Laune Rangers received a roasting at midfield in the first-half. with Seamus Moynihan defying the age barrier at centre-back for East Kerry. Donal Daly and Andrew Garnett were rampant at midfield and Mike O’Donoghue, at centre-forward, had the home side’s defence at sixes and sevens.
Laune Rangers were already struggling when East Kerry caught them with a sucker punch after 10 minutes. Rangers had hardly stopped celebrating a Mike Frank Russell point when Andrew Garnett had the ball in the net at the other end.
It all started with a fine run by Fintan Coffey who had been brought into a reshuffled defence to replace injured full-back Michael O’Donoghue. Coffey took the ball deep into the Laune defence and laid it off to John Paul Brosnan who caught Garnett on the run and the Spa man put the perfect finishing touch to the move.
Laune levelled with points from Russell and Geoffrey Mahony but East Kerry were now well on top at midfield and two points from Niall O’Mahony and another from John Paul Brosnan sent them into the half time break leading 1-4 to 0-4.
In a bid to bolster midfield, Laune had brought on their injured captain, John Lynch and, after half time, Hassett was brought out in a further bid to stem the flow. He heralded his arrival with a long range point within 30 seconds of the restart. Mike O’Donoghue landed a free for the East and Liam Murphy appeared to have a goal chance when he fisted the ball wide.
But Hassett’s contribution began to pay dividends. Substitute Pa O’Sullivan was narrowly wide from one his passes and another pass found centre-back John Sheehan whose shot was deflected over the bar by Colin Counihan.
Points from Mike Frank Russell (free) and substitute Pa Joy put Laune Rangers on level terms and the sides were still tied going into the final minutes when corner forward Shane McSweeney scored what proved to be the decisive point for Laune Rangers from long range.
Scorers for Laune Rangers: M. F. Russell 0-3 (0-2 frees), L. Hassett 0-2 each, J. Sheehan, P. Joy, P. O’Sullivan, G. Mahony, S. McSweeney 0-1 each.
East Kerry: A. Garnett 1-0, N. O’Mahoney and M. O’Donoghue (frees) 0-2 each, J. Sheehan, J. P. Brosnan, 0-1 each.
LAUNE RANGERS: T. Lyons; J. O’Callaghan, E. Ferris, J. Carey; K. Crowley, J. Sheehan, P. Crowley; B. O’Shea, M. Foley; G. Mahony, S. Foley, C. O’Connor; S. McSweeney, L. Hassett, M. F. Russell.
Subs: P. Sheehan for J. O’Callaghan (22 mins); J. Lynch for B. O’Shea, P. O’Sullivan for G. O’Mahony (H.T.), P. Joy for C. O’Connor (50 mins).
EAST KERRY: C. Counihan (Listry); J. Sheehan Gneeveguilla), E. Lawlor (Gneeveguilla) , A. Looney Firies; P. Murphy (Spa), S. Moynihan Glenflesk), F. Coffey (Fossa); D. Daly (Firies), A. Garnett (Spa); S. Dennehy (Glenflesk), M. O’Donoghue (Spa), J. P. Brosnan (Gneeveguilla); N. O’Mahoney (Spa), L. Murphy (Gneeveguilla), M. Murphy (Gneeveguilla).
Subs: D. J. O’Connor for F. Coffey (42 mins),D. J. O’Connor for L. Murphy (58 mins).
Referee: Michael Curran (Dromid).