Laune Rangers, with a polished second-half display, recorded a comfortable victory over St Brendan’s in the opening round of the Kerry senior football championship at JP O’Sullivan Park, Killorglin on Saturday.
Colm O’Shea’s goal two minutes after the restart set the hosts on their way and their slick interplay was too much for the divisional side, who had battled gamely over the opening half hour.
Two brilliantly struck points from Mike Frank Russell, one from a free and the second from a 45, gave the home side the ideal start.
Kieran Hurley opened Brendan’s account in the 6th minute with a long range effort.
Towards the end of the opening quarter, the lively Pa Joy and Russell, from a free, doubled Rangers’ advantage. Hurley kicked another fine effort to leave Rangers leading 0-4 to 0-2 approaching the second quarter.
This was St Brendan’s best spell, with Liam O’Sullivan and John Dowling dominating at midfield. Rangers were under pressure and conceded some sloppy frees which were impressively converted by Darragh Carmody.
Michael Griffin was also to the fore for St Brendan’s and he kicked over two fine points. However, points from Russell (free) and Shane McSweeney broke the home side’s scoring drought and left them trailing by two points (0-8 to 0-6) at the interval.
Kerry defender Peter Crowley was switched to midfield for the second half, and it proved a masterstroke in breaking the St Brendan’s stranglehold of the sector. O’Shea’s goal was the game-changer and points from Pa Joy and Crowley soon had Laune Rangers back in the ascendancy. Hurley and Carmody tried valiantly to revive Brendan’s but, with Joy and Russell finding the range, the hosts were in control entering the final straight.
Laune Rangers now head for the last 16 while St Brendan’s face the losers round on June 7.
Scorers for Laune Rangers: M F Russell 0-6, (0-4 frees, 0-1’45), C O’Shea 1-0, P Joy 0-3, P Crowley 0-2 ‘45’s, J Sheehan, J Tyther, D Macbeth and S McSweeney 0-1.
Scorers for St Brendan’s: D Carmody 0-6 frees, K Hurley 0-3, M Griffin 0-2, A O Donoghue 0-1.
LAUNE RANGERS: T Lyons; K Crowley, J Carey , K Sheehan; P Crowley, J Sheehan , J Tyther; P Murphy, S Daly; D Macbeth, S McSweeney, C O’Shea, M F Russell, G O’Mahony, P Joy.
Subs: R Keane for S Daly, C Riordan for G O’Mahony, S O’Connor for M F Russell, M O’Sullivan for K Sheehan.
ST BRENDAN’S: N O’Sullivan (Ardfert); S Moloney (John Mitchels), L Bastible (John Mitchels), R Horgan (Ardfert); L Mulligan (St Pat’s), J Barry (Na Gaeil), M Brennan (Churchill); L O’Sullivan (St Pat’s), D Griffin (Ardfert); J Dowling (Ardfert), A O’Donoghue (John Mitchels), B Poff (St Pat’s); D Carmody (Na Gaeil), M Griffin (Na Gaeil), K Hurley (St Pat’s).
Subs: F Horgan ((Ardfert) for L Bastible, A Byrne (St Pat’s) for R Horgan, L Bastible for M Brennan.
Referee: James O Sullivan (Firies)