Mid Kerry, with county men Darran O’Sullivan and Donnchadh Walsh and former Kerry star Sean O’Sullivan in their starting line-up, were expected to win this tie, but the scoring threat of Kerry U21 star Conor Cox proved decisive. Cox finished with 10 points, eight of which came from frees, and his accuracy from placed balls which included some delightful efforts from long range drew warm rounds of applause from both sets of supporters.
Mid Kerry will be disappointed by this setback and will now face a potentially difficult losers’ round against Legion next weekend.
The loss of the Milltown/Castlemaine players to the divisional set-up has obviously weakened Mid Kerry, who last tasted Championship success in 2008.
The game was very evenly balanced throughout. At half-time in normal time, the North Kerry men held a 0-6 to 0-5 advantage, and going into the final quarter, they extended this to three points, 0-9 to 0-6.
However, Mid Kerry, with Darran and Sean O’Sullivan to the fore, fought back to take a two-point lead entering the final few minutes in normal time, before Cox came to the rescue for Feale Rangers and forced extra time.
A goal from Aaron Cahillane seemed to have given Mid Kerry the advantage but Rangers refused to surrender and efforts from Cox and a late point from sub Brendán Whelan saw them home and into the third round.
Kerry star Anthony Maher had a fine game at midfield for the winners who were operating with their Finuge contingent following their intermediate success last year.
Scorers Feale Rangers: C Cox (0-10, 8 frees), B Murphy, P Quille (0-2 each), D Walsh, K Quirke, A Maher, N O’Connor and B Whelan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Mid Kerry: S O’Sullivan (4 frees), G O’Grady (5 frees) (0-6 each), A Cahillane (1-0), G Sayers, D O’Sullivan, D Walsh (0-1 each).
FEALE RANGERS: J Kelly (Duagh); E O’Connor (Duagh), B Guiney (Listowel Emmets), J McGuire (Listowel Emmets); G McCarthy (Listowel Emmets), K Quirke (Duagh), B McGuire (Listowel Emmets); A Maher (Duagh), J Browne (St Senan’s); M O’Connor (Duagh), D Sheehy (Listowel Emmets), P Quille (St Senan’s); S Weir (St Senan’s), C Cox (Listowel Emmets), N O’Connor (Duagh).
Subs: D Walsh for M O’Connor (inj), J Barry (Listowel Emmets) for D Walsh, S Quinn (Listowel Emmets), B Murphy (Laune Rangers) for D Sheehy, B Whelan (St Senan’s) for N O’Connor.
MID KERRY: M Moriarty (Beaufort, Capt); A Cahillane (Keel), J Coffey (Beaufort), G Hartnett (Beaufort); P Kilkenny (Glenbeigh/Glencar), R Murphy (Beaufort), B Murphy (Glenbeigh/Glencar); C McGillycuddy (Glenbeigh/ Glencar), F Griffin (Glenbeigh/Glencar); G Sayers (Keel), D O’Sullivan (Glenbeigh/Glencar), D Walsh (Cromane); S O’Sullivan (Keel), G O’Grady (Glenbeigh/Glencar), L Carey (Beaufort).
Subs: J Long (Keel) for B Murphy M Shaughnessy (Glenbeigh/Glencar) for L Carey, D Flaherty (Cromane) for G Sayers.
Referee: T Brosnan (Dr Crokes).