Goals at vital stages of Saturday evening’s third round clash at JP O’Sullivan Park underlined the Killorglin side’s superiority, with Pa Joy, Peter Crowley and veteran Mike Frank Russell turning in excellent displays.
Joy was a revelation at full-forward; he dominated his opponent, kicked three super points and was the chief architect of Rangers’ first goal, scored by Shane McSweeney after 20 minutes.
The Killorglin side’s positioning of Peter Crowley in a sweeper’s role also bore fruit. The county player’s presence in front of his full-backs discouraged Milltown/Castlemaine’s tactic of delivering long ball into their full-forward line.
The opening ten minutes of the game had all the hallmarks of a derby clash, tight marking and huge intensity, but very little in the way of damage inflicted.
In fact, it took until the tenth minute for a score to be registered – a fine point by Joy after Peter Crowley had initiated an attack from deep inside his own half.
Further scores from Mike Frank Russell, one a free, the other a glorious 50-yard effort from play, either side of an Ian Twiss point, saw Rangers in front by 0-3 to 0-1 after 22 minutes.
Rangers then struck for a decisive goal. Joy beat his marker, Kevin McKenna, to the ball 40 yards out and, after a mazy run, put the ball on a plate for Shane McSweeney to volley to the net.
To their credit, Milltown/Castlemiane responded well to McSweeney’s goal and they tacked on points from Ian Twiss and a Marcus Mangan 45 to leave themselves just 1-3 to 0-3 in arrears at the break.
With the breeze to their backs, Laune Rangers tightened their grip on the game in the second half. The teams shared five points – three for Laune Rangers, two for Milltown/Castlemiane – before Kieran Doona effectively killed off the tie by finishing a sweeping move to the net midway through the second half. That left it 2-6 to 0-5 in favour of Rangers and no way back for All-Ireland Intermediate Club champions.
Both sides managed three further points each as the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
LAUNE RANGERS: T Lyons (capt); K Crowley, J Carey, J O’Callaghan; C Riordan, P Crowley, K Sheehan; J Sheahan, S McSweeney (1-0); T McGillycuddy, G Mahony, K Doona (1-1); M F Russell (0-4, 0-2 frees), P Joy (0-3), P Sheehan.
Subs: J O’Connor for P Sheehan (35), L Hassett (0-1) for G Mahony (43), M O’Sullivan for K Doona (60).
MILLTOWN/CASTLEMAINE: Joe Daly; Kevin McKenna; Damian Murphy (capt), John Blennerhassett; Paul Carroll, Marcus Mangan (0-1 45), Niall Colgan; Mike Burke, Donal Kelliher; Nigel Wrenn, Shane Murphy, Colin McKenna; Cathal Moriarty (0-1 free); Colm Kerins, Ian Twiss (0-2, 0-1 free).
Subs: J Flynn (0-1) for N Wrenn (ht), P Wrenn for C McKenna (ht), D Twiss (0-3 frees) for I Twiss (43), J O’Connor for D Murphy (50).
Referee: James O’Sullivan (Firies).