O’Connor’s goals crucial as Dingle march into last four

Dingle 2-12 Feale Rangers 1-13

The North Kerry amalgamation, playing their first game since June 17, were unable to start Kerry midfielder Anthony Maher due to tonsillitis, but fought bravely with Kerry U21 Conor Cox hitting 1-8 for the losers.

The losers mounted a late surge but Dingle held their nerve to the relief of manager Murt Moriarty.

“The lads never believe in doing things easy. We are just delighted to be in the semi-final. We feel the way the lads have worked for the past couple of years; this is where we should be. We made very heavy weather of it but Feale Rangers are a top class side, with county players all over the pitch. We are just glad to be over it and the focus is now on the semi. It was the opposite to what happened to us last year; when we went down eight points and came back to almost steal it against East Kerry. We deserve to be in the semi-final but we must improve.”

Rangers’ boss Brian Scanlon admitted the lengthy lay-off proved hugely costly. “We gave Dingle too much of a start. I don’t want to make excuses but the bye to the last eight killed us. You learn more about your team in 20 minutes of a Championship game, than you would in 20 challenge games. We had some tough calls to make in naming the team; some worked, some didn’t, but you only learn that in championship games. Some of our players did not play up to scratch, and we gave Dingle too big a lead at the start, but we did very well to come back to within a point with five minutes to go.”

The big lead which Scanlon spoke of saw Dingle race 1-3 to 0-0 clear by the seventh minute, thanks to points from Paul Geaney (2) a David Geaney 45 and an O’Connor goal after Brendan Kelliher’s kick dropped short.

Dingle were on top around midfield, until the introduction of Maher in the 22nd minute, with Brendan Kelliher and Mikey Geaney very influential. Rangers were relying on scraps up front and had only three frees on the board from Cox, Noel Kennelly and Patrick Curtin before Cox had their first score from play in the 25th minute.

By that stage Dingle were 2-7 to 0-4 in front, thanks to a second O’Connor goal in the 22nd minute after he fired Mikey Geaney’s long delivery to the back of the net.

By the 41st minute Dingle led by 2-11 to 0-8 and looked in complete control, but Rangers thanks to Maher, Paul Galvin and John Griffin, rallied and with Cox in incredible form, suddenly the deficit was only four. Then in the 55th minute, Galvin set up Cox for a goal to leave just a point between the sides. However Dingle lifted the siege and Ryan Begley edged them ahead.

Rangers had two late chances to close the gap but the efforts were wasted. Adding to Rangers’ misery, Cox was red carded for an off-the-ball incident as the game ended in controversy.

Scorers for Dingle: P Geaney 0-6 (0-2 frees), B O’Connor 2-0, J Sheehy 0-2 (0-1 free), D Geaney 0-1 ’45, B Kelliher, P Devane and R Begley 0-1 each.

Scorers for Feale Rangers: C Cox 1-8 (0-4 frees), P Curtin 0-3 (0-1 free), N Kennelly 0-2 (0-1 free),

DINGLE: S O Flatharta, T B Brosnan, J Murphy, G Curran, A Devane, B Kelliher, J B Brosnan, C B Moriarty, D O’Sullivan, P Devane, M Geaney, J Sheehy, P Geaney, B O’Connor, D Geaney

Subs: R Begley for P Devane (56), J Kelliher for A Devane (57), M Evans for D Geaney (61)

FEALE RANGERS: K Fitzmaurice (Finuge); J Mulvihill (Moyvane), B McGuire (Emmets), B Guiney (Emmets); G McCarthy (Emmets), P Corridan (Emmets), M Corridan (Emmets); D Leahy (Moyvane), D Somers (St Senan’s); P Galvin (Finuge), E Galvin (Finuge), D Walsh (Emmets); N Kennelly (Emmets), C Cox (Emmets), P Curtin (Moyvane)

Subs: A Maher (Duagh) for D Leahy (22), J Griffin (Finuge) for E Galvin (23), J McGuire (Emmets) for J Mulvihill (h/t), J Barry (Emmets) for G McCarthy (44), C O’Connor for D Walsh (55)

Referee: Ger Lynch (Ballymac).

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