Rangers show bot­tle but Saints march on

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - DAMIAN STACK

Feale Rangers 1-13 St Kier­ans 1-14

IT was hard not to feel a cer­tain amount of sym­pa­thy for Feale Rangers.

They’d done so well for so long and did so against the odds that their late turn­around in for­tunes seemed cruel to a cer­tain ex­tent. There was an en­ergy and a pur­pose to Feale Rangers on Sun­day that would seem to bode well for their fu­ture.

It’s been a while now since it felt like the Rangers were on the march or a force to be reck­oned with. True enough they lost both their games this year, but def­i­nite progress has been made.

The foot­ball they played against St Kier­ans on Sun­day af­ter­noon was re­ally rather good. Pur­pose­ful and di­rect with an abil­ity to mix it be­tween long ball to­wards Conor Cox – who ex­celled in the game – and a more in­tri­cate pass­ing game through David Fo­ran at cen­tre-for­ward.

They were ar­guably the bet­ter side in this game for longer than the win­ners were. Poor fin­ishes to both halves, how­ever, proved their un­do­ing. With a stiff breeze at their backs in the first half they needed to be fur­ther ahead than just a point at the break.

Rangers’ first half play prob­a­bly de­served bet­ter than that too. Af­ter a tit-for-tat open­ing fif­teen min­utes – Rangers held a 0-4 to 0-3 lead at the end of the open­ing quar­ter – they be­gan to re­ally as­sert them­selves on the scoreboard with Damien Somers com­ing into his own around the mid­dle of the park.

Three fur­ther points from Cox and the im­pres­sive Pádraig Quille gave the home side a four point lead by the twenty fourth minute – 0-7 to 0-3. The loss of Cor­mac Mul­vhill around this time to a sec­ond yel­low card, how­ever, was al­ways likely to come against the Rangers.

Still Rangers man­aged to main­tain that four point lead un­til the twenty sixth minute fol­low­ing a pair of swapped points from Philip O’Con­nor – im­pres­sive through­out – and Cox.

From there it was hard to imag­ine that the home side wouldn’t carry a de­cent lead into the sec­ond half, but Kier­ans ral­lied well and took full ad­van­tage of a lit­tle in­dis­ci­pline in the Rangers de­fence.

Twice Seán Óg Ó Ciar­dub­háin came up from goals to take frees from in and around forty five me­tres out and twice the Cordal man struck sweetly over the bar into the Cow’s Lawn end with a stiff breeze fac­ing him down. Im­pres­sive stuff.

A point from Bal­ly­ma­cel­lig­ott man Ai­dan Breen com­pleted the come­back for Kier­ans – 0-9 to 0-8 – and from there it was hard to see any other win­ner to the game than Kier­ans.

The Saints had the breeze and a sub­stan­tial one it was too and they had the ad­van­tage of an ex­tra man. That had to tell and in the end it prob­a­bly did, but for the long­est time the Rangers seemed to­tally un­en­cum­bered by it.

Jimmy Deeni­han’s men at­tacked the sec­ond half with the same gusto with which they at­tacked the first half. De­spite a push from the visi­tors af­ter the break – which could have yielded a goal for Luka Bros­nan

but for a block by the bril­liant Pat Corridan – Rangers re­mained com­pet­i­tive.

It was only when Kier­ans drew level at 0-9 apiece fol­low­ing a point by Thomas Hickey (as­sist Sea­mus Bros­nan) that the game ap­peared to be go­ing ac­cord­ing to script and even then that didn’t last too long.

Two min­utes af­ter Hickey’s point, on forty one min­utes, Rangers pounced for a bril­liant goal. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of hes­i­tancy in the Kier­ans de­fence Ger McCarthy com­bined with Fo­ran to set the Se­nans man up for a mem­o­rable goal and with that goal came even greater be­lief for the hosts.

By forty seven min­utes Rangers had ex­tended their lead to five – 1-11 to 0-9 – af­ter points by Quille and Cox (a free). A cou­ple of swapped points from the two full-backs – Pat Corridan and Shane Fitz­mau­rice – did lit­tle to al­ter the sta­tus quo. With less than ten min­utes to go it looked like Rangers’ game to lose.

Lose it they did, how­ever. A point for Seán Ho­ran on fifty one min­utes gave lit­tle in­di­ca­tion of what was the come.

St Kier­ans goal when it came seemed to come a lit­tle out of nowhere given how well Corridan and Seán T Dil­lon were do­ing in the Rangers full-back line. A long ball in was claimed then despatched bril­liantly by Ho­ran.

All of a sud­den Kier­ans looked the more en­er­getic side. Sea­mus Scan­lon, who’d thun­dered into the game in the sec­ond half, set up Philip O’Con­nor for a point two min­utes af­ter the goal to level it up at 1-12 each.

Rangers were now reel­ing and Kier­ans surg­ing. O’Con­nor got a sec­ond point two min­utes later to fire Kier­ans in front and, while Rangers man­aged to level it back up again, Kier­ans were al­ways the more likely to get a win­ner. On hand to de­liver it was sec­ond half sub Pa McCarthy.

In the end, de­spite all the Rangers good play, Kier­ans had a bit more about them when it counted and where it counted. The ex­tra man ob­vi­ously took its toll on Rangers, but more so than that the Kier­ans bench was the big dif­fer­ence.

Kier­ans scored 1-4 off the bench. Rangers didn’t get any­thing off the bench. Rangers had four dif­fer­ent scor­ers and Kier­ans had nine. Pat O’Shea’s men have plenty to im­prove upon, but un­like Rangers they now have the chance to do so. They must grab it with both hands.

FEALE RANGERS: Jeremiah Kelly (Duagh), Seán T Dil­lon (St Se­nans), Pat Corridan (0-1) (Fin­uge), Niall Collins (Lis­towel Em­mets), Thomas Scan­lon (Duagh), Shane Stack (Moy­vane), Ger McCarthy (Lis­towel Em­mets), Damien Somers, Éa­monn Fla­herty (Moy­vane), Bryan Sweeney (Lis­towel Em­mets), David Fo­ran (1-1) (St Se­nans), Cor­mac Mul­vhill (Lis­towel Em­mets), Martin Stack (Moy­vane), Conor Cox (0-8, 5f) (Lis­towel Em­mets), Pádraig Quille (0-3) (St Se­nans) Subs: Aaron O’Con­nor (Duagh) for B Sweeney, half-time, Nigel O’Con­nor (Duagh) for M Stack, 55

ST KIER­ANS: Seán Óg Ó Ciar­dub­háin (0-3f) (Cordal), John O’Con­nor (Cur­row), Shane Fitz­mau­rice (0-1) (Brosna), Micheál Reidy (Bal­ly­ma­cel­lig­ott), Luka Bros­nan (Castleis­land Des­monds), Ea­mon Kiely (Brosna), Cian Couni­han (Bal­ly­ma­cel­lig­ott), Sea­mus Bros­nan (Cur­row), Sea­mus Scan­lon (Cur­row), Thomas Lynch (Castleis­land Des­monds), Philip O’Con­nor (0-4, 1f) (Cordal), Ai­dan Breen (0-1) (Bal­ly­ma­cel­lig­ott), Vin­cent Ho­ran (0-1) (Bal­ly­ma­cel­lig­ott), Dan O’Shea (Cur­row), Adam Barry (0-1f) (Brosna) Subs: Daniel Mur­phy (Scartaglin) for T Lynch, 32, Thomas Hickey (0-1) (Castleis­land Des­monds) for D O’Shea, 39, Pa McCarthy (0-1) for V Ho­ran, 45, Seán Ho­ran (1-1) for C Couni­han, 45

REF­EREE: Tom Mo­ri­arty (Le­gion)

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