Rangers show bottle but Saints march on
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)