Glen­beigh/ Glen­car re­gain Mid Kerry ti­tle as Rangers wait goes on

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - SPORT - Ja­son O’Con­nor The Ai­dan O’Shea era ends on a high for Glen­beigh/Glen­car as Laune Rangers make real progress

AF­TER a 36 year wait for the Michael O’Con­nor Cup be­tween 1975 and 2011, Glen­beigh / Glen­car have done more than enough to make up for the ab­sence of a se­nior dis­trict ti­tle for the club in well over a gen­er­a­tion.

Their fourth win in eight years last Sun­day saw them move to nine Mid Kerry suc­cesses in to­tal and back level with Beau­fort in joint third in the role of hon­our. That it came at the venue of last Sun­day’s op­po­nents made it all the more sig­nif­i­cant, but for their man­ager Ai­dan O’Shea it marked a sig­nif­i­cant end to this run over the se­nior side.

O’Shea took the reins of the side in the af­ter­math of their 2015 County Ju­nior Fi­nal de­feat to Tem­ple­noe be­fore go­ing on to win the de­layed stag­ing of the 2015 com­pe­ti­tion in early 2016 against Mill­town / Castle­maine at Sun­day’s venue as well mark­ing a sig­nif­i­cant start and fin­ish for the All-Ire­land Ju­nior Club Cham­pi­onship-win­ning man­ager.

Last Sun­day owed much to the long hard jour­ney the club have trav­elled to places like En­nis and Croke Park in putting them in to the up­per ech­e­lons of the county. In­deed, O’Shea put last Sun­day’s win down to ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Maybe we didn’t show it [ex­pe­ri­ence] at times, but thank­fully it was there when it mat­tered. We stuck at it through­out and the char­ac­ter was there when it mat­tered as there were a num­ber of oc­ca­sions when we could have folded dur­ing the match,” the out­go­ing Glen­beigh / Glen­car boss said.

While dis­ap­pointed with the first-half dis­play in gen­eral O’Shea felt that one of the good things about it was the late points ac­crued to make it a two­point game at half-time. He also felt Laune Rangers showed a lot of the prom­ise that the Kil­lor­glin club’s un­der­age re­vival is start­ing to bring with it.

“I think Laune Rangers have def­i­nitely turned a cor­ner and are on the way up. With the young lads they have com­ing through they will def­i­nitely dom­i­nate this com­pe­ti­tion in years to come so it is im­por­tant to win on days like to­day when they are on of­fer to you,” he said.

One in­ter­est­ing fea­ture of Glen­beigh /Glen­car’s win last Sun­day was how it came with­out their usual scorer-in-chief Ga­van O’Grady as well as a ream of in­juries that af­fected their year in gen­eral.

“We def­i­nitely didn’t have it our own way this year when it came to in­juries, Tommy Cahill

re-in­jured his ham­string in the Mill­town / Castle­maine game and couldn’t train prop­erly be­fore to­day, the same with Pa Kilkenny and Seán Roche, but over­all I am happy with how we sal­vaged the sea­son be­cause it would have been easy to throw in the towel half­way through when we were rel­e­gated from Di­vi­sion 1 and had all these in­juries.

“The main thing though was that we were only los­ing a lot of matches by a score and thank­fully what didn’t kill us then cer­tainly made us stronger when it came to this time of the year,” O’Shea said about res­cu­ing their sea­son.

It’s easy to for­get that Glen­beigh / Glen­car were the only side to take a point off Dr Crokes in the County League this year de­spite their rel­e­ga­tion and de­spite O’Shea con­firm­ing he is step­ping away now from the role he still feels there is some­thing for a new man­age­ment to work with in 2019.

“You should have Dar­ran [O’Sul­li­van], Pa [Kilkenny] and Ga­van [O’Grady] back fully for next year, Ga­van was only about a week away from mak­ing this game ac­tu­ally so there is plenty for the play­ers to bounce back from at county level when they start again in the New Year.

“Over­all as a man­age­ment we are very happy with what we achieved over the last three years be­tween two Mid Kerry ti­tles, a Mid Kerry League and the All-Ire­land Ju­nior, it was some­thing to be very proud of.”

The in­tro­duc­tion of Arthur Fitzger­ald to the set-up can be viewed as a boost as well along­side the ef­forts of Peter O’Sul­li­van, O’Shea and his brother Kieran as team physio. Ai­dan him­self might well be con­sid­ered a can­di­date for fur­ther man­age­rial roles in the years to come but in gen­eral for Glen­beigh / Glen­car they en­ter the fi­nal year of the decade with the chance to en­sure half of its ti­tles are theirs.

Only Mill­town / Castle­maine (2010, 2012 and 2014) have the chance to match them, but real­is­ti­cally Beau­fort and Laune Rangers ap­pear to be their big­gest threat in 2019 at lo­cal level.

With Mike Frank Rus­sell and John Shee­han step­ping away from the se­nior set-up this year, Laune Rangers fielded their first side of non-Mid Kerry win­ners last Sun­day since the dom­i­nance of 1988-2006 when they won the com­pe­ti­tion 16 out of 19 times as part of their 28 wins in to­tal.

John Tyther, Fi­achra Clif­ford and Dáire Cleary should be at the fore­front of their at­tempts to end a 13 year wait along­side Peter Crow­ley.

How­ever, a more im­me­di­ate pri­or­ity must surely be get­ting straight out of Di­vi­sion 4 next year and start­ing the road back to where they were in their prime. Mid Kerry at se­nior level didn’t have a great year in gen­eral in 2018, but the com­pe­ti­tion re­mains fierce for lo­cal hon­ours.

All bar Cro­mane have con­tested a Se­nior Fi­nal this decade in the dis­trict as they will hope there is some chance of chal­leng­ing now Don­nachadh Walsh has hung up the boots at in­ter-county level.

Whether or not it is ever dom­i­nated to the ex­tent it was by Laune Rangers again is hard to say but the play­ing per­son­nel is still there at present to keep the more ru­ral clubs in con­tention in Mid Kerry.

The new Michael O’Con­nor Cup makes its first visit to the vil­lages of Glen­beigh and Glen­car and it cer­tainly will take pride of place as the club gets ready to en­ter a new phase in 2019.

What didn’t kill us then cer­tainly made us stronger when it came to this time of the year – Ai­dan O’Shea

Main: Glen­beigh Glen­car Se­nior team cel­e­brate their vic­tory in the Mid Kerry Se­nior Cham­pi­onship fi­nal

Cen­tre left: Ger Couni­han of Bunkers Bar and Res­tau­rant pre­sent­ing the Man of the Match Award to Dar­ran O’Sul­li­van Glen­beigh Glen­car at the Mid Kerry Se­nior Cham­pi­onship fi­nal at JP O’Sul­li­van Park, Kil­lor­glin on Sun­dayCen­tre right: Shane Daly, Laune Rangers caught by Seán Roche, Glen­beigh Glen­car in the Mid Kerry Se­nior Cham­pi­onship fi­nal at JP O’Sul­li­van ParkPho­tos by Michelle Cooper Galvin

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