Russell scored a second half penalty as Rangers won a tight game, 1-12 to 1-8, in Killorglin yesterday.
Rangers led 0-8 to 0-5 at the break and always had their noses in front, despite a late penalty from Spa star and Kerry junior footballer Michael O’Donoghue that led to an exciting finale.
West Kerry and Kenmare required extra time in the respective wins over Shannon Rangers and Ardfert.
County man Tomás Ó Sé was in inspirational form for the western amalgamation as they edged out underdogs Rangers (1-19 to 0-14) in Ballylongford.
The winners struggled without Darragh Ó Sé at centrefield and were on the back foot for most of the opening half. Rangers impressed with Kerry hurler Mikey Boyle, Eddie Mangan and Barry O’Grady to the fore. Rangers led 0-8 to 0-7 at the interval as West Kerry responded with points from Eoin MacGearailt, Niall Sheehy, Sean M Ó Conchúir (3), Mick Fitzgerald and Brendan O’Driscoll.
Tomás Ó Sé’s surging runs from centre back saw his side move 0-11 to 0-9 clear at the end of the third quarter with the county man, Eamon Hickson, Niall Sheehy and Ó Conchúir all pointing. However Rangers refused to quit as Boyle kicked three points to level before Ó Conchúir gave West Kerry a one point lead approaching injury time before Mikey Boyle levelled with his eighth point seconds later.
West Kerry started extra time with Tomás Ó Sé and Micheal O’Shea at midfield and Marc Ó Sé at centre back and the ploy worked superbly. West Kerry added early points from Ó Conchúir and Shane Foley before the game was over as a contest in the sixth minute when Shane Foley was hauled down for a penalty, and Brendan O’Driscoll made no mistake from the spot.
Meanwhile Kenmare were forced to overturn a seven points deficit before overcoming a brave Ardfert in this extra time thriller at Templenoe on Saturday night (2-13 to 2-9).
Ardfert dominated the first half with Sean Flaherty a central figure at midfield, but the sides were level at 0-3 apiece at the end of the opening quarter. But a goal from corner back Stephen Leen helped Ardfert to a 1-5 to 0-4 interval lead. Two early Stephen Wallace points, extended Ardfert’s lead and Kenmare looked to be on their way out of the championship. Crucially Flor O’Sullivan and Mike Randles gained control at midfield for the hosts and they were right back in it when Teddy Doyle goaled in the 35th minute to reduce the margin to three points. Slowly they reeled Ardfert in before a Liam O’Shea free levelled it at 1-7 apiece and force extra time.
Ardfert struck first on the restart, following a barren 30 minute spell, when Stephen Wallace won a penalty and his brother Damian dispatched to the net. However Kenmare were back in front by the end of the opening half, when Donal O’Connor goaled for a 2-8 to 2-7 lead. Ardfert refused to give up and points from Damien Wallace and John Egan had them a point in front but five unanswered points from Kenmare were enough to see them through to the third round while Ardfert head for a relegation battle.
Former All-Ireland intermediate football club champions St Michaels/Foilmore secured their topflight status in the Kerry senior football championships thanks to victory over Legion (0-10 to 1-4) in Killarney on Saturday.
It was St Michaels/Foilmore’s ability to pick off scores at crucial times that proved the difference in Direen, as Eanna O’Connor scored two important points in the final 10 minutes.
And while Legion’s Jonathon Lyne impressed with his marking job on former Kerry senior Ronan O’Connor, the St Michaels/Foilmore forward still scored three points.