Laune Rangers 1-14 West Kerry 0-16 (AET): Laune Rangers, inspired by Mike Frank Russell and captain Shane McSweeney, edged out West Kerry in this epic county championship battle at JP O’Sullivan Park, Killorglin, yesterday.
The losers lined out without Marc Ó Sé and their supporters will wonder what the outcome might have been had the An Ghaeltacht man been available. His clubmate Seán Mici Ó Conchúir was the star man for the amalgamation, finishing the day with nine points, five of those from frees.
However, at the other end, former Kerry star Russell was equally impressive from placed balls, converting six efforts and adding two more points from play.
The opening half was primarily a battle of the place kickers, with Ó Conchúir’s efforts edging West Kerry into a two-point interval lead (0-7 to 0-5). A brilliant point from Russell put the winners ahead by a point in the 41st minute, before Ó Conchúir levelled at the three-quarter mark.
Ó Conchúir and Colm Muircheartaigh quickly nailed two points, before Shane McSweeney fired home the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute.
With Peter Crowley now at midfield, driving Rangers on, the advantage was with the Killorglin side. The spirited westerners refused to throw in the towel and points from Seán Mici and Eanna Ó Conchúir had them level with time almost up.
David Costello looked to have given Laune Rangers the win in injury time, but again Ó Conchúir came to his side’s rescue with a free which forced extra time.
Last year’s Kerry minor Brian Rayel and Ó Conchúir gave the visitors a two-point lead at the end of the first period of extra time and it appeared that the momentum had swung in favour of the West Kerry side.
Eanna Ó Conchúir and McSweeney traded early points, before Russell (2) and substitute Ronan Sayers had the sides all square with four minutes remaining.
Fittingly, captain McSweeney came to the fore when the need was greatest, landing what proved to be the winning point.
West-Kerry had one final chance to draw level, but sharpshooter Ó Conchúir’s radar was off and his effort veered wide of the post.
Laune Rangers go through to the last 16, while West Kerry must take the scenic route.
Scorers for Laune Rangers:
M F Russell (0-8, 6f), S McSweeney (1-2), J O Shea (0-2, 2f), D Costello and R Sayers (0-1 each).
Scorers for West Kerry:
Sean M Ó Conchúir (0-9, 5fs), A Fitzgerald (0-2, 2f), E Ó Conchúir and Colm Ó Muircheartaigh (0-2 each), B Rayel (0-1).
T Lyons, T O’Callaghan, M O’Sullivan, J Carey, K Crowley, P Crowley, C Riordan, P Murphy, M Foley, R Keane, J O’Shea, J Tyther, P Joy, S McSweeney, M Frank Russell.
Subs: J Sheehan for P Murphy D Costelloe for C Riordan R Sayers for J O’Shea C Riordan for R Keane.
T Mac an tSaoir (An Ghaeltacht) , G O’Connor (Castlegregory), C ÓLuing (An Ghaeltacht) , G Fitzgerald (Castlegregory) , G Nunan (Lispole) , J Hickson (Annascaul), C Ó Muircheartaigh (An Ghaeltacht) , R Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht), M Fitzgerald (Lispole), E Ó Conchúir (An Ghaeltacht), B Rayel (Lispole), A Fitzgerald (Castlegregory), A Kelliher (Castlegregory), Sean M Ó Conchuir (An Ghaeltacht), C O’Mahony (Castlegregory).
Subs: P Óg Ó Sé (An Ghaeltacht) for C O’Mahony, J Crean (Annascaul) for A Fitzgerald, G Lenihan (Annascaul) for A Kelliher, E Currity (Annascaul) for G Fitzgerald.
E Walsh, Rathmore.
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