: Tom Crowley and John Ahern (both played).

Ref: Brendan Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).

 

Final on Sun. 20th Dec. at Beaufort: Milltown/Castlemaine 3-9; Laune Rangers 1-4.

The minors of Milltown/Castlemaine gained some compensation for their senior defeat the previous Sunday when they comprehensively defeated Laune Rangers in that keenly contested Killorglin Credit Union sponsored Mid-Kerry Minor Football Championship Final played at Coughlan Park, Beaufort. While they did most of their scoring in the second half, the winners laid the foundation for victory in the first.

Rangers played with the strong wind, but at the interval had only two points on the board, a 25th minute point from Trevor Gannon and a 29th minute effort from Garrath Sheehan. The winners closed down their opponents throughout the field and they had points from Derek Twiss (3) and Aeneas Keane to lead at the interval by 0-4 to 0-2.

On the resumption, Twiss stretched their lead but back came Rangers. A superb run by Trevor Gannon set up Eoin Clifford and he banged the ball to the net for the game’s first goal. Minutes later Terence Houlihan pointed to give Rangers the lead for the first and only time in the game. Then the winners introduced Colm Kerins and what a bearing he was to have on the game! In a 10-minute spell he clocked up 2-1 to give his side the upper hand. Derek Twiss, Gavin Wrynn and a superb effort from Damien Murphy all yielded points, which put the winners out of sight and when George McKenna’s long ball deceived Ross Breen and landed in the net, the demolition of Rangers was complete. Rangers’ only answer to it was a 26th minute point from Garrath Sheehan.

Rangers’ best players on the day were Pa Sheehan, Eoin Ferris, John Moriarty and Mike McGillycuddy.

Laune Rangers: Ross Breen, Pa Sheehan, Eoin Ferris, Fergus Clifford, Brian Curran, Brendan Fitzgerald (capt.), Terence Houlihan (0-1), Cian Foley, John Moriarty, Eoin Clifford (1-0), Garrath Sheehan (0-2), Trevor Gannon (0-1), Kevin Cahillane, Mike McGillycuddy, John Ahern.

Milltown/Castlemaine: Gary Murphy, James A. Murphy, Michael Cronin, Mike Cronin, Eoin Flynn, Damien Murphy (0-1), Alfie Giles, Mark Galvin, Kieran Burke, Gavin Wrenn (0-1), William Harmon, George McKenna (1-0), Derek Twiss (0-5), Aeneas Keane (0-1), James Koavas. Sub: Colm Kerins (2-1) for J. Koavas.

Ref: Michael McCarthy (Cromane).

 

Co. U-16 Football Championship

Trainer/Coach – John Griffin (Caragh Lake). Selectors – Mark O Connor and Paudie Sheahan. The team was sponsored by the Fishery. Training commenced on Sun. 9th March.

 

Rd. 2 on Mon. 23rd June: Austin Stacks 2-8; Laune Rangers 2-5.

Rd. 3 on Mon. 30th June: Laune Rangers 1-11; Gneeveguilla 1-10.

Rd. 4 on Mon. 7th July: Laune Rangers 4-8; Na Gaeil 1-8.

Rd. 5 on Mon. 21st July: Kerins O Rahillys 2-12; Laune Rangers 1-7.

Rd. 6 on Mon. 28th July at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Dr. Crokes defeated Laune Rangers.

Laune Rangers did not progress beyond the preliminary rounds.

 

Mid-Kerry U-16 Football Championship

That competition was sponsored by Mulvihill’s Pharmacy, Killorglin (Joseph Crowley).

As there had been a ‘B’ competition earlier in the year, to which Laune Rangers ‘B’ team had been invited to participate, but from which Laune Rangers ‘A’ team had been excluded, the ‘A’ competition was played on a knock-out system. Laune Rangers were given a bye to the semi-final.

 

Semi-final on Wed. 3rd Sept. at Beaufort: Laune Rangers 0-10; Milltown/Castlemaine 0-3.

 

Final on Mon. 15th Sept. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 0-7; Beaufort 0-7.

Final replay on Wed. 24th Sept. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 0-11; Beaufort 1-8.

That replay was another thriller like the first game. After 60 minutes of top-class football, played in ideal weather conditions between two sporting teams, the competition was still undecided as both teams finished level and shortage of time on a hazy evening prevented extra-time.

Beaufort played with the wind in the opening half and raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead. Rangers settled and were more direct in their approach, closing the gap to 0-5 to 0-3. Then a Beaufort free by Donal Hartnett dipped under the crossbar to give them a halftime lead of 1-5 to 0-3. Rangers dominated long spells of the second half and scored some great points. In the final minute, they scored a great point to tie up the scores at the final whistle.

 

Final, 2nd replay, on Fri. 3rd Oct. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 0-10; Beaufort 0-8.

It almost took a team of surgeons to separate those two teams. It took one hundred and eighty minutes and three trips to the Paddy Burke Memorial Park, Milltown, before Laune Rangers took the honours.

 

Tralee District Board U-16A Championship

 

Rd. 1 on Mon. 31st March at Killeen: Na Gaeil 2-4; Laune Rangers 2-8.

Laune Rangers showed great character in coming from behind on four occasions to win that game. The team included Garrett O Reilly, Seamus Galvin, Daniel Moriarty, Barry O Sullivan (0-2), Geoffrey O Mahony (0-3), Andrew O Regan, William Byrne, Thomas McGillycuddy, Conor Falvey (1-0), John E. Murphy (0-2), Vincent Griffin (1-1), Darragh Burns, Harry Bawden, Cian Evans and Fergus O Riordan.

 

Rd. 2 on Mon. 7th April: Austin Stacks 1-11; Laune Rangers 2-6.

Rd. 3 on Mon. 14th April at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys 2-16; Laune Rangers 3-6.

 

Rd. 4 on Mon. 28th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated John Mitchels.

Semi-final on Mon. 5th May at Strand Road: Austin Stacks 3-5; Laune Rangers 1-8.

Austin Stacks snatched victory with a last minute goal, winning by two points.

 

Tralee District Board U-16B Championship

Trainer/Selector – Pat O Riordan. Selectors – John Clifford and Sean Moriarty.

 

Rd. 1 on Mon. 31st March at Churchill: Churchill ‘A’ 4-12; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-2.

Rd. 2 on Sun. 13th April: Desmonds ‘A’ beat Laune Rangers ‘B’.

Semi-final on Fri. 2nd May at Killeen: Desmonds ‘A’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’.

 

U-16 Football Challenge Game

 

Sun. 16th March: Austin Stacks beat Laune Rangers.

Austin Stacks were obviously better prepared for that game.

 

Co. U-16 District Board Football Championship

 

Rd. 1 on Sat. 6th Sept. at Cahersiveen: South-Kerry 0-10; Mid-Kerry 1-9.

The Laune Rangers’ players on the team were Darragh Burns, Harry Bawden, John E. Murphy, Cian Evans and Fergus Riordan.

 

Sun. 14th Sept: Mid-Kerry 2-19; Kenmare 0-5.

Semi-final on Sat. 25th Oct: Mid-Kerry 0-16; Feale Rangers 2-8 (AET).

Laune Rangers’ players involved were Cian Evans, Harry Bawden, Geoffrey O Mahony, Garrett O Reilly and Paul Costello. John E. Murphy and Darragh Burns were unavailable.

 

Final on Sun. 16th Nov. at Fitzgerald Stadium: Tralee D.B. 4-7; Mid-Kerry 0-9.

Four goals, from two defensive errors and two penalties, put Tralee in a very strong position to win the Divisional Co. U-16 Championship at cold and wet Fitzgerald Stadium. Mid-Kerry were backboned by a full complement of players from all the clubs in the area, including Laune Rangers. Tralee dominated the first half and had two goals by Declan Quill and some very well taken points to lead at halftime by 2-4 to 0-3. Harry Burke (2) and Geoffrey O Mahony (free) were the Mid-Kerry scorers.

Mid-Kerry stepped up their game at the start of the second half and outscored Tralee by 0-3 to 0-1 through Burke, Wrenn and Hartnett, Tralee’s score coming from Quill (free). Then another setback befell Mid-Kerry when Padraig Sugrue forced a ball that should have been cleared over the line for a goal for Tralee to see them ahead by 3-5 to 0-6. Mid-Kerry had to respond immediately and in their best chance of the game, Greg Kissane came off his line to make a great timely body save from John E. Murphy. That save was crucial and it broke Mid-Kerry’s spirits. Quill scored Tralee’s fourth goal from the penalty spot to seal the issue.

Mid-Kerry: Mike Moriarty (Beaufort), Gerald O Sullivan (Glenbeigh), Jeremiah Doyle (Beaufort) 0-1, Fergus O Riordan (Laune Rangers), James A. Murphy (Mill/Castlemaine), Cian Evans (Laune Rangers), Mark Breen (Beaufort), Geoffrey O Mahony (Laune Rangers) 0-3, 1 free, Jonathan O Connor (Glenbeigh), Donal Hartnett (Beaufort) 0-1, Gavin Wrenn (Mill/Castlemaine) 0-1, Harry Burke (do.) 0-2, Derek Twiss (do.) 0-1, Paul Costello (Laune Rangers), Sean Murphy (Beaufort). Subs: Kevin O Brien (Beaufort) for F. O Riordan, John E. Murphy (Laune Rangers) for P. Costello, Darragh Burns (do.) for D. Hartnett, Harry Bawden (Laune Rangers), Garrett O Reilly (Laune Rangers).

 

Co. U-15 Football Championship

That was a knock-out competition.

 

Rd. 1 : Laune Rangers defeated Gneeveguilla.

Rd. 2 on Sat. 25th Oct. at Killarney: Dr. Crokes lost to Laune Rangers.

Rd. 3 on Mon. 27th Oct. at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers defeated Na Gaeil.

Semi-final on Sun. 30th Nov. at Ballyrickard: Kerins O Rahillys drew with Laune Rangers.

Semi-final replay on Sun. 14th Dec. at Listry: Laune Rangers defeated Kerins O Rahillys.

 

Final on Sun. 21st Dec. at Currow: Laune Rangers 1-6; Austin Stacks 0-7.

A James Hayes’ goal for Laune Rangers midway through the first half was the score that made the difference in that thrilling final. Rangers, playing with the wind in the first half, got off to a great start and went two points ahead after 2 minutes with scores from full-forward William Byrne and corner forward James Hayes. The Stacks got more involved and were level after 10 minutes with points from Michael Collins and Stephen Enright. The Rangers’ defence held the Stacks at bay with fullback Pa Crowley and the entire halfback line of Darren Riordan, Noel Lynch and Ross Sheehan quelling every attack. The critical goal came in the 13th minute when James Hayes was left unmarked in front of goal. He collected a perfect pass from Andrew O Regan and shot an unstoppable ball to the net. Barry O Sullivan and Andrew O Regan added two further points before the break and a point for the Stacks by Brian Dennehy left the winners ahead at halftime by 1-4 to 0-3.

The Killorglin boys stretched their lead after the break with two pointed frees by Barry O Sullivan. Stacks then had an uphill struggle and, with the wind behind them, they clawed back the arrears, with Kevin Walsh, having switched to full-forward, posing a constant threat to the Rangers’ defence. He scored two points and Stephen Enright two pointed frees to leave just two points between the teams with 10 minutes remaining. However, in the closing minutes, the Rangers effectively held possession, holding on gallantly to their two-point lead.

Laune Rangers: Colin Mangan, Eoin Joy (Bansha), Pa Crowley, Conor Falvey, Darren O Riordan, Noel Lynch, Ross Sheehan, Thomas McGillycuddy, Barry O Sullivan (0-3, Michael Doyle, Vincent Griffin, Jonathan McCarthy, Andrew O Regan (0-1), William Byrne (0-1), James Hayes (1-1). Subs: Francis Russell and Damien Harmon (both played).

 

Co. U-14 Football Championship

Trainer/Coach – Pat Pigott. Selectors – Patsy Joy and Jerry Foley. The team was sponsored by Champs Super-Valu. Training commenced on Sat. 8th March.

 

Rd. 1 on Wed. 2nd April: Laune Rangers defeated Legion.

Rd. 2 on Wed. 16th April: Laune Rangers 5-7; Kenmare 2-4.

Rd. 3 on Mon. 28th April: Laune Rangers 4-3; Kerins O Rahillys 2-5.

Rd. 4 on Wed. 7th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated Dr. Crokes.

Rd. 5 on Mon. 5th May: Laune Rangers 2-11; Austin Stacks 1-3.

Rd. 6 on Mon. 19th May: Laune Rangers 1-12; Beaufort 1-9.

 

Final on Mon. 9th June at Milltown: Laune Rangers 2-12; Beaufort 1-4.

The supremacy of the Killorglin boys in all positions gave them a comfortable victory over neighbours Beaufort. Both teams were slow to settle and it was just 0-1 each at the end of the first quarter. However, once Laune Rangers settled into their pattern of play they picked off vital scores and they were comfortably ahead when Jonathan McCarthy punched the ball past the Beaufort goalkeeper four minutes before the break to give his side an interval lead of 1-6 to 0-2.

In the second half, Laune Rangers stretched their lead and controlled all the key positions, with fullback Sean Evans quelling Beaufort’s attacks with the utmost confidence. Some beautifully executed scores were a feature of the Killorglin side’s play.

Laune Rangers: Eoin Clifford, Muiris Crowley, Sean Evans, Alan Murphy, Aidan Lynch, Darren O Riordan, Mark Healy, Seamie Foley, Ross Sheehan, Dermot Houlihan, Michael Doyle, David Coffey, James Hayes, Jonathan McCarthy, Colin O Connor.

 

Co. U-14B Football Championship

Trainer/Coaches – Michael C. Ahern, Jerry Coffey. The team was sponsored by O Grady’s Supermarket.

 

Rd. 1 on Sun. 25th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 4-8; Gaeltacht ‘B’ 0-5.

Rd. 2 on Sun. 1st June at Tarbert: Tarbert ‘B’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’ by 2 points.

Semi-final on Tues. 29th July at Annascaul: Laune Rangers ‘B’ defeated Gaeltacht ‘B’.

 

Final on Sat. 2nd Aug. at Blennerville: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 6-9; Tarbert ‘B’ 2-5.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Niall Looney, Muiris Crowley, Gavin West, Daryl Corkery, Paul O Connor, Maurice Foley, Karl McCarthy, David O Sullivan (capt.), Francis Russell, Christopher Houlihan, Sean Kirschoffer, Denis Russell, Andrew Tattershall, Tim O Regan, Keith O Connor. Subs: Eoin McMahon, Sean Galvin, Jerry Coffey, Damien O Neill and Anthony Twiss.

 

Co. Féile Peil na nOg Championship (U-14 Football)

Rd. 1 on Sat. 5th April: Laune Rangers defeated Kerins O Rahillys

Rd. 2 on Mon. 7th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers beat Kenmare.

Semi-final on Wed. 23rd April at Killarney: Laune Rangers 7-15; Gneeveguilla 2-1.

Final on Sat. 3rd May at Castleisland: Laune Rangers 4-12; Austin Stacks 0-6.

Laune Rangers earned the honour of representing Kerry at the Féile finals in Donegal at the end of June. Their victory was most convincing. Two goals in each half and well-taken points, a superb outfield partnership of Ross Sheehan and Seamie Foley, Darren O Riordan at centre-back and Sean Evans at fullback ensured them of victory. Jonathan McCarthy, James Hayes, David Coffey and Michael Doyle took their scores with style. They led by 2-8 to 0-3 at halftime.

Laune Rangers: Eoin Clifford, Muiris Crowley, Sean Evans, Alan Murphy, Aidan Lynch, Darren O Riordan, Mark Healy, Seamie Foley, Ross Sheehan, Dermot Houlihan, Michael Doyle, David Coffey, James Hayes, Jonathan McCarthy, Colin O Connor.

 

The team was scheduled to depart for Donegal on Thurs 26th June. Sponsors had donated jerseys, togs, socks and kit-bags. Unfortunately, there was an outbreak of meningitis in the Kilgobnet area and Beaufort withdrew all its juvenile teams from training and competitions. A phone-call by a bad-minded person from the Beaufort area to Donegal informed the host club there that players from Laune Rangers might have been in contact with players from Kilgobnet (That was hardly likely, as the secondary schools had been on holidays for over a fortnight at that stage). When the National Committee was informed of such a likelihood, Laune Rangers were excluded from the competition to the great disappointment of the players and officials alike. In fairness to the Beaufort Club, its officers apologised sincerely for the actions of the Beaufort person, who had made the phone-call.

Austin Stacks had replaced Laune Rangers in Donegal and were defeated by Ballinderry Shamrocks in the semi-final.

 

Mid-Kerry U-14 Football Championship

As there had been a ‘B’ competition earlier in the year, to which Laune Rangers ‘B’ team had been invited, but from which Laune Rangers ‘A’ had been excluded, the ‘A’ competition was played on a knock-out system. Laune Rangers were given a bye to the semi-final.

Semi-final on Sat. 20th Sept: Laune Rangers 2-6; Beaufort 0-5.

 

Final on Sun. 19th Oct. at Milltown: Laune Rangers 5-17; Cromane 0-5.

That game, played in bright but breezy conditions, commenced with Cromane playing with the aid of the wind. The first fifteen minutes were close and keen but thereafter Rangers began to notch up a steady stream of scores and led at halftime by 4-4 to 0-4. The remarkable feature of the second half was the ability of Laune Rangers’ players Dermot Houilhan, Michael Doyle, Seamie Foley and Ross Sheehan to kick points from 30m out. Once again, Aidan Lynch proved one of the team’s most consistent defenders at wing-back. James Hayes, Alan Murphy and Darren Riordan also defended outstandingly. As the game went on, Jonathan McCarthy came more and more into the game and finished with a personal tally of 2-2. After the game, the trophy was presented to the ‘non-playing’ captain, Sean Evans, who was too ill to play.

Laune Rangers – 1997 Mid-Kerry U-14 Football Champions Front: Dermot Houlihan, Karl McCarthy, Muiris Crowley, David Coffey, Alan Murphy, Peter Slattery, Darren O Riordan, Michael Doyle, Keith O Connor, David O Sullivan, Mark Healy, Simon Champ (Sponsor’s son), Paul O Connor. Back: Eric Champ (Super-valu, Sponsor), Jerry Foley (Selector), Aidan Lynch, Colin O Connor, James Hayes, Cathal Foley, Shane Clifford, Ross Sheehan, Seamus Foley, Francis Russell, Jonathan McCarthy, Caoilte Gallagher, Sean Evans (capt.), Patsy Joy (Selector), Pat Pigott (Trainer).

Laune Rangers – 1997 Mid-Kerry U-14 Football Champions
Front: Dermot Houlihan, Karl McCarthy, Muiris Crowley, David Coffey, Alan Murphy, Peter Slattery, Darren O Riordan, Michael Doyle, Keith O Connor, David O Sullivan, Mark Healy, Simon Champ (Sponsor’s son), Paul O Connor.
Back: Eric Champ (Super-valu, Sponsor), Jerry Foley (Selector), Aidan Lynch, Colin O Connor, James Hayes, Cathal Foley, Shane Clifford, Ross Sheehan, Seamus Foley, Francis Russell, Jonathan McCarthy, Caoilte Gallagher, Sean Evans (capt.), Patsy Joy (Selector), Pat Pigott (Trainer).

Sean Evans received the Mid-Kerry U-14 Championship Trophy from Michael Murphy (Chairman Mid-Kerry Bord na nOg)

Sean Evans received the Mid-Kerry U-14 Championship Trophy from Michael Murphy (Chairman Mid-Kerry Bord na nOg)

 

Tralee District Board U-14A Football Championship

 

Rd. 1 on Wed. 11th June at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers defeated Desmonds.

Rd. 2 on Wed. 18th June at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys Laune Rangers.

Rd. 3 on Wed. 25th June at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks Laune Rangers.

Final on Sun. 3rd Aug. at Strand Road: Laune Rangers drew with Austin Stack.

Laune Rangers had a close call in that final and had to score two goals and a point in the last seven minutes to secure a draw.

 

Final replay on Sun. 17th Aug. at John Mitchels: Laune Rangers 1-14; Austin Stacks 2-7.

The two premier nurseries of underage football in Kerry, Laune Rangers and Austin Stacks, entertained a sizeable crowd with a thrilling game of football in that replay. Rangers, who looked the stronger side all through, emerged victorious by a four-point margin. At halftime, when they led by eight points (1-9 to 1-1), it looked as if they might win in a canter, but the Tralee side fought back tenaciously in the second half.

Rangers began in great style and had three points on the score-board in as many minutes, from Colin O Connor (2) and Ross Sheehan. It took all of 14 minutes before Stacks registered their first score, a great goal by Kevin Walsh. A minute later, Stacks took the lead with an Alan Sheehan point, but between then and halftime it was all Rangers, scoring a goal and six points without reply, their goal coming two minutes before the break by wing-forward, David Coffey.

Stacks introduced John Carmody at corner-forward at the start of the second half and he made a huge difference to their cause. Within three minutes, he had a hand in all three points scored by Martin Courtney and Keith Greensmith (2). However, Rangers took the initiative again and added four points – Colin O Connor (2), Ross Sheehan and Jonathan McCarthy – to increase their lead to nine points after 40 minutes. Stacks refused to throw in the towel. Kevin Walsh had two points before Stacks’ David O Connor had the score of the evening, when he rattled the net from an almost impossible angle to leave a four-point margin between the sides at the end of the third quarter. In terms of scoring, the last quarter only produced a point each to either side – Kevin Walsh for Stacks and Seamie Foley for Rangers – but both defences during that period played superbly.

As well as those already mentioned, others to play well on the night for Rangers included goalkeeper Shane Clifford, who brought off one outstanding save, fullback Sean Evans, Aidan Lynch Mark Healy and, up front, Francis Russell and James Hayes who, Although still hampered somewhat by an injury, scored two lovely first-half points. After the game, the Chairman of Tralee Town Board, Jimmy Foley, presented the trophy to Rangers’ captain, Dermot Houlihan, who played a captain’s part throughout.

Laune Rangers: Shane Clifford, Muiris Crowley, Sean Evans, Aidan Lynch, Mark Healy, Darren Riordan, Dermot Houlihan (capt.), Seamie Foley (0-1), Ross Sheehan (0-4, 2 frees), David Coffey (1-0), Michael Doyle (0-1), Colin O Connor (0-5, 3 frees), James Hayes (0-2), Jonathan McCarthy (0-1), Francis Russell. Sub: David O Sullivan for D. Coffey.

Ref: Michael O Connor (John Mitchels).

 

Tralee District Board U-14B Football Championship

 

Rd. 1 on Wed. 11th June at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ defeated John Mitchels ‘B’ by 2 points.

Wed. 2nd July in Churchill: Churchill ‘A’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’ by one point.

Laune Rangers ‘B’: Niall Looney, Andrew Tattershall, Daryl Corkery, Eoin McMahon, Paul O Connor, David O Sullivan, Sean Kirschoffer, Francis Russell, Denis Russell, David Coffey, Peter Slattery, Karl McCarthy, Sean Galvin, Tim O Regan, Keith O Connor. Subs: Maurice Foley, Jeremiah Coffey, Damien O Neill (all played).

 

Semi-final on Mon. 28th July at J.P. O Sullivan Park: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 3-10; Ballymac ‘A’ 2-11.

 

U-14 Football Challenge Game

 

Challenge on Wed. 12th April at Killorglin: Laune Rangers ‘B’ 2-9; Listry 2-7.

Scorers for Laune Rangers were Peter Slattery (1-3), Niall Looney (0-3), Tim O Regan (0-1), Paul O Connor (0-1), Niall O Mahony (1-1).

 

Fri. 25th July – Sun. 27th July – Guests of Round Towers Club in Clondalkin, Dublin.

The well-planned itinerary included football game, ice-skating, ten-pin bowling, snooker and meals. That was an effort to compensate for the disappointment of being prevented from travelling to Donegal for Féile Peile na nOg.

 

Co. U-13 Football Championship

That competition was played on a knock-out system.

 

Rd. 1: Laune Rangers defeated Gneeveguilla.

Rd.  2 on Sat. 25th Oct. at Killarney: Dr. Crokes lost to Laune Rangers.

Rd. 3 at Killorglin: Laune Rangers defeated Na Gaeil.

Semi-final on Sun. 30th Nov. at Ballyrickard: Kerins O Rahillys defeated Laune Rangers.

 

 Co. U-12 Football Championship

Trainer/Coach – Eddie Birmingham. Selectors – James Ferris and Jerry Houlihan. The team was sponsored by Kingprint. The team commenced training in the Sports Complex on Sun. 16th March – each player had to contribute 50p towards the cost of the hall. The first three sessions were conducted indoors.

Preliminary Rounds (Group 4)

Rd. 1 on Sun. 27th April: Laune Rangers 2-10; Milltown/Castlemaine 4-4.

Rd. 2 on Sun. 4th May: Laune Rangers 2-9; Gneeveguilla 2-6.

Rd. 3 on Sun. 25th May at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 4-14; Ballydonoghue 0-2.

Having been undefeated in the preliminary rounds, Laune Rangers were put into Division for the actual Championship

Rd. 1 on Sun. 8th June at Ballyduff: Ballyduff 1-14; Laune Rangers 0-3.

Rd. 2: Laune Rangers Na Gaeil.

Mon. 30th June: Laune Rangers beat Rathmore convincingly.

Co. Bord na nOg had decided not to have any final at that age-group. Ballyduff finished in 1st place, Austin Stacks in 2nd place and Laune Rangers in 3rd place.

 

Mid-Kerry U-12A Football Championship

As there had been a ‘B’ competition earlier in the year, to which Laune Rangers ‘B’ had been invited, but from which Laune Rangers ‘A’ had been excluded, the ‘A’ competition was played on a knock-out system. Laune Rangers were given a bye to the semi-final.

Semi-Final on Sun. 21st Sept. at Cromane: Glenbeigh 6-7; Laune Rangers 3-9.

 

Tralee District Board U-12A Football Championship

 Rd. 1 on Sun. 14th Sept. at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks 5-12; Laune Rangers 1-4.

Rd. 2 on Sun. 12th Oct. at Killorglin: Laune Rangers 0-5; Kerins O Rahillys 4-4.

Rd. 3 on Sun. 26th Oct. in Killeen: Na Gaeil drew with Laune Rangers.

Semi-final on Sun. 9th Nov. at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys defeated Laune Rangers.

 

Tralee District Board U-12B Championship

Trainer/Selector – Jerry Houlihan. Selectors – James Riordan and Patsy Joy. The team was sponsored by Flynn’s Bus Hire.

Rd. 1 on Sun. 14th Sept. at Connolly Park: Austin Stacks ‘B’ 3-16; Laune Rangers ‘B’ 1-2.

Rd. 2 on Sun. 12th Oct. at Killorglin: Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’.

Rd. 3 on Sun. 26th Oct. in Killeen: Laune Rangers ‘B’ defeated Na Gaeil ‘B’.

Semi-final on Sun. 9th Nov. at Strand Road: Kerins O Rahillys ‘B’ defeated Laune Rangers ‘B’.

 

U-12 Football Challenge Game

 

Sat. 29th March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers v Bantry Blues.

 

U-10 and U-8 Football

Trainers – Willie Fitzgerald, Iraneus Looney, Pat O Brien and Eamonn Carey. The parish-league was sponsored by Brendan Breen, Langford Street.

 

U-10 & U-8 Challenge Games on Sat. 29th March at Killorglin: Laune Rangers v Bantry Blues.

Mid-Kerry Blitz on Sat. 7th June at Milltown – Laune Rangers fielded two teams and the ‘A’ team was defeated by Keel in the final.

 

Schools’/Colleges’ Football

 

Mid-Kerry Primary Schools Championship

Schools were divided into groups based on the number of teachers in the schools. Douglas N.S. played in the 3-teacher, 9-a-side competition, and Glounaguillagh played in the 4-teacher, 11-a-side competition. In the 4-teacher 15-a-side competition, Scoil Mhuire entered two equal teams and were pitted against Cullina (Beaufort) and Milltown Monastery.

 

Rd. 1 on Fri. 9th May: Scoil Mhuire ‘A’ 5-19; Milltown Monastery 2-9.

Scoil Mhuire ‘B’ 5-23; Cullina 0-0.

Rd. 2 on Fri. 16th May: Scoil Mhuire ‘B’ 4-16; Milltown Monastery 0-3.

Cullina Scoil Mhuire ‘A’.

 

Finals in Milltown on Sun. 22nd June:

Final 3-teacher, 9-a-side: Cromane 4-7; Douglas 3-10 (AET).

Just before the interval, Douglas got their first goal from Anthony Houlihan, but Cromane led by 3-3 to 1-4. Douglas came more into the game in the second half, scoring some nice points to reduce the arrears. Amid great excitement, John Houlihan scored the equalising goal for Douglas to leave the sides level at fulltime. Garry Flynn scored a fine goal in the second half of extra time to level the scores once again and the sides had to meet again.

Douglas: Vincent Costello (goals), Laurence O Connor, Gearoid O Callaghan, Raymond Dunlea, John Houlihan (capt.), Paul O Sullivan, Anthony Houlihan, Garry Flynn, Caroline Healy. Subs: Fergal O Riordan, James Foley, Joseph Houlihan, Ian Costello, Andrew Griffin, Amy Houlihan, Sharon Costello, Gráinne O Callaghan and Daniel Tuohy.

Ref: John Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).

 

Semi-final 4-teacher, 11-a-side: Castledrum 2-9; Glounaguillagh 1-11.

Glounaguillagh went into an early lead and were on top in the first half to lead by 0-7 to 0-5 at the break – Maurice Foley scoring six points. Castledrum started the second half strongly, scoring two goals from James Long and Aaron Cahillane. Caragh Lake were awarded a close-in free and Maurice Foley netted. However, the Keel boys scored the winner per James Long.

Glounaguillagh: Aaron O Connor, Brendan Ahern, Daryl Corkery, Michael Ledwith, Michael Quirke, Alan Murphy, Kevin Kelliher, Anto Francis, Maurice Foley, Enda O Shea, Killian Cotter Shihade. Subs: Jonathan Brown, Jerry Mulvihill, Keith O Sullivan, Janet Lynch and Marie Griffin.

Ref: Brendan Twiss (Milltown/Castlemaine).

 

Final 4-teacher, 15-a-side: Scoil Mhuire ‘A’ 3-11; Scoil Mhuire ‘B’ 1-9.

A goal in the first half by Shane Clifford put Scoil Mhuire ‘B’ in a comfortable position and they dominated the latter stages of the first half to lead at the interval by 1-8 to 0-5. A goal early in the second half by Michael Doyle put the winners further ahead. Scoil Mhuire ‘A’ hit back strongly and a goal by Aidan O Sullivan gave them hope. Shane Clifford put the issue beyond doubt with his second goal to leave the ‘B’ team worthy winners.

Scoil Mhuire ‘A’: Shane Clifford (capt.), Gary O Donoghue, Edward Looney, Alan Tobin, Damien O Neill, Barry Woods, Kieran Crowley, Michael Doyle, Charles Johnston, Darragh O Shea, Jeremiah Coffey, Jeremiah Foley, David O Sullivan, Davin Foley, Colin O Sullivan, Michael O Leary. Subs: Garry Cahillane, Sean Galvin and Kevin Walker.

Scoil Mhuire ‘B’: Colin O Connor (capt.), Sylvie O Shea, Eoin O Mahony, Jody O Riordan, Paul O Connor, Carl McCarthy, Tomás Curran, Andrew Tattershall, Jonathan Carey, Trevor West, Graham Dunlea, Kevin Sheehan, Aidan O Sullivan, Marcus Leahy, John Laurence McGillycuddy. Subs: Donal O Sullivan, Dáire Clifford, Anthony Twiss and Michael Daly.

Ref: Michael Murphy (Milltown/Castlemaine).

 

Shane Clifford played in goals for the Kerry Primary Schools’ team and Colin O Connor at wing-forward. The team was managed by Jackie Walsh (Ballylongford) and Jerome Conway (Laune Rangers).

 

Co. Cumann na mBunscol Girls’ Div. 1 Football

Scoil Mhuire won the Div. 1 title.

Scoil Mhuire (panel): Mary Cronin, Rachel Ahern, Sharon Ahern, Brid Joy, Tammy Murphy (capt.), Ciara O Grady, Jade O Connor, Sheila Cronin, Sarah Woods, Claire Coyle, Sorcha Gallagher, Tracy Flaherty, Amy Bennett, Karen McGillycuddy, Gillian Ahern, Siobhan McSweeney, Andrea Gannon, Laura Cahillane, Nicola O Connor, Grainne O Shea, Caroline O Connor. Coach – Jerome Conway.

 

Scoil Mhuire – 1997 Co. Schools Girls Div. 1 Football Champions Front: Mary Cronin, Rachel Ahern, Bríd Joy, Tammy Murphy (capt.), Ciara O Grady, Jade O Connor, Sheila Cronin, Sarah Woods. Back: Tim Spillane (Folen’s, Sponsor), Sorcha Gallagher, Tracy Flaherty, Amy Bennett, Karen McGillycuddy, Gillian Ahern, Andrea Gannon, Laura Cahillane, Nicola O Connor, Grainne O Shea, Caroline O Connor, Jerome Conway (Trainer). Missing: Sharon Ahern, Claire Coyle, Siobhán McSweeney.

Scoil Mhuire – 1997 Co. Schools Girls Div. 1 Football Champions
Front: Mary Cronin, Rachel Ahern, Bríd Joy, Tammy Murphy (capt.), Ciara O Grady, Jade O Connor, Sheila Cronin, Sarah Woods.
Back: Tim Spillane (Folen’s, Sponsor), Sorcha Gallagher, Tracy Flaherty, Amy Bennett, Karen McGillycuddy, Gillian Ahern, Andrea Gannon, Laura Cahillane, Nicola O Connor, Grainne O Shea, Caroline O Connor, Jerome Conway (Trainer). Missing: Sharon Ahern, Claire Coyle, Siobhán McSweeney.

Munster Colleges’ Senior Football Championship (Corn Uí Mhuirí)

Rd. 1 on Wed. 22nd Oct. at Austin Stack Park: St. Brendan’s 3-7; Intermediate School 0-8.

Intermediate School: Colm Counihan (Dr. Crokes), Jeremiah Doyle (Beaufort), Tom Crowley (Laune Rangers), Cian Evans (do.), Shane Myers 0-1, John Mannix (Listry), Eoin Clifford (Laune Rangers) 0-1, Morgan Foley (do.), Kenneth O Connor (Glenbeigh/Glencar) 0-1, Killian Lynch, John Ahern (Laune Rangers) 0-1, Geoffrey O Mahony (do.) 0-1, Donal O Shea, Michael McGillycuddy (Laune Rangers) 0-2, Barry O Sullivan (do.) 0-1. Subs: Thomas Walsh for J. Doyle, Brian Healy (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for D. O Shea, Harry Bawden (Laune Rangers) for K. Lynch.

 

All-Ireland Post-Primary Schools’ Girls’ Junior Football Championship

Final: Intermediate School St. Louis, Monaghan.

Intermediate School: Nuala Hoare, Jo Sugrue, Michelle Hoare, Kerry Lyons, Jenny Johnston, Susan Joy, Grainne O Malley, Amanda Ryan, Bernie Breen, Stephanie Corkery, Ann Marie O Donoghue, Patrice Dennehy, Emma Woods, Caroline Breen (capt.), Helena Falvey. Subs: Niamh O Reilly, Kathleen O Neill, Maura Griffin, Breda O Brien, Maeve Burns, Shauna Breen, Oonagh O Grady, Helen Curatyne, Lucy Curtayne, Aoibhean Schaeffer, Naomi Soffer, Helena Scannell, Lisa O Connor, Patrice Clifford, Cara O Connor, Michelle Foley, Jill O Connor, Aine Knightley, Catherine Foley, Christine Johnston, Ann Marie Tyther.

 

Munster Minor Football Championship

Coach/Selector – Charlie Nelligan. Selectors – Sean Walsh (Moyvane), Mikey Sheehy (Austin Stacks), Derry Crowley (Glenflesk), Junior Murphy (St. Mary’s).

 

Semi-final on Wed. 9th July at Austin Stack Park: Kerry defeated Cork.

Kerry: Niall Hobbert (Kerins O Rahillys), Stephen O Sullivan (Skellig Rangers), Trevor McKenna (Finuge), Niall Corbett (Firies), Martin Beckett (Dr. Crokes), Sean Hegarty (Legion), Paul McCarthy (Kilcummin) capt., Mícheál O Shea (Castlegregory), John Sugrue (Renard), William Harmon (Milltown/Castlemaine), Noel Kennelly (Emmett’s), Tadhg Kennelly (do.), Paul Galvin (Finuge), Bernard O Connor (St. Mary’s), Kevin Lynch (Desmonds). Subs: Ronan O Connor (Ballyduff), Ogie Horgan (Beale), Jimmy Doyle (Beaufort), John Moroney (Ballylongford), Liam Boyle (Ballyduff), John Golden (St. Mary’s), Liam Higgins (Dingle), Alan Lynch (Castlegregory), Kieran Foley (Keel), John Moriarty (Laune Rangers).

 

Munster U-21 Football Championship

Trainer – Páidí Ó Sé, Coach – Séamus Mac Gearailt, Selectors – Tom O Connor, Jack O Connor, Bernie O Callaghan.

 

Rd. 1 on Sat. 29th March at Listowel: Kerry 4-16; Limerick 0-5.

Kerry: David Moloney (Dr. Crokes), Kieran O Driscoll (Annascaul), Barry O Shea (Kerins O Rahillys), Sean O Mahony (Castlegregory) capt, Tomás Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Eamonn Fitzmaurice (Finuge), John Sheehan (Laune Rangers), Denis O Dwyer (Waterville) 1-1, Mike Burke (Milltown/Castlemaine) 0-1, Pa O Sullivan (Laune Rangers) 0-3, Kieran O Sullivan (Dromid) 0-3, James Fleming (Dr. Crokes) 1-2, Breandán Hannifin (Lispole) 1-1, James O Shea (Foilmore) 0-2, Mike Frank Russell (Laune Rangers) 0-3. Subs: Aodán Mac Gearailt (Gaeltacht) 1-0 for J. O Shea, Marcus Kelliher (St. Senan’s) for B. O Shea, Liam Brosnan (Currow) for MF Russell.

 

Semi-final on Wed. 2nd April: Kerry 1-17; Clare 0-8.

Kerry: David Moloney, Kieran O Driscoll, Barry O Shea, Sean O Mahony, Tomás Ó Sé, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, John Sheehan, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Mike Burke, Pa O Sullivan (0-6), Kieran O Sullivan (0-4), James Fleming (1-0), Breandán Hannifin, James O Shea (0-1), Mike F. Russell (0-4). Subs: Liam Brosnan (0-1) for M. Burke, Tommy Griffin (Dingle) for D. O Dwyer, Aodan Mac Gearailt for J. O Shea.

 

Final on Wed. 16th April at Austin Stack Park: Kerry 2-11; Cork 3-8.

Kerry: David Moloney, Kieran O Driscoll, Barry O Shea, Sean O Mahony (capt.), Eamonn Fitzmaurice, John Sheehan, Tomás Ó Sé, Tommy Griffin, Denis O Dwyer, James Fleming, Pa O Sullivan (1-3, 2 frees), Mike F. Russell (0-4, 3 frees), Breandán Hannifin (0-1), Kieran O Sullivan (0-1), James O Shea (0-2). Subs: Liam Brosnan (1-0) for T. Griffin, Aodan Mac Gearailt for B. Hannifin, Mike Burke for J. Fleming, Kenneth Leen (Austin Stacks), John Maguire (Currow), Austin Constable (St. Mary’s), Marcus Kelliher, Jerry Lynch (Austin Stacks), Mossie Mulvihill (Moyvane).

 

Final replay on Tues. 22nd April at Páirc Uí Rinn: Cork 1-7; Kerry 0-12.

“Kerry were in the ascendancy at this point (44th minute) and, with Seán Og Ó hAilpín finding it increasingly difficult to curb Pa O Sullivan, Cork looked in trouble.” “Trojan defending by Kieran O Driscoll, Barry O Shea and John Sheehan kept Cork at bay.”

Kerry: David Moloney, Kieran O Driscoll, Barry O Shea, John Sheehan, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Tomás Ó Sé, Sean O Mahony, Kenneth Dillon (Desmonds), Denis O Dwyer, Liam Brosnan (0-3), Pa O Sullivan (0-4, frees), Michael Francis Russell (0-1), Breandán Hannifin, Kieran O Sullivan (0-1), James O Shea (0-2). Sub: Noel Kennelly (Emmett’s) 0-1 for B. Hannifin, Tommy Griffin, James Fleming, Mike Burke, Aodán Mac Gearailt, Kenneth Leen, Austin Constable, Mossy Mulvihill, Noel Kennelly, Fionán Kelliher.

 

Semi-final on Sat. 26th April at Nenagh: Meath 0-14; Kerry 0-13.

Kerry: David Moloney, Kieran O Driscoll, Barry O Shea, John Sheehan, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, Tomás Ó Sé, Sean O Mahony, Kenneth Dillon, Denis O Dwyer, Liam Brosnan, Pa O Sullivan (0-8), Mike F. Russell (0-2), Breandán Hannifin, Kieran O Sullivan (0-1), James O Shea (0-2). Subs: Mike Burke for K. Dillon, Noel Kennelly for B. Hannifin.

 

Munster/All-Ireland Senior Football Championship

Trainer – Páidí Ó Sé; Coach – Séamus Mac Gearailt; Selectors – Tom O Connor (Kenmare), Jack O Connor (Dromid) and Bernie O Callaghan (Beale).

 

Semi-final on Sun. 29th June at Tralee: Kerry 2-12; Tipperary 1-10.

Liam Hassett, on the ‘40’, had a steadying influence when things began to look shaky in the second half and he gave the centre halfback a trying time of it over the 70 minutes.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Seamus Moynihan, Barry O Shea, Morgan O Shea, Killian Burns (0-1), Liam Flaherty, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé (0-1), William Kirby, Pa Laide, Liam Hassett (capt.) 0-2, Denis O Dwyer (1-0), John Brennan, Dara Ó Cinnéide, Maurice Fitzgerald (0-7, 5 frees). Subs: John Crowley (1-1) for D. Ó Cinnéide, Mike F. Russell for J. Brennan, Donal Daly for W. Kirby.

 

Final on Sun. 20th July at Limerick: Kerry 1-13; Clare 0-11.

Liam Hassett grafted for all he was worth but things did not seem to go right for him and – an all too rare experience for him – he failed to get among the scorers. Mike Frank Russell came on for Brian Clarke and kicked a wonderful point in the 64th minute. Mike Hassett had a leg injury coming into the game and, though it was strapped, he was forced to retire from the game near the end.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Mike Hassett (capt.), Barry O Shea, Killian Burns, Seamus Moynihan, Liam Flaherty, Eamonn Breen, William Kirby, Dara Ó Sé, Pa Laide (1-2), Liam Hassett, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-2), Brian Clarke (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-5, 2 frees and one 45). Subs: Mike Frank Russell (0-1) for B. Clarke, John Crowley (0-1) for D. O Dwyer, Billy O Shea for M. Hassett, Donal Daly, Sean Burke, Peter O Leary, Stephen Stack, Ruairí O Rahilly, John Brennan..

 

Mike Hassett, 1997 Kerry Captain, lifts the Munster Senior Football Championship Cup aloft.

Mike Hassett, 1997 Kerry Captain, lifts the Munster Senior Football Championship Cup aloft.

Semi-final on Sun. 24th Aug. at Croke Park: Kerry 1-17; Cavan 1-10.

Billy O Shea proved something of a revelation when introduced late in the first half for the injured Denis O Dwyer and he fired over a few great scores in the second half. Mike Frank Russell gave a capital performance when he came on and his goal was still talked about years after. Maurice Fitzgerald, majestic as ever, plucked the ball out of the air and, pressing forward, punted a pin-point delivery in the path of Russell. The Killorglin man grabbed it out on the left of the goal, slipped to his right to avoid the challenge of the corner-back and, picking his spot with the aim of a gunner, he rifled the ball low into the left corner of the net. It was a classic goal, which once again demonstrated the silken skills of the young Laune Rangers stalwart. It was one thing to have had a reputation for manufacturing fine scores, but to have been able to do it in the searing heat of an All-Ireland semi-final was surely the hallmark of greatness. Mike Hassett was still troubled with the leg injury and unable to take any part in the game.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Sean Burke, Barry O Shea, Stephen Stack, Seamus Moynihan, Liam Flaherty, Eamonn Breen (0-1), William Kirby, Dara Ó Sé (0-1), Pa Laide (0-1), Liam Hassett (capt.) 0-1, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-1), Brian Clarke (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-7, 3 frees). Subs: Billy O Shea (0-2) for D. O Dwyer, Morgan O Shea for S. Burke, Mike F. Russell (1-1) for B. Clarke, Donal Daly, Ruairí O Rahilly, Peter O Leary, John Brennan, Fintan Ashe, Killian Burns..

 

Final on Sun. 28th Sept. at Croke Park: Kerry 0-13; Mayo 1-7.

Kerry had won the All-Ireland crown after a ‘famine’ of 11 years. Perhaps the captaincy affected Liam Hassett’s overall performance, as some of his kicking was inaccurate. Nevertheless, he worked tirelessly throughout and was rewarded with the honour of accepting Sam. Billy O Shea began very sprightly and looked as if he was going to have the game of his life. He had a hand in Kerry’s first two points, setting up Pa Laide for the first score and he then won a free which Maurice Fitzgerald pointed. However, just on 16 minutes he went down to pick up the ball and Fitzgerald came across him and accidentally kicked him in the act of kicking the ball. Billy suffered a compound fracture to his leg and had to be removed to hospital. Fitzgerald, distraught with what had happened went immediately to console his colleague on the ground but Billy told him, ‘Forget how this has happened and go and do it for me, will ya?’ Indeed, Maurice Fitzgerald went on to play the game of his life, kicking nine points, some of them from unbelievable angles and distances. Mike Frank Russell was on the field for just nine minutes and won some valuable possession during that time. Sadly, though listed as number 16, Mike Hassett, having captained the team to the NFL success and Munster Championship titles earlier in the year and had lost his place because of injury prior to the All-Ireland semi-final, was not considered worthy of a place even in the dying minutes of the game.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Killian Burns, Barry O Shea, Stephen Stack, Seamus Moynihan, Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé (0-1), William Kirby, Pa Laide (0-2), Liam Hassett (capt.), Denis O Dwyer, Billy O Shea, Dara Ó Cinnéide, Maurice Fitzgerald (0-9, 6 frees). Subs: John Crowley (0-1) for B. O Shea (inj.), Donal Daly for W. Kirby, Mike F. Russell for D. Ó Cinnéide, Mike Hassett, Brian Clarke, Peter O Leary, Sean Burke, Morgan O Shea, Tomás Ó Sé.

History was made on Tues. 30th September when Liam Hassett brought the Sam Maguire Cup across the bridge into the Square in Killorglin. He was the first Laune Rangers’ player to captain an All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winning team. And every man, woman and child in the massive gathering to greet Liam and the Kerry team trainer, coach, selectors and executive, knew that history had been made and they wanted to be part of it. As the open-topped truck left the Fishery, a massive crowd had already assembled. Bonfires blazed and horns sounded as the victorious team was led into the town. The Hassett brothers and young Mike F. Russell climbed on top of the cab of the truck and between them held the Sam Maguire high over their heads for all to see. As they reached the platform at the top of the Square, they were faced with a sea of green and gold with the 3,000-strong crowd that had assembled to welcome the team home. Not even De Valera or King Puck witnessed such a mass of people as was in the Square when the members of the team were introduced.

They were welcomed onto the platform by MC for the evening, James Coffey. ‘This is easily the proudest night of my life’, he said. ‘I said in 1989 that I would die happy when we got the Bishop Moynihan Cup. Tonight, we have the Sam Maguire – I am ready to go.’ Laune Rangers’ Chairman, John Clifford, said the night was the proudest one in the club’s history. Kerry Co. Board Chairman, Sean Kelly, paid tribute to the Laune Rangers players who helped Kerry win the All-Ireland. ‘We have been through some lean years and there has been a lot of stick given, but we are back,’ he said.

As each member of the team was introduced on stage, there were screams that almost broke the sound barrier. The crowd gave a tumultuous applause to each individual member of the team. The loudest screams of the evening went to goalkeeper Declan O Keeffe, Liam O Flaherty from Ballydonoghue, Killian Burns from Sneem, the Hassett brothers and Mike Frank Russell. But the biggest cheer of the evening was saved for Páidí Ó Sé. ‘It is always great to come home to your home town with a trophy. I know from my own experience when I was captain, bringing the cup back to my own club was a great thing,’ said Páidí. ‘The Laune Rangers Club has played a big part in winning this All-Ireland. The club has been a major player in GAA circles in Kerry. It was great to see Laune Rangers’ players playing so well in Croke Park on Sunday.’

Facing the massive crowd of supporters, the golden boy of Kerry football, Michael Francis Russell, took the stage to thank everyone. ‘People of Killorglin, we love you. People of Kerry, we love you,’ he said emphatically.

Captain Liam Hassett said it was a great honour for him to bring Sam back to Killorglin. ‘We will celebrate like hell on a night like this. Getting off the plane in Farranfore was an unbelievable feeling for us all. Lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in front of so many people was the best experience of my life,’ he said. His brother, Mike, said, despite not playing in the game, it was still the proudest day of his life to see his brother lift the Sam Maguire at the end of the game. ‘He did not want to accept it himself. He wanted me to accept it. It goes to show that blood is thicker than water,’ he said.

With that, the cup was raised once more before being brought on a tour of hostelries round the town – the first stop being Clifford’s Tavern, run by Adrian Hassett. It was indeed a wonderful sight with the celebrations going well into the early hours. There was no rest for Liam, brother, Michael, and Michael F. Russell as the visits to the schools in the parish commenced early on Wednesday morning and continued right through to Thursday afternoon.

Unfortunately, even though history had been made and three Laune Rangers players had won All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals, the whole matter did not have a silver lining. Due to a Kerry Co. Board bye-law, which insisted that only 21 medals were given, Mike Hassett was denied one. That caused great consternation and anger in Laune Rangers circles, because if any player deserved a medal, Mike Hassett deserved one. When that glaring injustice became evident, both players withdrew their services from the county team.

 

That was Kerry’s 31st All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title.

Liam Hassett, 1997 Kerry Captain, holds the Sam Maguire Cup aloft

Liam Hassett, 1997 Kerry Captain, holds the Sam Maguire Cup aloft

 

NFL (1996/’97)

 

Rd. 4 on Sun. 2nd Feb. at Killarney: Kerry 1-17; Tyrone 1-8.

Mike Hassett opened rather indifferently but he soon warmed to his task and was always a thorn in the side of the losers’ forwards.

Kerry: Peter O Leary, Mike Hassett, Barry O Shea, Morgan O Shea (0-1), Seamus Moynihan, Joe Daly, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Donal Daly (0-1), William Kirby (0-1), James O Shea (1-1), John Crowley (0-1), Pa Laide (0-1), John Cronin, Maurice Fitzgerald( 0-7, 3 frees), Geni Farrell (0-2). Subs: Ruairí O Rahilly (0-1) for J. Cronin, Sean O Mahony for E. Breen, Brian McCarthy, Brian Clarke, Declan O Keeffe, John Brennan, JJ Corduff.

 

Rd. 5 on Sun. 16th Feb. at Kingscourt: Cavan 0-8; Kerry 0-10.

The Laune Rangers’ players were excused because of their involvement in the All-Ireland Club Championship Semi-final versus Crossmaglen.

 

Rd. 6 on Sun. 2nd March in Tralee: Kerry 0-9; Cork 0-7.

Kerry: Peter O Leary, Mike Hassett, Barry O Shea, Morgan O Shea, Seamus Moynihan, Liam Flaherty, Fergal Ó Sé, William Kirby, Donal Daly, Pa Laide, Dara Ó Cinnéide, Denis O Dwyer (0-1), Brian Clarke (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-4, frees), Geni Farrell (0-2). Subs: Dara Ó Sé for D. Daly, John Brennan (0-1) for D. O Dwyer.

 

Quarter-final on Sun. 6th April at Croke Park: Kerry 1-18; Down 0-10.

Mike Hassett excelled in the fullback line. Liam Hassett was slow to settle but he turned in a very workmanlike performance on the ‘40’ nonetheless.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Mike Hassett (capt.), Barry O Shea, Morgan O Shea, Seamus Moynihan, Liam Flaherty, Killian Burns (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, William Kirby (0-3), Pa Laide (1-2), Liam Hassett, Denis O Dwyer, Geni Farrell (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-2), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-9, 5 frees and 2 45’s). Subs: John Crowley for G. Farrell, Brian Clarke for D. Ó Cinnéide, Donal Daly, Ruairí O Rahilly, Fergal ó Sé, Joe Daly, James O Shea, Billy O Shea.

 

Semi-final on Sun. 20th April at Croke Park: Kerry 2-13; Laois 1-10.

Liam Hassett scored three points at a vital stage of the game and he played a very good game on the ‘40’. The introduction of Mike Frank Russell had an immediate effect – he was flattened on his first run towards goal and Maurice Fitzgerald killed off the game when he slotted home from the penalty spot.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Mike Hassett (capt.), Barry O Shea, Morgan O Shea, Seamus Moynihan (0-1), Liam Flaherty, Killian Burns, Dara Ó Sé, William Kirby, Pa Laide, Liam Hassett (0-3), Denis O Dwyer (0-2), Ruairí O Rahilly, Brian Clarke (0-2), Maurice Fitzgerald (2-5). Subs: Michael Francis Russell for R. O Rahilly, Donal Daly for W. Kirby, John Crowley for D. O Dwyer, Fergal Ó Sé, James O Shea, Peter O Leary, Billy O Shea, John Brennan..

 

Final on Sun. 4th May at Páirc Uí Chaoimh: Cork 1-8; Kerry 3-7.

Mike Hassett grafted strenuously in the corner and did a fine job in curtailing Colin Corkery. Liam Hassett excelled on the ‘40’ and engineered some sparkling moves from out-field. Niall Cahillane was no match for the Laune Rangers man, who took his goal brilliantly just before halftime, despite being impeded by a defender and the goalkeeper.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Mike Hassett (capt.), Barry O Shea, Killian Burns, Seamus Moynihan, Liam Flaherty, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé, William Kirby, Pa Laide, Liam Hassett (1-2), Denis O Dwyer (1-0), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-1), Brian Clarke (0-2), Maurice Fitzgerald (1-2, 2 frees). Sub: Michael F. Russell for D. Ó Cinnéide, Morgan O Shea, Geni Farrell, John Crowley, Donal Daly, Ruairí O Rahilly, Peter O Leary, Fergal Ó Sé, Billy O Shea.

 

Mike Hassett, 1997 Kerry Senior Football Captain, lifts the NFL Trophy aloft

Mike Hassett, 1997 Kerry Senior Football Captain, lifts the NFL Trophy aloft

McGrath Cup (Munster Senior Football League)

 

Final on Sun. 16th March at Ennis: Clare 2-10; Kerry 1-11.

Liam Hassett replaced Brian Clarke at halftime, the Laune Rangers’ star making an immediate impact as his side began to dominate proceedings.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Killian Burns, Morgan O Shea, Fergal Ó Sé, Mike Hassett, Liam Flaherty, Eamonn Ferris, Dara Ó Sé, Joe Daly, Pa Laide (0-1), Maurice Fitzgerald (0-5, 3 frees), John Crowley (1-0), John Brennan (0-1), Brian Clarke (0-1), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-2). Subs: Liam Hassett (0-1) for B. Clarke, William Kirby for D. Ó Sé, Seamus Moynihan for E. Ferris.

 

NFL (1997/’98)

 

Sun. 19th Oct. at Downing Stadium, Randalls Island, New York: Kerry 1-12; Cavan 0-8.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Killian Burns, Barry O Shea, Stephen Stack, Seamus Moynihan, Liam O Flaherty, Eamonn Breen (0-1), Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly, Pa Laide, Liam Hassett (capt.), Denis O Dwyer, Michael F. Russell, John Crowley, Maurice Fitzgerald (1-10, 1 pen and 5 frees). Subs: Brian Clarke (0-1) for L. Hassett, Sean Burke for D. Ó Sé.

 

Sun. 30th Nov. at Tralee: Kerry 1-7; Sligo 0-11.

Kerry: Declan O Keeffe, Morgan O Shea, Barry O Shea, Stephen Stack, Killian Burns, Seamus Moynihan, Eamonn Breen, Dara Ó Sé, Donal Daly, Eamonn Fitzmaurice (0-1), Liam Hassett, John Crowley (0-1), Michael F. Russell (0-2, one 45), Dara Ó Cinnéide (0-3, frees), Liam Brosnan. Subs: Johnny McGlynn for E. Fitzmaurice, William Kirby for D. Daly, John Brennan for D. Ó Cinnéide. Ronan Keane, Sligo, scored an own-goal.

 

Co. Kerry Inter-Firm Senior Football Championship

 

Final on Mon. 7th July at Strand Road: Klinge/Fujisawa 2-14; Fexco 2-8.

A much more resourceful attacking unit and a number of outstanding individual performances, most noticeably from Denis Dennehy, enabled Klinge/Fujisawa to score a fully deserved, if hard-earned, success over Fexco in that all-Killorglin final of the county senior inter-firm football championship.

With Billy O Sullivan extremely prominent and productive at full-forward, Fexco were decidedly the more enterprising outfit for long periods of the first half and goals from Eoin O Sullivan and Billy O Sullivan ensured that they deservedly led by five points (2-3 to 0-4) at the interval. However, their chances of clinching the title were dealt a severe blow late in the half when Kevin Clifford (Glenbeigh), who had been a most industrious attacker from the outset, was forced out of the remainder of the action through injury.

Klinge/Fujisawa started the second half in extremely positive fashion and. with Pat McKenna spearheading their challenge on the forty, they levelled matters within five minutes thanks to points from McKenna, Joy, and Dennehy and a clinical goal by Brian O Sullivan. Pushing forward in waves of attacks, Klinge exerted a firm stranglehold in all sectors for a period and a scoring blitz from Denis Dennehy, which yielded 1-2 from play in a three-minute spell, afforded his side a commanding advantage by the 40th minute. However, just when it looked as if Klinge would go on the record an emphatic victory, Fexco responded with admirable spirit and character and points from Pat Leahy, Stephen Wallace, Billy and Ivo O Sullivan meant that the deficit was reduced to a single point by the end of the third quarter. However, Denis Dennehy, with another fine score, afforded Klinge much-needed breathing space and, with Gerard Murphy orchestrating attacks in all quarters of the pitch, the winners went from strength to strength and four unanswered points from Padraig Barton, Pa Dennehy and a brace from Gerard Murphy clinched victory for them.

Klinge/Fujisawa: Liam Foley (Laune Rangers), Noel Doyle (do.), James Brosnan (Gneeveguilla) capt., Patie Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Aidan Roche (do.), Pa Dennehy (Currow) 0-1, Bart Warren, Pierce Prendiville (Laune Rangers), Gerald O Connor (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Padraig Barton (Keel) 0-1, Pat McKenna (Laune Rangers) 0-1, Denis Dennehy (Currow) 1-3, Brian O Sullivan (Cromane) 1-3, 3 frees, Johnny Joy (Finuge) 0-1, Gerard Murphy (Laune Rangers) 0-4, 3 frees. Sub: Michael O Reilly (Laune Rangers) for J. Joy.

Fexco: P. Foley, John O Donnell (Laune Rangers), Ciarán O Callaghan (Cromane), John Joe Quirke (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Denis Cleary (Castlehaven), Ivo O Sullivan (Fossa) 0-1, Vivian O Callaghan (Cork), Pat O Keeffe (Laune Rangers), Michael Curran (Beaufort), Sean O Sullivan (Cromane), Robert Evans (Laune Rangers), Stephen Wallace (Ardfert) 0-2, Eoin O Sullivan (Laune Rangers) 1-0, Billy O Sullivan (do.) 1-4, 4 frees, Kevin Clifford (Glenbeigh/Glencar). Subs: Pat Leahy (Laune Rangers) 0-1 for K. Clifford (inj.), Terry Ladden (Keel) for R. Evans, C. Murphy for J.J. Quirke.

Ref: Tommy Sugrue (St. Pat’s, Blennerville).

 

Munster Inter-Firm Senior Football Championship

 

Final on Mon. 22nd Sept. at Macroom: Klinge/Fujisawa 1-14; Cork Garda 0-12.

Klinge shot into an early lead with Gerard Murphy pointing from play after seven minutes and Brian O Sullivan converting a free in the ninth minute after he had been fouled himself. When Gerard O Connor was fouled in the 11th minute, Gerard Murphy pointed the free and after 15 minutes, Eoin O Mahony pointed a free for the Cork Garda to leave the score at the end of the first quarter 0-3 to 0-1 in favour of the Killorglin side. Two points from Pat McKenna and from a Brian O Sullivan free saw Klinge move 0-6 to 0-2 clear after 21 minutes. The Garda team finished strongly and Johnny Enright, from play, Eoin O Mahony and James O Shea got late points for them to leave the halftime score at Klinge/Fujisawa 0-7, Cork Garda 0-6.

Three minutes into the second half, Eoin O Mahony equalised from play. Gerard Murphy then began to trouble the Cork defence and, when Pat McKenna set him up, he pointed from play to leave the Klinge side leading by a single point. Gerard Murphy, again from play, put his side two points in front, but then in the 36th minute Eoin O Mahony narrowed the gap with a point, 0-9 to 0-8. In the 50th minute, came the crucial score of the game. Gerard O Connor fed Pat McKenna. He floated a high ball into the Garda square and Gerard Murphy, on the run, fisted the ball to the net to give Killorglin a 1-10 to 0-11 lead and that was the decisive score. Murphy scored another point three minutes later when Bart Warren set him up, to leave a goal between the sides. And though Eoin O Mahony got a point from a free in the 55th minute, the game was effectively over as a contest.

Klinge finished in style with three late points, Gerard O Connor kicking a mighty effort in the 57th minute. A minute later, Denis Dennehy, from a Pat McKenna pass, made it 1-13 to 0-12. Gerard Murphy fittingly set up Padraig Barton for the final point, to leave the Killorglin winners.

Klinge/Fujisawa: Christy Moriarty (Glenbeigh/Glencar), Noel Doyle, James Brosnan, Patie Griffin, Aidan Roche, Pa Dennehy, Diarmuid Lynch (Mitchelstown) 0-1, Pierce Prendiville, Gerard O Connor (0-1), Padraig Barton (0-1), Pat McKenna (0-2), Denis Dennehy (0-1), Gerard Murphy (1-5), Brian O Sullivan (0-2), Bart Warren (0-1).

 

All-Ireland Inter-Firm Senior Football Championship

 

Semi-final on Sat. 29th Nov. at Carlow: Klinge/Fujisawa 2-11; Braun, Carlow 0-9.

Klinge/Fujisawa: Liam Foley, Noel Doyle, James Brosnan, Sean O Donoghue, Aidan Roche, Gerard O Connor, Diarmuid Lynch, Pierce Prendiville (0-1), Denis Dennehy (1-0), Paul Foley, Padraig Barton (1-0), Gerard Murphy (0-7, 2 frees), Brian O Sullivan (0-2), Pat McKenna, John Joy. Subs: Pa Dennehy (0-1) for P. Foley, John Edwards for A. Roche, Eamonn Kissane for J. Joy.

 

The final was played on Sat. 28th Feb. in the J.P. O Sullivan Park, Killorglin and ended in a draw.

 

Administration/Miscellany

 

Joe McDonagh, An Ghaillimh, was elected as Uachtarán CLG at the Annual Congress in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin..

 

Jerome Conway was appointed by An tUachtarán as Rúnaí of An Coiste Stiúrtha Náisiúnta Féile Peile na nOg with Bob Honohan, Corcaigh, as Cathaoirleach. Also on the committee were Jim Whelan (Coca Cola) Aidan Brennan (Mayo), Fintan Tierney (Cavan), Sean Ó Laoire (Páirc an Chrócaigh). Féile Peile na nOg was held in Donegal.

 

The Munster Convention was held in the Woodlands, Adare, Co. Limerick and the following officers were re-elected: Chairman – Noel Walsh, An Clár, Secretary – Donie Nealon, Tiobrad Árainn and Treasurer – Declan Moylan, Luimneach.

 

The Annual Convention of the Kerry Co. Board was held in Regional College, Tralee on Fri. 20th Dec. 1996. 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 was Vice-Chairman of Cumann na mBunscol Chiarraí.

 

Pat Lynch (St. Mary’s Hurling Club) was appointed onto the GPC of the Kerry Co. Board and Michael Ahern onto the Public Relations Sub-Committee. Bart Moriarty was the referees’ co-ordinator in the county.

At the Co. Board meeting on Thurs. 13th Feb., at which Timmy Moroney represented Laune Rangers, it was announced that Michael F. Russell (Laune Rangers) had received a scholarship to the University of Limerick and Eoin O Connell (Laune Rangers) to Limerick R.T.C.

At the Co. Board meeting on Mon. 13th Oct. it was unanimously agreed that Laune Rangers should represent Kerry in the Munster Club Football Championship.

At the Co. Board meeting on Mon. 24th Nov. Aidan Gannon, Laune Rangers’ delegate, raised the question of the shabby treatment that Laune Rangers had received at the hands of the Munster Council in relation to the postponement of the Munster Club Championship game fixed for Castlehaven the previous Sunday. Jimmy Coffey also raised the question why hadn’t Castlehaven been inspected as the Killorglin pitch had been inspected previously on a number of occasions. Other members of the Co. Committee expressed dissatisfaction at the late hour of postponement and suggested that a neutral venue should be fixed for the replay. Aidan Gannon also apologised for his club’s non-attendance at the man-of-the-match award function, as his club had not received an invitation.

 

The AGM of the Mid-Kerry Board was held. The following officers were re-elected: Chairman – Kevin Griffin, Vice-Chairman – John Dowling, Secretary – Peter Twiss.

At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on Tues. 1st April in the Manor Inn, Killorglin, a grant of £100 was given to Laune Rangers to help defray costs incurred in winning the 1996 Co. Senior Football Championship.

At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on Thurs. 15th May in the Manor Inn, Killorglin, it was decided, on the suggestion of Peadar O Sullivan, Glenbeigh/Glencar delegate, to exclude Laune Rangers from the Mid-Kerry Minor League competition as they would be far too strong for the other teams. It was suggested to Laune Rangers that they could enter a ‘B’ team in the competition, but they declined. (Later in the year, Laune Rangers were well beaten by Milltown/Castlemaine in the Mid-Kerry Minor Championship final – so much for Rangers being much too strong for the other teams in Mid-Kerry).

At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on Mon. 14th July, concern was expressed at the lack of participation by Laune Rangers in Mid-Kerry underage competitions, as well as in the Mid-Kerry U-14 team. Michael Healy, Treasurer, stated that the Board was suffering financial losses due to the system whereby members of Laune Rangers’ Club gained free access to all games played in the JP O Sullivan Park. It was decided to address that situation.

At the Mid-Kerry Board meeting on Thurs. 30th Oct. a request by Laune Rangers club for a grant towards the cost of preparing for the Co. SFC Final was considered and £100 was donated.

 

Milltown/Castlemaine Club organised Mid-Kerry Bord na nOg. Chairman – Michael Murphy, Secretary – Brother John Guinane.

 

The Laune Rangers Bord na nOg AGM took place in the Fishery on Mon. 13th Jan. There was a large attendance as follows: Jimmy Hayes, Jerome Conway, Liam Shannon, James O Riordan, Bart Moriarty, Timmy Brosnan, Eamonn Carey, John Clifford, Michael Foley, Brian O Shea, John Quirke, Liam Clifford, Denis O Neill, Ann O Callaghan, Geraldine O Grady, Michael O Reilly, Eddie Birmingham, Pat O Riordan, Cornelius O Connor, Jim Galvin, Francis McMahon, Pat Healy, Sylvie O Shea, James Cahillane, Patrick Pigott, Tommy Woods, Iraneus Looney, Gerry Coffey, Patrick O Shea, Michael Ahern, Sean Moriarty, James Ferris, Jerry Houlihan, Eamonn Crowley.

The following officers were re-elected: Chairman – James Ferris, Secretary – Sean Moriarty, PRO – Michael Ahern. It was decided to 1) restart underage girls’ football, 2) look again at the whole concept of coaching in light of what was learned from the Co. Coaching Course, 3) enter club ‘B’ teams in Divisions 5/6 of the Co. Leagues or else in a Division with other ‘B’ teams. Jerome Conway, Chairman of Laune Rangers Club, addressed the meeting. He said that the work of Bord na nOg was the very life-blood of the club and those adults involved in training and travelling with the teams and organising them were the unsung heroes of the club. They did not do it for gain or glory and were very often on the receiving end of unwarranted criticism for their efforts. He said that, as Club Chairman, he was pleased with the way underage football was progressing and stressed that, at underage, it should never be forgotten that football should be first and foremost an enjoyment for the young people taking part.

Laune Rangers’ Bord na nOg held its only full meeting of the year on Tues. 4th March. The Secretary, Sean Moriarty, was unable to attend and the Chairman, James Ferris, asked Michael Ahern, PRO, to record the minutes. Sixteen team mentors were in attendance and Ann Lynch, Secretary Laune Rangers Ladies Football. The Chairman explained that a number of ad hoc meetings had been held during the previous 12 months but the last full-minutes meeting of the club had taken place on 30th July 1996. The following matters were discussed: 1) The jerseys, which had been provided by the club sponsors had been purchased from a private individual in Galway but were of a poor quality. Some of the garments had shrunk after washing and had been returned to the supplier. Nothing further had been heard on the matter and the meeting decided to ask the sponsors to withhold payment until a satisfactory outcome had been reached. 2) 14 mentors had completed the Foundation Level Coaching Course and were eligible to partake in the next level of coaching course at a cost of £200 each to the club. The importance of having fully-fledged coaches with certification was stressed. Michael Ahern suggested that Pat O Shea, Co. Coach, would again give a demonstration of a coaching session with underage players for the other club coaches to witness. 3) John Clifford, Senior Club Chairman, explained that the Vocational School Field had at the time been closed due to the bad weather but, when the weather improved, the field would be available for juvenile training in consultation with Austin O Reilly, principal. 4) John Clifford reported that Salthill were anxious to send two U-12 teams to Laune Rangers in late May. The Chairman urged the club to get involved in exchange arrangements with outside clubs again as the practice had been abandoned in recent years. 5) Ladies Football was up and running as was reported by Ann Lynch. 28 U-12 players had been training and the club hoped to have U-14 and U-16 teams. Players from the area who were playing with outside clubs would be allowed to continue to do so but, commencing at U-12 level, the parish rule would be imposed. 6) Representations had been made by the Church of Ireland, explaining that Sunday morning training sessions by the club were directly clashing with Sunday Morning Service. It was decided to bring about a suitable accommodation.

 

On Sun. 26th Jan. the Laune Rangers senior players flew out to Gran Canaria for a well-deserved break, some for one week and some for two weeks.

 

Shane O Sullivan at the pool-table

Shane O Sullivan at the pool-table

Pa Murphy at the pool-table. Also Karl Griffin and Joe Healy

Pa Murphy at the pool-table. Also Karl Griffin and Joe Healy

Paudie Sheahan and Shane O Sullivan go-carting

Paudie Sheahan and Shane O Sullivan go-carting

Declan Falvey on the grid

Declan Falvey on the grid

Liam Hassett does the brush-dance

Liam Hassett does the brush-dance

Declan and Breda Falvey

Declan and Breda Falvey

Tommy and Kay Woods

Tommy and Kay Woods

John O Donnell and Pa Murphy

John O Donnell and Pa Murphy

Conor Kearney in full voice

Conor Kearney in full voice

Joe and Mary Shannon

Joe and Mary Shannon

Shane O Sullivan, Joe Shannon and Tommy Byrne

Shane O Sullivan, Joe Shannon and Tommy Byrne

Shane and Siobhán O Sullivan and Billy and Nuala O Sullivan

Shane and Siobhán O Sullivan and Billy and Nuala O Sullivan

Tommy Byrne, Paudie Sheahan and Gerard Murphy

Tommy Byrne, Paudie Sheahan and Gerard Murphy

Mark O Connor shows his fitness

Mark O Connor shows his fitness

The following were registered club players/members for 1997: Peter Lyons, Adrian Hassett, Paudie Sheahan, Mark O Connor, Tommy Byrne, Shane O Sullivan, Mike Hassett, Timmy Fleming, Pierce Prendiville, Joe Shannon, James O Shea (Lonart), Paul Griffin, Billy O Sullivan, Gerard Murphy, Pa Murphy, Billy O Shea, Liam Hassett, Conor Kearney, Pat McKenna, John Sheehan, Fergal o Brien, Brian Gannon, Mike Frank Russell, John O Sullivan, Pa O Sullivan, Fergus O Meara, Thomas Walsh, Karl Griffin, John Doona, Jerome Conway, Liam Foley, Danny Cahill, Jason Griffin, Mikey Griffin, Derry O Sullivan, Martin Clifford, Robert Evans, Michael Moriarty, Eoin O Sullivan, John O Donnell, Jerry O Brien, Anthony O Sullivan, James Hurley, Alan O Sullivan, Eddie Birmingham, Eoin O Connell, Johnny Lynch, Darragh O Sullivan, Dermot Murphy, Podge Foley, Enda Clifford, Gerard Purcell, Kevin O Connor, Michael Griffin (Ownagarry), Noel Purcell, Nigel Corkery, Eoin Ferris, Pa Sheehan, John Moriarty, Brendan Fitzgerald, Morgan Foley, Kevin Cahillane, Garrath Sheehan, Ross Breen, Kieran Leahy, Cathal Brown, Jamie Cahillane, Fergus Clifford, Robert Moriarty, Enda Grandfield, Terence Houlihan, Carl Falvey, Billy O Mahony, Maurice Sheehan, Paul Russell, Paudie Russell, Michael O Reilly, Noel Doyle, Dermot Griffin, John O Dwyer, Gerard Costello, Patrick Costello, Joe Doyle, Patrick Pigott, Michael Lynch, Carl O Sullivan, Buddy O Sullivan, James Sheehan, Donal Pigott, Maurice Corkery, John Evans, John Purcell, Noel O Mahony, Matty Cahill, William Joy, Joe Kennedy, Brendan Corkery, Donal Hurley, Noel Conroy, Brian O Shea, Patrick O Shea, Jerry Foley, Batty O Riordan, Niall Moriarty, Nigel Reidy, Stephen O Sullivan, Rory O Connor, Dominick Crowley, Declan Falvey, Finbarr Coffey, Tony Foley (Dungeel), Gene Evans, Kevin Heffernan, Frankie Russell, John Griffin (Caragh Lake), Sean Whelan, Pat ‘Jennings’ Clifford, Dodo Sheahan, Pa Foley, James Foley (Ardmoniel), Adrian O Connor (Iveragh Park), Richard O Connor, Mike O Donnell, Pat O Donnell, Mossy Joy, Laurence Hogan, John Sheehan (Tinnahalla), Pat Cahill, Robert Murphy, John Foley (Caragh Lake), Sean O Sullivan (Tulligmore), Kealon O Sullivan, Michael Cahillane, Declan Byrne, James Murphy (Iveragh Park), Mark Conway, Derry O Donoghue, Redmond Fitzgerald, John Purcell Gurrane), Ray Khan, Pat O Keeffe, Eamonn Foley, Turlough Byrnes, Brian O Neill, Alan O Sullivan (Tulligmore), Fiachra O Donoghue, Glen Evans, Rory Corkery, Donncha Curran, Colm Conway, Tony Lyons, James Ferris, Patsy Joy, Sean Moriarty, James McInery, Nessan Diggin, Vincent Prendergast, Michael Hurley, Paul O Brien, Joe Hayes, Jimmy Hayes, Pat Leahy, Noel Lynch, David Lynch, Cian Foley, John Ahern, Trevor Gannon, John Costello, Andrew O Reilly, Paul Sheehan, Brian Houlihan, Brian Curran, Aidan O Connor, Michael McGillycuddy, David Marmion, John Clifford (Dromin), Jim Galvin, Ger Counihan, Tommy Woods, James Coffey, Michael Foley (Reen), John Griffin, Mike O Shea, Liam Shannon, Bart Moriarty, Batty Foley, Aidan Gannon, Paddy Crowley, Jonathan Griffin, Patrick Galvin.

 

16 Laune Rangers’ club meetings were held during the year.

The following matters were discussed/decided at the meetings:

Mon. 10th Feb. in Orchard House – The Secretary read a letter regarding Public Liability Insurance in the JP O Sullivan Park. Outside organisations using the facilities must produce proof of public liability insurance. It was decided that the club would not charter a train to Portlaois for the All-Ireland Club Championship semi-final versus Crossmaglin Rangers. Jimmy Hayes volunteered to chair a sub-committee to help boost the sale of lotto tickets. Johnny Galvin and James Ferris volunteered to serve on the sub-committee. James Coffey expressed reservations with the decision not to use the first fifteen senior players in the Mid-Kerry League. The Chairman explained that the decision was for one year only and the Laune Rangers’ team was paired in the weaker group with Keel and Cromane. John Clifford, Maurice Corkery, Jim Galvin and Bart Moriarty volunteered to act as stewards at the Co. Semi-final of Scór in the CYMS Hall on Sat. 15th Feb. Bart Moriarty informed the meeting that he had seen the Killorglin Community Council’s plans for 1997 to 2000 and in it there was not one mention of Laune Rangers’ plans for the future. The club had four days in which to make submissions and it was decided to include, a) the plans for the pitch, b) the intention to purchase additional playing fields, c) transport for teams, d) office equipment and computer equipment for the computerisation of records, e) the possibility of employing somebody on a full-time basis at administrative level. The Secretary was instructed to contact Austin O Reilly, principal Community College, with a view to the club commencing use of the facilities as had been discussed the previous year. The Secretary reported that he and James Coffey had met with the local Co. Council officials with a view to having a footpath laid and lights erected from the town to the JP O Sullivan Park. The meeting agreed to purchase 2 tickets @ £100 each for the Church of Ireland Fund. The Chairman informed the meeting that the Garda Club had been booked for 16th March in anticipation of reaching the All-Ireland Club final. James Coffey surprised everybody present when he suggested that the club should sell the JP O Sullivan Park – it was the first that anybody present had heard about such a proposal.

Mon. 24th Feb. in the Fishery – The Chairman asked Jerry Coffey to chair a special sub-committee to look into all aspects of the JP O Sullivan Park, 1) the size of the field and how it can cope with the amount of use, 2) the present location of the field, 3) the possibility of purchasing other land adjacent to the present field. The sub-committee on lotto sales reported that the parish had been divided into areas and U-16 and minor players would sell tickets at a commission. Membership cards were available in Falvey’s Bar, Coffey’s Bar, O Shea’s Bar, Bunker’s Bar and the Credit Union. Shay Maher had been employed on a Fás Scheme in the JP O Sullivan Park.

Tues. 18th March in the Manor Inn – Aidan Gannon cautioned against giving free membership and he also reported that the Co. Board wanted all club conventions held by January. The deal between the club and advertisers in the JP O Sullivan Park must be renegotiated.

Tues. 1st April in the Manor Inn – £100 was received from the Mid-Kerry Board towards expenses incurred in the preparing for the All-Ireland Club semi-final. Tommy Byrne had been invited to explain his actions, during the Munster Club Championship game versus Rathgormack in Killarney, to the Munster Council either by way of personal appearance at a Council meeting or by letter. It was decided to use the latter method.

Tues. 15th April in the JP O Sullivan Park – a lengthy discussion took place on the performance of the referee (John Twiss) in the Mid-Kerry League game, Laune Rangers v Glenbeigh/Glencar. Ger Councihan felt very strongly that no Laune Rangers team should ever again take the field with John Twiss as referee. Some members also felt that his association with the Laune Rangers ‘C’ U-12 team should be terminated. It was decided to tackle the problem in two ways, 1) Kevin Griffin, Chairman of the Mid-Kerry Board, would be asked to put his comment to Ger Counihan after the game that ‘John Twiss will never again referee a game involving Laune Rangers’ in writing and 2) Michael Ahern would write to all team mentors that they must become club members – if John Twiss became a member he would automatically be disqualified from refereeing games involving Laune Rangers’ teams. Matty Cahill and Johnny Galvin reported that they could get the field spiked @ £10 per acre and were given permission to proceed. The Chairman informed the meeting that Jimmy Hayes and Mary Griffin, of the Finance Committee, would be co-opted onto the committee, which had been organising the Golf Classic.

Tues. 29th April in the JP O Sullivan Park – James Coffey warned the club about the huge cost of transporting teams to matches. It was agreed that juveniles would henceforth pay £1 for the bus and minors, U-21’s and seniors £2. Team managers were responsible for the collection of the fee. The Secretary reported that very few minors had been selling lotto tickets consistently. The club agreed to cut the grass in the playground, whenever it was cutting the grass in the JP O Sullivan Park.

Tues. 13th May in the JP O Sullivan Park – Arising from the occasion when a doctor had be called to the field, a list of phone numbers of local doctors was put on the notice-board. It was decided to sell lotto tickets at home games. It was accepted that the fund-raising for the Golf Classic had been interfering with the finance committee’s efforts to fund-raise for the ordinary day-to-day running of the club. Accordingly, it was decided that money in excess of £20,000 raised by the Golf Classic would be given to the club. A vote of sympathy was passed to the family of the late John Brown, Chairman of Bellaghy GAA Club in Derry, who had been murdered recently.

Tues. 3rd June in the JP O Sullivan Park – A discussion took place on the sale of membership cards in pubs. It was decided that, in future, new members would have to be proposed and seconded and their names displayed on the notice-board. The possibility of setting up a Laune Rangers’ Golf Society was mooted. Dooks Golf Club was thanked for its hospitality during the recent successful Golf Classic.

Tues. 17th June in the JP O Sullivan Park – The meeting was dominated by juvenile matters. James Ferris reported that, because of the outbreak of meningitis in Beaufort, and the fact that one child had attended the Intermediate School, Laune Rangers had been debarred from travelling to Donegal for Féile Peile na nOg. The same fate had befallen Beaufort U-14 girls’ team. Austin stacks had been chosen to take the place of the Laune Rangers. The authorities felt that the safety of the children’s health had been paramount. Michael Ahern said that it had been regrettable that such an event had transpired because the club had a very good Féile team and it had been very tough on Pat Pigott who had worked so hard over the previous number of weeks in preparation for the Féile. Michael Ahern stated his concern with regard to the situation in Mid-Kerry. He felt that the club had been attacked on many fronts and that the club should have a united policy on the matter. He highlighted the situation where, at juvenile level, the Mid-Kerry ‘B’ competitions were for the other clubs’ ‘A’ teams and the Laune Rangers’ ‘B’ teams. Lately, the club had withdrawn its ‘B’ teams from that type of competition and he asked if the club was in the business of making concessions at underage level. It was decided that no arrangements would be made at any level with the Mid-Kerry Board unless the said arrangements had been agreed at club level.

Tues. 1st July in the JP O Sullivan Park – John Griffin stated that there had been many different versions of the Féile Peil na nOg saga circulating and he opined that it would be better if the club had a common approach to the subject.

Tues. 29th July in the JP O Sullivan Park – The possibility of the club purchasing a spiker and other necessary equipment for the pitch was discussed. Michael Ahern’s letter to the National Committee of Féile Peil na nOg was read.

Tues. 5th Aug. in the JP O Sullivan Park – Preparations were finalised for the selling of lotto tickets during Puck Fair and for the club Church Gate Collection.

Tues. 2nd Sept. in the JP O Sullivan Park – The Church Gate Collection yielded £511. The Puck Fair Lotto yielded only £226. Michael Foley said that the players had done nothing by way of selling lotto tickets and the matter should be reviewed. Aidan Gannon, on behalf of AIB, sponsors of the Co. Senior Football Championship, presented a cheque for £1,750 to the club. The All-Ireland tickets would be drawn at a special club meeting. The Puck Fair Committee was asked to leave the lights in place as they would be needed if Kerry won the All-Ireland. The club’s choice of referees for the Co. Semi-final versus West-Kerry was Maurice O Sullivan, Dan O Sullivan and Tom McCarthy.

Wed. 1st Oct. at the JP O Sullivan Park – The Secretary was instructed to send a letter of thanks to the Puck Fair Committee for the use of its lights and stewards during the victorious parade by the All-Ireland Senior Football Champions through the town. The Gardaí were also to be thanked for controlling the parade. The Chairman wished Billy O Shea well after his unfortunate leg injury.

Mon. 6th Oct. at the JP O Sullivan Park – Arrangements were made for the upcoming Co. Senior Football final, Laune Rangers v East-Kerry – bus, meal, band, lorry, loud-speakers, bonfire – and the usual willing hands were available to lend a hand. The Chairman wished the team and mentors well in the final and he also thanked the Finance Committee for its excellent fund-raising activities.

Tues. 11th Nov. in the JP O Sullivan Park – The Secretary informed the meeting that Co. Convention had been scheduled for 18th Jan. 1998 and that all club conventions had to be held prior to that date. James Coffey proposed that the Chairman and Secretary should attend the All-Ireland Senior Football medal presentation in the Gleneagle Hotel on Nov. 30th. The Secretary was instructed to send a letter of congratulations to East-Kerry on winning the Co. Championship and to George Boyle for standing the Laune Rangers’ contingent in the Grand Hotel after the Co. Final.

 

The following members attended Laune Rangers’ club meetings during the year: John Clifford (16), Tommy Woods (16), John Griffin (13), Maurice Corkery (12), Liam Shannon (10), Jim Galvin (10), James Coffey (9), Batty Foley (9), Bart Moriarty (9), Matty Cahill (9), Michael O Shea (9), Johnny Galvin (9), Ger Counihan (8), James Ferris (7), Michael Foley (6), Aidan Gannon (5), Michael Ahern (4), Timmy Moroney (2), James Sheehan (1), Jerry Coffey (1), Donal Pigott (1), Donie Griffin (1), Denis O Neill (1), Patrick Pigott (1).

 

The death occurred on 27th April of Peggy ‘PT’ O Sullivan, Main Street. She had played camogie on the very successful Laune Rangers’ teams in the early 1930’s.

 

At the Co. GAC meeting on Fr. 31st Jan. Michael O Reilly’s transfer from Beaufort back to Laune Rangers was sanctioned.

At the Co. GAC meeting on Mon. 21st July, the following transfers were sanctioned:

Kevin Jones, Laune Rangers, to Simmonstown, Co. Meath.

Seamus Costello, Laune Rangers, to Tinryland, Co. Carlow.

Andy O Connor, Laune Rangers, to North American Board.

 

At the Co. GAC meeting on Mon. 30th June, Joe Shannon was replaced on Laune Rangers’ first fifteen by Pa O Sullivan.

 

Laune Rangers’ Church-gate Collection for the training of Kerry teams yielded £665.48.

 

The Kerry U-16 Football panel went to Limerick in July for a coaching clinic. The panel was as follows: Darragh Long (Austin Stacks), John Flannery, Geoffrey O Mahony (Laune Rangers), Brendan Lynch, Fergus McAuliffe (Gneeveguilla), Tadhg Kennelly (Emmett’s), John O Connor (Kerins O Rahillys), Padraig Sheehan, Donal O Dwyer, Ronan O Connor (St. Michael’s/Foilmore), Paul Galvin (Finuge), Maurice Wrenn, Ciarán Stack, John Joe Brosnan, Garrett Walsh (Kerins O Rahillys), Ray Keane (St. Mary’s), Daniel O Sullivan, James A. Murphy, Richard Barrett, James Cahillane (Dr. Crokes), Shane Myers.

 

Laune Rangers Scór na nOg qualifying round was held in Scoil Mhuire on Fri. 14th Nov., organised by Mary Clifford. The adjudicators were Frank and Eileen Switzer, Fossa. Patrick Joy (Caragh Lake) and Mrs. King (Tralee) were the dancing teachers present, Nicholas McAuliffe, music teacher and Jerome Conway, quiz master. The following qualified to represent Laune Rangers in the Mid-Kerry finals:

Figure Dancing – Sarah Crowley, Lynn Cahillane, Sarah Jane Joy, Jade O Connor, Ciara O Grady, Nicola O Connor, Caitriona O Connor and Siobhán Joy.

Solo Singing – Muireann Clifford.

Instrumental Music – Sharon Langston, Laura Cahillane, Eve Griffin, Edward Looney, Muireann Clifford.

Quiz – Seamus Galvin, Padraig Clifford and Ann Marie Cahillane (coaches – Eoin Clifford & Jamie Cahillane).

Recitation – Karen McGillycuddy.

Ballad Group – Karen McGillycuddy, Jade O Connor, Kieran Crowley, Ciara O Grady, Muiris Crowley.

Set Dancing – Daniel Tuohy, Colin O Sullivan, John McKenna, Shane Ahern, Caitriona Tuohy, Siobhan McSweeney, Celine Flaherty, Louise O Connor.

Mid-Kerry Scor na nOg finals in Milltown on Fri. 28th Nov: Laune Rangers won five of the eight competitions, were second in one and won the Lee Strand Shield as the best club in the competition for the third year. Laune Rangers were first in Figure Dancing, Instrumental Music, Question-Time, Ballad Group and Set Dancing. Karen McGillycuddy was second in the Recitation.

Kerry Scor na nOg finals were held in the Gleneagle Hotel, Killarney, on Sun. 14th Dec. The Laune Rangers question-time team qualified for the Munster semi-final. There the team qualified for the Munster final for the second successive year.

At the Munster Final in Thurles on Sun. 1st Feb. 1998, the question-time  team came in first place and qualified for the All-Ireland Final.

The question time team won the All-Ireland final on Sat. 21st February 1998 in Athlone.

Laune Rangers – 1997 All-Ireland Scór na nÓg Tráth na gCeist Champions Front: Seamus Galvin, Anne Maria Cahillane and Pádraig Clifford. Back: Michael Ahern (Club Hon. Sec. Bord na nOg), John Clifford (Senior Club Chairman) and Pat Pigott (Club Chairman Bord na nOg)

Laune Rangers – 1997 All-Ireland Scór na nÓg Tráth na gCeist Champions
Front: Seamus Galvin, Anne Maria Cahillane and Pádraig Clifford.
Back: Michael Ahern (Club Hon. Sec. Bord na nOg), John Clifford (Senior Club Chairman) and Pat Pigott (Club Chairman Bord na nOg)

 

Laune Rangers’ Golf Classic, organised by the Field Development Committee, was held on Fri. 30th May at Dooks Golf Club. It was well supported and teams from far and wide competed. Diamond Engineering emerged as impressive winners with Pat O Mahony’s team in second place. The winners of the raffle on the night were 1st – John Cahillane, Keel, 2nd – Johnny Doyle, Annascaul.

 

The GAA National Youth Forum was held in Croke Park in December. Kerry was represented by Mike McCarthy (Kerry GAA Youth Officer), John Lenihan (Bord na nOg Secretary), Cora Conway (Laune Rangers), Susan Joy (do.), Eoghan O Sullivan (Desmonds) and Ronan O Connor (Kilcummin).

 

Laune Rangers’ Annual Social was held in the Fishery on Fri. 27th Feb. 1998. Tickets cost £12.50 each. Invited guests included Jerome Conway (Vice-Chairman Kerry Co. Board), John Dowling (Chairman Mid-Kerry Board), Canon Matt Keane, Mike Hassett, Liam Hassett, Billy O Shea and Mike Frank Russell. Music was provided by Myles and Finbarr Coffey.

 

At the end of the year, Tommy Conroy, sports-writer, chose his team of the year in Kerry’s Eye: Declan O Keeffe (Rathmore), Tom O Sullivan (do.), Barry O Shea (Kerins O Rahillys), Jerome Stack (Emmett’s), Mike Hassett (Laune Rangers), Seamus Moynihan (Glenflesk), Kieran Scanlon (Currow), Donal Daly (Firies), Dara Ó Sé (Gaeltacht), Pa Laide (Austin Stacks), Billy O Shea (Laune Rangers), Aodán Mac Gearailt (Gaeltacht), Paud O Donoghue (Glenflesk), Vinny Murphy (Kerins O Rahillys), Sean Geaney (Dingle). Peter Lyons was one of the goalkeepers that was considered, Tommy Byrne and John Sheehan was considered as possible backs, Timmy Fleming was considered for midfield, while Mike F. Russell and Pa O Sullivan were among the forwards considered. Pa O Sullivan was among the players of most promise. John Evans was chosen as manager-of-the-year. The semi-final victory by Laune Rangers over West-Kerry was the most significant and enthralling game in Kerry in 1997.

 

Co. Intermediate Football Championship: Kilcummin 1-10; Currow 0-9.

Co. Junior Football Championship: Sneem 1-12; Beale 2-4.

Co. Novice Football Championship: Knocknagoshel 1-10; St. Michael’s/Foilmore 1-7.

Co. Minor Football Champions – Mid-Kerry.

Co. U-16 Football Champions – Austin Stacks. Runners-up – Kerins O Rahillys.

Co. U-12 Football Champions – Ballyduff. Runners-up – Austin Stacks.

 

Mid-Kerry SFL Final on 11th Oct: Milltown/Castlemaine 0-10; Glenbeigh/Glencar 2-2 ®.

Mid-Kerry MFL Final on 28th Dec: Beaufort defeated Milltown/Castlemaine.

Mid-Kerry Senior ‘B’ Final on 28th Aug: Beaufort ‘B’ 0-8; Glenbeigh/Glencar ‘B’ 0-7.

 

Laune Rangers nominated four referees for 1997, Peter Lyons, Patrick O Shea, Timmy Moroney and Michael O Reilly.

 

Peter Lyons refereed the Munster Junior Football Championship game, Clare v Cork, in Ennis on

 

Peter Lyons refereed the following games, amongst others, for the Mid-Kerry Board:

SFL Rd. 3 on Sun. 16th March at Beaufort: Beaufort lost to Milltown/Castlemaine.

Sn. ‘B’ Champ. on Tues. 20th May at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ lost to Beaufort ‘B’.

MFL Rd. 1 on 1st July at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine defeated Glenbeigh/Glencar.

MFL Rd. 2 on 8th July at Beaufort: Beaufort lost to Keel.

MFL Rd. 3 on 15th July at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine defeated Beaufort.

MFL Rd. 4 on Wed. 5th Aug. at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine defeated Cromane.

MFL Rd. 5 on Wed. 12th Aug. at Keel: Keel lost to Milltown/Castlemaine.

MFL Final on 28th Dec. at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine lost to Beaufort.

 

Patrick O Shea refereed the following games, amongst others, for the Mid-Kerry Board:

Sn. ‘B’ Champ. on Tues. 27th May at Milltown: Milltown/Castlemaine ‘B’ lost to Keel ‘B’.

SFC Quarter-final on 4th Oct. at Keel: Keel 0-6; Milltown/Castlemaine 3-12.

MFC Semi-final on 19th Oct: Milltown/Castlemaine 0-10; Glenbeigh/Glencar 0-7.

 

At the AGM of the Mid-Kerry Board on Fri. 9th Jan. 1998, Peter Twiss, Rúnaí, reported as follows: “I have great pleasure in presenting my report of Cumann Luthchleas Gael in Mid-Kerry during 1997. Kerry winning the All-Ireland after an 11 year gap was undoubtedly the high point of the year for everybody. What a great occasion it was when Liam Hassett and his men arrived in Killorglin with the Sam Maguire Cup! At county level, our minor team at last got their just rewards, winning the Co. Championship for the first time since 1960.

Senior Co. Championship

Mid-Kerry set off in this year’s campaign under a new trainer, George McAuliffe. We faced a tough first-round match, away to Dr. Crokes. However, a young and talented Mid-Kerry team gave a very classy performance to beat the Crokes. The quarter-finals saw us paired against a strong West-Kerry team. Played in Fitzgerald Stadium, Mid-Kerry put up another great performance and were unlucky to have had to settle for a draw after a thrilling match. However, the replay was a different story. Mid-Kerry was affected by injury to key men. That and the fact that our two Co. Minor men, William Harmon and C. Foley, had played in a very tough All-Ireland Championship game just 24 hours previously, left us vulnerable. In the end, we were well beaten by West-Kerry. However, there is no doubt that this team has a big future if they stay together.

Again Laune Rangers began as favourites to take their third championship-in-a-row. In the first round, they beat Kenmare. In the quarter-final, Rangers had a close encounter with St. Kieran’s before emerging victorious. Undoubtedly, their best performance in the championship was their semi-final victory over West-Kerry. In the final against East-Kerry, the first game finished level. However, in the replay, Laune Rangers surrendered their crown to the men from the east. A highlight at this year’s County Final was the honouring of the Mid-Kerry teams that won the Co. Championship in 1967 and 1971. In the Munster Club Championship, Laune Rangers were beaten by Castlehaven. The game marked the end of John Evans’s reign as trainer of Laune Rangers. John brought great success to the Killorglin side and everybody in Mid-Kerry wishes him well for the future.

Minors

The Co. Minor Championship was the highlight of the year for the Board. After years of narrowly losing out in both semi-finals and last year’s final, Kenneth O Connor finally lifted the Frank King Cup, after Mid-Kerry defeated Shannon Rangers in the final. Cromane man, Sean O Sullivan’s brilliant goal decided the issue on the day but, throughout the championship, Mid-Kerry had heroes all over the pitch. In the first round, played in Beaufort, we overcame Kenmare. The next round saw us in opposition against fancied East-Kerry. Again played in Beaufort, Mid-Kerry gave an outstanding display to easily see off their opponents. Next onto the semi-final against Desmonds, played in very bad conditions, this time it was the strength of our boys that brought them through. And so, after 37 years, Mid-Kerry are again Co. Minor Champions. Well done to all – the players, selectors, trainers Frank Walsh and Tim Coffey and everybody who supported the team. A special thanks to all the people who gave sponsorship to the team.

U-21

This year’s U-21 championship started for Mid-Kerry on Oct. 27th with a great match against St. Kieran’s, played in Milltown. After extra-time, Mid-Kerry emerged the victors. The next round saw us pitted against local rivals Laune Rangers. Played in heavy underfoot conditions in Killorglin, this was another great game with the Launesiders hanging on for victory despite the best efforts of Mid-Kerry. Laune Rangers continued their progress in the competition, beating South-Kerry in the semi-final, before losing the final against Feale Rangers.

Clubs

By their own high standards, Laune Rangers will be disappointed to have lost their County and Munster Championship titles. However, one has to appreciate the huge amount of football this team has played over the last number of years. Milltown/Castlemaine will be delighted to have returned to Div. 1 of the Co. League but were knocked out of the Intermediate Championship. Beaufort were unlucky not to return to Div. 1, losing out in a play-off to Milltown/Castlemaine, while they made an early exit from the Junior Championship. Glenbeigh/Glencar will be disappointed with the performances in both Co. League and Championship. Keel will be very happy to have gained promotion in the Co. League and will be all out to make further progress in ’98 while Cromane will be disappointed at losing out in the Novice Shield.

Fixtures

A total of 49 games were played in senior and minor competitions and Bord na nOg ran six competitions ar club level as well as the National Schools’ competition. In the Senior Championship, gritty Laune Rangers overcame the loss of a number of players to beat Milltown/Castlemaine in the final. Milltown/Castlemaine had some consolation by winning the Senior League. Laune Rangers won the O Sullivan Cup, beating Keel in the final, while Beaufort broke the dominance of Laune Rangers by winning the ‘B’ Championship, beating Glenbeigh/Glencar in a thrilling final.

Once again, this year’s Minor Championship and League produced great entertainment. Milltown/Castlemaine gave a powerful display in beating Laune Rangers in the championship final, while Beaufort took the honours in the league, beating fancied Milltown/Castlemaine in the final.

At Bord na nOg level, the highlight was the clash of Beaufort and Laune Rangers in the U-16A final. After a second replay, and much excitement, Laune Rangers finally won out.

Administration

The Board held seven meetings during the year. Most meetings were well attended. My thanks to Chairman, Kevin Griffin, and my fellow officers for all their help.

Referees

Once again, sincere thanks to all our referees in the area. It’s good to see some new faces appearing on the scene. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

Bord na nOg

Bord na nOg was run by the Milltown/Castlemaine Club during the year and I would like to thank Mike Murphy, Brother John and Albert King for the great work they did.

Scor

Scor Sinsear was held in Glenbeigh in February. Getting enough participants is always difficult at senior level. Scor na nOg, which was held in Milltown recently, was a great success. Congratulations to Laune Rangers’ quiz-team who took county honours at this level.

Well Done

To captain Liam Hassett and all the players from the Mid-Kerry area who won All-Ireland senior medals with Kerry,

To all the players from the area who represented Kerry at various grades,

To Michael F. Russell, who was voted ‘Young Players of the Year, by the national media,

To Beaufort U-14 ladies, who achieved All-Ireland success.

Buíochas

To our sponsors, The Ross Inn, Killorglin Credit Union, Quirke’s Sand and Gravel, Bunkers Bar, The O Sullivan Family, Glenbeigh,

To all our other sponsors, including those who sponsored ‘Man-of-the-Match awards and Bord na nOg competitions,

To the clubs for the use of their pitches and co-operation with fixtures,

To those who patronise our games and those who contribute to the running of clubs,

To the trainers and selectors of our teams,

To the media for the coverage of our games,

To our Convention hosts, Keel.

General

1997 marked the 50th year of the Board’s existence. It was fitting that Mid-Kerry should win a Co. Championship title – fitting as well that it should be our minors who achieved the success. Football in this region is very healthy, especially at underage level. Over the next few years the competitiveness that now exists at minor level between the clubs will show up at senior level. This can only add to the excitement and reputation of football in the Board area.

Finally

This is my final year as Secretary of the Board. It has been my pleasure to serve as Secretary of the Board for the past 3 years and I wish to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their help and co-operation, particularly my fellow officers, both past and present.”

 

The AGM of the Laune Rangers Club was held on Mon. 1st Dec. 1997. Secretary, Tommy Woods, gave his report as follows: “As I settle down to write this report, in the aftermath of our trip to Castlehaven for the postponed match, I have mixed emotions. In football terms, the year is far from over while, on all other fronts, the club developed nicely in 1997. The year started in the Track in the second week in January – the winter break is getting shorter every year. However, within a fortnight, a party of almost 80 was jetting off to the Canaries for a well-earned break. Everyone had a smashing time and came home ready for the challenges that lay ahead. It would be nice to think that further trips could be organised.

Administration

This year, a total of 17 club meetings were held. These were, for the most part, well attended. It would be nice to see more members coming to club meetings and getting involved. Notice of club meetings is carried in the Laune Rangers’ notes and meetings are held in the Track.

Another successful venture this year was the setting up of a Field Committee under the chairmanship of Jerry Coffey. This committee is to investigate the possibility of acquiring land for the club to buy or lease so as to enable us to look after all our teams in a proper way and also to enable us to eventually do the long-awaited job on our pitch. I am pleased to report that Jerry and his committee have left no stone unturned in their efforts.

Sponsorship

Once again, all our teams, from minor to senior, were sponsored by Killorglin Credit Union, our major sponsors. The club is indebted to the Credit Union for its continued sponsorship. We have now completed two years of this very successful partnership. Next year is the last year of the present deal. We would hope to continue our association with the Credit Union for many more years.

Thanks to all our other sponsors, of which there are many. Without your help and support, our task would be next to impossible. I would ask you all to support all our sponsors in whatever way you can.

Finance

As you can see from the Balance Sheet, there is an excess of expenditure over income for the year 1996/’97. Expenditure at a club this size continues to grow at a frightening pace.

The big financial undertaking this year was the Golf Classic, held in Dooks in May. This raised about £25,000 and was an enormous success. Months of planning and meetings went into its organisation. Thanks to Conor O Mahony, who chaired the committee, to Gerard (Farmer) Foley for acting as Secretary and to all the committee members for their dedication. Thanks to all who helped on the day and to all who attended the prize-presentation in the Clubhouse. Thanks to the committee of Dooks Golf Club for the use of their excellent facilities. A special word of thanks must go to our major sponsors of the Golf Classic – Fugisawa, Fexco, Irish Permanent and Luke Moriarty. We would hope to run another Golf Classic within the next three years. The setting up of a Laune Rangers Golf Society was mooted around the time of the Golf Classic and it is our intention to get this up and running as soon as possible.

Our main finance committee swung into action at Co. Final time and had a very successful town-collection, plus guess-the-score for both matches. Much thought this year went into the Lotto. Jimmy Hayes volunteered to set up a sub-committee to look into ways of improving sales. Johnny Galvin and James Ferris agreed to help. Their idea was to get designated people to sell in every district in the parish and also to get minors to sell tickets. The minors sold for a short period and then, except for 2 players, the rest stopped selling completely. The club did succeed in getting a number of good new sellers this year but we also lost a few older sellers. All in all, the Lotto has improved significantly in the past six months. We feel that by having a 4 number Lotto, the Jackpot will be bigger and sales will increase. This will happen when present stocks of tickets expire. Thanks to all our sellers, to Jim Galvin, Mattie Cahill and Johnny Galvin for looking after the draw and to Peter Lyons for doing M.C. for the draw every Sunday night. Thanks to everyone who supports the Lotto and to the CYMS for providing an ideal base for selling tickets and doing the draw.

It was also decided at a meeting this year that juveniles must pay £1 for the bus in future, and minors/U-21’s £2. This is an effort to reduce the enormous transport costs the club incurs. We hope that all managers will carry out this instruction in 1998, as it hasn’t been very successful to date.

J.P. O Sullivan Park

Our pitch is in a dreadful state at the moment. This is an annual problem, despite the best efforts of Mattie Cahill, Shay Maher and Peter Lyons. The weather has caused untold damage to most pitches in the country in the past few months. The problem is compounded here with the level of activity that takes place on our pitch. Hopefully, we will be able to do something very shortly to alleviate the problem. The club has purchased a ‘spiker’ with the help of FÁS and we hope that this will improve matters significantly, as we will be able to spike the field when we like and at the appropriate times. On the question of upgrading the playing surface as outlined in last year’s AGM, I would be hopeful that this work could be carried out this year.

The old dressing-rooms are still unroofed, planning difficulties have held us up no end. The matter is still in the hands of the planning-officer. The club is very grateful to John Melia and Denis Lyons for their help with the FÁS scheme. Our new scheme started this morning. On behalf of everyone at the club, I would like to wish Mattie Cahill well in his new job in FEXCO and thank him for all he has done for us up to now and we hope to see a lot of Mattie in the future, also.

This year, the club participated in the student summer-job scheme. Seven students took part and they did some valuable work for the club and also some coaching. If anyone is interested in this scheme for the next year, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We do our best to facilitate students if they wish to work elsewhere as well, so as to maximise their earnings.

During the year, the Secretary and James Coffey attended a meeting of the Kerry County Council to discuss the issue of widening the road to the Track and putting up street lights. We got a very favourable response, much of the land for this has been bought and we expect further progress shortly.

Club Window

Our unique club window continues to grab the attention of people. Thanks to Mrs. O Regan for allowing us the use of her premises and to Carol Ann Stoker, Michael Ahern and James Ferris for looking after it. I would draw your attention to the club jumper on  display in the window, they can be bought for £29.95 in James Coffey’s bar.

Bord na nOg

Bord na nOg had another successful year in ’97. James Ferris, last year’s Chairman of Bord na nOg, will give you a report of their activities later. It is great to see so many people coming forward to train teams at this level. I would ask, though, that more former players or present players, A, B or C, would get involved. Young players have a great regard for senior players. Nowadays, with 3 or 4 people in charge of every team, the amount of time required is not as great as in past times, when one person looked after an underage team. I would like to pay tribute to James for the great work he has done as Chairman of Bord na nOg.

Membership

Membership of the club rose significantly during the year. This is a credit to Liam (Shannon) and Batty (Foley) for their efforts. Also this year, other people took a hand in selling membership through their outlets. This proved to be great success. For next year, each member will have to be proposed and seconded to become a member. This is only a formality and is to comply with recent court cases. It is hoped next year to put as many members as possible on standing orders to facilitate the registrars. One worrying aspect of the membership is the fact that not all players have paid their membership. This is a very worrying trend and is very short-sighted by the players involved. I would like to thank Batty Foley for the many years of dedication he has given to Laune Rangers and wish him well in his recuperation.

Thanks

Thanks to outgoing delegate to the Co. Board, Aidan Gannon, for his services to the club and congratulations on his promotion.

Thanks to our referees in ’97, Peter Lyons, Timmy Moroney, Pat O Shea. Congratulations to Peter for his handling of the Munster Junior Championship match in Ennis, Clare v Cork, which won him many admirers. Thanks, also, to Bart Moriarty, co-ordinator of the Kerry referees.

Once again, thanks to our Scór organiser, Mary Clifford, for her Trojan work. This is very much a personal effort, as Mary looks after both Junior and Senior Scór. I would love to see someone stepping forward to offer Mary assistance. Thanks to all the adults and children who participated in Scór ’97. On last Friday in Milltown, Mary had 5 winners out of 7 competitions and Laune Rangers got voted club of the year. Congratulations to all the young people involved.

Thanks to the Puck Fair Committee for leaving the lights up for the arrival of Sam and to their stewards, who helped us out on the night. Their experience of crowd-control was obvious to all.

Thanks to Barry Harmon, Pat and Donal Pigott, Maurice Corkery and Danny Cahill for bedecking the town with buntings before the Co. Final. This was a marvellous effort in very bad weather.

Thanks to the press, both national and local, for their coverage of Laune Rangers during the year, especially the Kerryman, Kerry’s Eye, the Kingdom and, of course, Radio Kerry, for the high profile they give us and their outstanding coverage of local games.

Once again, I want to thank our supporters who have followed us faithfully all year. As yet the Senior team hasn’t rewarded them with any silverware but I’m sure that is just around the corner.

Thanks to Dr. Vincent Evans for the medical expertise he lends to us on the sideline.

Thanks to Mike O Donnell for his undying support.

Thanks to Donie Griffin for always being on hand for the historic photo.

Thanks to Joseph Crowley for the photographs.

Thanks to Francie Sheahan for the send-off before big matches.

Thanks to Sgt. Ted Murphy and the local Gardaí for their co-operation whenever they were needed.

Thanks to Michael and Maureen Ahern for looking after the merchandise for the county final and replay.

Thanks to Michael and Brenda Cahill and staff for the excellent job they did as our Social in the Ross Inn.

Teams

As already stated, the ‘A’ team started back training during the second week in January. They have been going non-stop since. The semi-final with Crossmaglen was on 23rd Feb. We lost by the narrowest of margins on a score of 1-8 to 1-7. Nothing I have seen since compared to the disappointment I witnessed that day. It was a setback, which the team answered in the only way they could by getting back and playing good football again.

About this time, the club decided to excuse the first 15 from participation in the Mid-Kerry League. The idea was to utilize the second 15. Consequently, Laune Rangers were paired in the weaker section of the draw with Keel and Cromane. The winners of this group were to play the runners-up in the stronger group. We won our group comfortably. We faced Glenbeigh/Glencar in the semi-final. Sadly, we lost this match. It will be remembered vividly in the club for many years to come, as we witnessed a most inept display of refereeing from John Twiss. From a club point of view, the match should never have been lost, as we missed numerous chances. As well as that, many of the second 15 decided they weren’t going to play in this competition for various reasons and we ended up playing with only about six of our second 15. We will have to have a serious think about what to do for next year.

Once again, the Co. League was approached in a relaxed manner. Joe Shannon decided to hang up his ‘A’ team boots after years of playing. Other players were rested for the early rounds. We started off the campaign well. We had our only defeat v Gaeltacht in Gallerus and we had a draw with Rathmore in Rathmore. We now sit proudly on top of the Co. League table again, as we await the final v Dingle.

This year’s championship was a long, tough affair. We were going for 3-in-a-row. 27th July saw us take on Kenmare in Kenmare. Victory was achieved on a score of 2-15 to 1-11, after a sluggish enough performance. Our quarter-final opponents were St. Kieran’s. This proved to be a tough affair. We were glad to hear the final whistle, as we withstood a late St. Kieran’s flourish to win on a score of 1-17 to 2-12. Our best performance in this year’s championship was to follow in the semi-final v West-Kerry. Many observers expected us to fall at this hurdle. However, the team rose brilliantly to the occasion and ran out deserving winners on the score of 0-17 to 2-9. The Co. Final was only a week later. This definitely did not help our cause. The team started poorly but a great second-half rally saw us emerge with a draw, Laune Rangers 1-8, East-Kerry 0-11. The replay was eagerly looked forward to. Once again East-Kerry played tremendous football and ran our deserving winners on a score of 1-11 to 0-8. Our dream of 3-in-a-row was dead but we still could look forward to the All-Ireland Club Championship as we had been nominated to represent Kerry. There isn’t much need for me to remind you all of the disappointment felt by all when that game was postponed. We are all eagerly looking forward to renewing rivalry with Castlehaven and having a right good go at the All-Ireland Club title.

Tonight sees the end of an era. John Evans, our most successful coach/manager ever, has decided to step down. John has had his ups and downs over the years but he, and the team he moulded, rose magnificently above anything on that glorious St. Patrick’s Day in ’96. John will never be forgotten for that marvellous achievement alone, but lets not forget the 3 Co. Championships, 2 Munster Championships, numerous Co. Leagues, Mid-Kerry Championships and Mid-Kerry Leagues won. It has been a glorious seven years in charge of the senior team. On behalf of all of us, I’d like to thank Bridie for the support she has given John during all that time and offer them our support and our prayers for the challenges that lay ahead of them. Thanks to John Griffin and Ger Counihan, his selectors, for their huge commitment to the team and the club in general. Both of them are also outstanding officers of the club.

Our ‘B’ team this year, under the guidance of James McEnery, as trainer, Maurice Corkery and Michael O Shea had a successful year. They achieved 3-in-a-row Molyneaux Cup wins, which is the Co. ‘B’ Championship. This was achieved with a hard-earned victory over a very strong St. Mary’s side. Indeed, they were unlucky not to hold on to the Junior League. In the final, they suffered a six-points’ defeat at the hands of Dr. Crokes. At the time of writing this report, I am uncertain as to the intentions of long-serving selector Maurice Corkery. I would hope that Maurice stays on and lends his experience to the new men coming in. Thanks to James for the time and effort you put in during the year.

Our ‘C’ team under the guidance of Michael O Shea, Dominic Crowley and Peter Lyons, gave a great account of themselves in ’97. They reached the semi-final of the Barrett Cup, going down eventually by 3 points to Austin Stacks. In their Urban League section, which had 13 teams, they had a great campaign. They beat Kerins O Rahillys in the semi-final by 3-8 to 1-4 and then went on to beat arch-rivals, Milltown/Castlemaine, in the final by 1-17 to 3-8, after extra-time.

The most frustrated manager around must be James Sheehan. The U-21 competition is once again being pushed around by the Co. Board. Having disposed of Crokes in round one, James and his team had to wait till last Saturday to play their quarter-final match v Mid-Kerry. Indeed, they put in a very spirited performance before running out deserving winners. We wish them the best of luck in the semi-final. Thanks to James Sheehan and his selectors, Jerry Coffey, Noel O Mahony and Maurice Corkery.

Minors

James, Jerry and Noel also took charge of the minor team this year. Preparations started early. Indeed, James had his charges in the gym throughout the winter for 2 classes a week. This proved to a tremendous success both on and off the field. The players got much stronger and they also built up good team spirit. This was evident straight away as this team went on to win the Co. Minor League, defeating Dr. Crokes in the final.

The draw for the Co. Championship didn’t do them any favours. They were drawn away to the pre-tournament favourites, West-Kerry. On the night, we didn’t play to our full potential and West-Kerry went on to win the match. Well done to James and his selectors, Noel and Jerry, on another fine year’s work. James has his players for next year in the local gym already, preparing for next year’s competitions.

Laune Rangers are once again involved with St. Mary’s hurling club. Representatives of both clubs held a meeting during the year to see how best we could help each other. We wish St. Mary’s all the best for ’98.

Congratulations to John Moriarty, who was on this year’s Kerry Minor panel, to M.F. Russell, John Sheehan and Pa O Sullivan, who were on the Kerry U-21 team, which won the Munster Championship and were so unlucky to be beaten by Meath in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Pride of place this year goes to our Kerry Senior panellists, Mike Hassett, who captained Kerry to the National League and Munster Championship honours, Liam Hassett, who claimed the ultimate for any footballer, the Sam Maguire after Mike had been so unfortunate with injuries. Congratulations to Billy O Shea who, by the sheer brilliance of his play, forced himself from the periphery of the panel at the start of the year to a starting place in the All-Ireland final. We all wish Billy all the best with the serious injury he sustained in the final. Congratulations also to Mike Frank Russell, who continues to rise to fame with some all-important scores for his county. Well done on being awarded young-player-of-the-year for ’97. The night Sam came to Killorglin after this year’s final surpassed anything we have witnessed in the past ten years for sheer crowd-size and atmosphere. To cap a memorable year for our county players, they were awarded their National League and All-Ireland medals at a very enjoyable banquet, held in the Gleneagle Hotel last night. Congratulations to all concerned with the Kerry team for restoring Kerry to its rightful place at the very top of Gaelic football.

Ladies Football Club

I would like to thank Anne Lynch, the Ladies’ Secretary, for all her good work during ’97 and we would wish the ladies all the best for next year and, if we can be of any assistance to you, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish both James Coffey and Jerome Conway well in the forthcoming elections for Joint-Treasurer and Vice-Chairman of the Co. Board, respectively.

To conclude, I would like to thank my fellow officers for their support during the past year and I would like to wish all our trainers and selectors all the best for ’98.”

 

Michael Ahern, PRO, in the absence of the Secretary, gave the following report to the AGM of Laune Rangers’ Bord na nOg in the Fishery on 26th Nov:

“Minors – Sponsored by The Fishery, trained by James Sheehan with fellow selectors, Jerry Coffey and Noel O Mahony, captured the Co. Minor League but were defeated by West-Kerry in the first round of the Co. Championship in a cracking contest in Aunascaul. The Mid-Kerry League and Championship have not commenced.

U-16A – Sponsored by the Fishery, trained by John Griffin with fellow selectors Mark O Connor and Paudie Sheahan, recaptured the Mid-Kerry Championship by defeating Beaufort in a thrilling encounter. This final went to a draw on two occasions with Rangers emerging victorious in Milltown on the score-line of 0-10 to 0-8. This U-16A team was defeated by two points in the semi-final of the Tralee District League. Earlier in the year, it had rather mixed luck in the County League and failed to make the play-off stages.

U-16B – Sponsored by the Fishery and managed by Pat O Riordan. The emergence of second teams at U-12 and U-14 in previous years has seen the necessity of forming a second team at U-16 level. There is no suitable competition at this grade in Mid-Kerry. They played in the Tralee District League and the County ‘B’ League, with a number of players coming through from U-14 and, under the dedication of Pat O Riordan, this squad is poised for future development and should be allowed to enter the Co. League in one of the lower divisions.

U-14A – Sponsored by Champs Super Valu and managed by Patrick Pigott, Patsy Joy and Jerry Foley, it swept all before it, capturing the Co. League, Co. Féile Championship, the Tralee District League and it has qualified to meet Cromane in the Mid-Kerry final at Milltown. The club and the players in this squad send every good wish for a speedy recovery to their gallant fullback, Sean Evans, who is at present undergoing medical treatment in hospital.

U-14B – Sponsored by O Grady’s Londis and managed by Jerry Coffey and Michael Ahern, the team played 19 games during the season. In competition, they captured the Co. ‘B’ League, defeating Tarbert with a brilliant display in the final. They had a great run in the Tralee District ‘B’ League, losing out to Churchill in the final. Again there is no suitable competition for this category at Mid-Kerry level and they should be allowed into the Co. League in one of the lower divisions.

U-12A – Sponsored by King-Print and Managed by Eddie Birmingham with selectors James Ferris and Jerry Houlihan, the team had no luck in the Co. League, was defeated in the semi-final of the Mid-Kerry Championship and was not successful in the Tralee District League.

U-12B – Sponsored by Flynn’s Bus Hire and trained by Patsy Joy, with Jerry Houlihan and James O Riordan as selectors, this team is the breeding ground for the Laune Rangers of the future. Players emerging from the U-10 ranks are prepared for the transition to U-12A and U-14. They have no suitable competition at Mid-Kerry or County levels.

U-10 and U-8 – the unsung heroes of the club are Iraneus Looney, Willie Fitzgerald and Pat O Brien who take the U-10’s every Sunday morning without fail, together with Eamonn Carey and his squad of U-8’s. The club is deeply indebted because these players, it can be truly said, are the young Laune Rangers.

The meeting once again recorded its disappointment with our exclusion from the All-Ireland Féile Competition for reasons beyond our control. Otherwise there was general satisfaction with our performances during the year, but there was a note of disappointment recorded concerning the performance of our U-12 team.”

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