Rangers collapse as Saints cruise

County SFC Preliminary Round: St Brendans 6-24 Shannon Rangers 1-8

Kieran Donovan, Shannon Rangers and Danny Wren St Brendans in action during the County SFC qualifier at Austin Stack Park Tralee. Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus
Kieran Donovan, Shannon Rangers and Danny Wren St Brendans in action during the County SFC qualifier at Austin Stack Park Tralee. Photo by Domnick Walsh / Eye Focus

Timmy Sheehan

The final scoreline tells its own story and the margin of victory could have been greater given the number of gilt-edged goal chances which St Brendans failed to capitalise upon, with Rangers goalkeeper Sean Dee denying them with a few outstanding saves.

With a depleted squad available to them the North Kerry side were struggling from an early stage in proceedings despite a Jim Cremin goal in the fourth minute, with the wing forward neatly converting low beyond the reach of the St Brendans goalkeeper. It put Shannon Rangers in front for the only time in the game, but once St Brendans got into their stride it was largely one way traffic thereafter.

Level 1-0 to 0-3 after six minutes, St Brendans dominant in midfield with a monopoly of possession were unable to convert a number of clear cut goal opportunities, but with five different players kicking points they were 0-7 to 1-0 in front at the end of the opening quarter.

Eventually the goal which had been on the cards from an early stage arrived in the eighteenth minute and it came about at the end of a surging run from Jack Barry who created the opportunity for Ivan Parker and he duly dispatched a fisted effort beyond the reach of Sean Dee.

Shannon Rangers did have some opportunities in sporadic attacks and breached the St Brendans defence rather easily on occasion.

They were off target with a few relatively easy opportunities from frees before Darragh Sheehy secured their second score in the 20th minute.

Indeed, they seemed to have justifiable claims for a penalty in the twenty first minute and, with Sheehy adding another pointed free, they must have felt at this stage that if they had availed of the chances from placed balls and been awarded and scored the penalty there would have been very little between the sides with less than ten minutes remaining in the half.

However, St Brendans stepped up a gear and finished the half with a scoring flourish with Ivan Parker who finished with a first half tally of 2-3 scoring his second goal, and with a scoring spread of seven different players they opened up a 12-point lead, 2-12 to 1-3, by the interval.

Largely a foregone conclusion at that particular juncture the North Kerry side's chances were lessened even further with Shane Enright departing from the action, having picked up an injury in the first half.

The trend whereby St Brendans were able to exploit some glaring gaps in the Shannon Rangers rearguard unit continued at the outset of the second half with Jack Barry straight from the throw in setting off on a defence splitting run which ended with three separate goal scoring chances presenting themselves in immediate succession. Indeed, St Brendans were able to create scoring opportunities with the minimum of effort.

On occasion Shannon Rangers provided some energy and endeavour, but they were outclassed and outmanoeuvred as St Brendans poured forward in waves of attacks. Ivan Parker netted his third goal in the 36th minute before he was replaced three minutes later.

Jack Barry was also withdrawn shortly afterwards, with St Brendans taking the opportunity to use their full complement of substitutes.

Two of those who came off the bench, Stefan Okunbor and James Duggan, added two more goals to St Brendans spiralling tally with the impressive David O'Callaghan adding another as they went through the motions of completing a pretty facile victory.

With eleven different scorers they had a wealth of fire-power, but it was all too easy for them throughout an extremely one sided encounter especially in the second half when it ceased to be a contest.

St Brendans will have learned very little as the endeavour to negotiate a second hurdle against Kilcummin on this coming weekend. Certainly they can expect a much more organised and committed combination in a game which will definitely have a lot more Championship fervour about it.

As far as Shannon Rangers are concerned the debate will begin with questions being asked about their participation at this level especially when a club will lose its Senior status at the end of the season.

Suggestions of an amalgamation with Feale Rangers were discounted after the game and if all of their players made themselves available they have the nucleus of a side capable of at least being competitive.

One can count as many as six or seven players who have played with Kerry at different levels who didn't feature last Saturday.

Not a single player from Ballyduff and just one each from Ballylongford and Tarbert in a squad of just 19 players.

One must remember that they were semi-finalists in 2014 and beat St Brendans in 2015 by 1-20 to 2-14 before losing out 4-15 to 3-14 to Rathmore in Tarbert after extra-time.

So it all boils down to commitment and preparation, but a 31-point defeat will surely signal a reaction in the division and, indeed, from the County Executive whose restructure of the championship was meant to provide a much more equal and competitive competition.

St Brendans: Eoghan O'Brien (Churchill), Trevor Wallace (Ardfert) (0-1), Liam O'Sullivan (St Pats), Luke Mulligan (St Pats), Michael Griffin (Na Gaeil) (0-1), Andrew Barry (Na Gaeil) (0-1), Kieran Donovan (Na Gaeil) (0-2), Jack Barry (Na Gaeil), Kevin Shanahan (Ardfert) (0-2), David O'Callaghan (St Pats) (1-6, 0-1f), Alan O'Donoghue (John Mitchels), Brandon Barrett (Ardfert) (0-3), Ivan Parker (Churchill) (3-3), Cillian Fitzgerald (Churchill) (0-3), Diarmuid Herlihy (Na Gaeil) Subs: James Duggan (John Mitchells) (1-1) for A O'Donoghue, Brendan Poff (St Pats) for I Parker, Stefan Okunbar (Na Gaeil) (1-1) for J Barry, Darragh Carmody (Na Gaeil) for D Herlihy, Paul McMahon (St Pats) for B Barrett, Kevin O'Shea (St Pats) for A Barry

Shannon Rangers: Sean Dee (Beale), Philly Blake (Beale), Martin Collins (Asdee), Mike McEllistrim (Ballylongford), Jack Gogarty (Ballydonoghue), Shane Enright (Tarbert), Kieran Kelly (Asdee), Martin O'Mahony (Ballydonoghue), Michael Foley (Ballydonoghue), Darragh Sheehy (Ballydonoghue) (0-3, 2f), Darragh Keane (Asdee), Jim Cremin (Ballydonoghue) (1-1), Jack Foley (Ballydonoghue) (0-1), Cormac Linnane (Beale) (0-1), Eoin Tydings (Asdee) Subs: Stephen Foley (Ballydonoghue) (0-1) for Shane Enright, Ian Mannix (Beale) (0-1) for E Tydings, Eoin Tydings (Asdee) for S Dee

Referee: Christy Crowley (Gneeveguilla)