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Rampant Rangers bury Frustrating Fenagh

Brian O'Donoghue
September 1, 2023

Carlow SFC Group 1 - Round 2

MLR 2-12

Fenagh 0-9 

You can tell a lot after a football match by which team stays on the pitch for a “warm down” and a chat, and which team gets out of there as quick as they can. 

Mount Leinster Rangers have had two weeks in a row now of warm downs on the pitch and the way their tails are up, they might be about to get very used to warming down on the Netwatch Cullen sod. 

Fenagh, well, what can you say, they played totally within themselves, there was no fight, no battling quality and they gave far too much respect to a Rangers team that couldn’t believe their luck on the night. 

Were MLR value for their nine point win? Yes they absolutely were and they have a handful of players that Niall Carew would sacrifice a lamb to get them on to his county panel. 

The game itself overall, was nothing really to get excited about but the first seven minutes was thrilling, end to end and gave hope for a great encounter. Fenagh went into a two point lead after just 90 seconds with a free and a nice point from play from Padraig Hynes. 

Rangers hit back with two of their own from the Fitzpatrick brothers before Cormac Lomax gave Fenagh the lead once more in the sixth minute. But for the next quarter of an hour Rangers would take hold of the game and they hit 1-3 on the bounce. 

Diarmuid and Edward Byrne both converted points and then Fenagh had a kick out blown for the ball not travelling the required 13m and you just sensed they were uncomfortable in this period. Although take nothing away from Jack Rowan in the goal, he was very steady and the following goal was not his doing. 

A high lobbing dropping ball reminiscent of the one sent into Seamus Darby all those years ago was heading wide only for the colossus that is Edward Byrne to keep it in play on the end line feed it to Michael Joyce who buried it in the back of the net. 

Within a minute Rangers deployed the same tactic, only this time, Byrne fed Conall Fitzpatrick and he raised a white flag. 

Speaking of white flags, it was around now that Fenagh waved one, and even though they only trailed by four points at the break, in truth, the gap was greater than the score line suggested. 

Jamie McCabe, the Fenagh full back did show great heart and found himself in a very advanced position to kick a point after a ball had slipped through the hands of a Rangers defender, and Padraig Hynes tapped over two frees to reduce the gap to two but Ted Joyce and Jack Murphy pointed, Joyce’s was particularly impressive and at half time it was 1-7 to 0-6.

Fenagh attempted to start well in the second half, but a missed free, a ball dropped short and some hesitant decision making saw their attempts fail. Chris Nolan for MLR appeared on the scene after a quiet first half and stroked over a lovely point from a very tight angle and then, like all late public transport, Choo Choo arrived and curled over a glorious point from distance. 

Ted Joyce got a very tasty left footed point nine minutes into the second half and Fiachra Fitzpatrick kicked over two frees to make it 1-11 to 0-8 with ten minutes left to play. 

It was a painful enough ten minutes for all concerned, with the exception of Fiachra Fitzpatrick who bagged a goal and his brother Conall kicked the final point of the game. Kevin McDonald was black carded for pulling down Seán Murphy and Hynes kicked the resulting free. 

A mention for James Foley, the match referee, while it wasn’t a difficult game to referee he did an excellent job and could be heard communicating with players and officials throughout, credit where it’s due. 

There is so much more football in Fenagh than they showed on Thursday night, they surely have one performance in them this year, will they produce it against Tinryland? It’s unlikely, especially with the setup Tinryland have, so it would seem they are destined to save a performance for a relegation battle with a seasoned senior championship opponent from the other group. 

Mount Leinster Rangers are a dangerous outfit every year in the championship, arguably they have never been more dangerous. Nobody will want to play against them, and they’ll play anybody. 

Interesting times ahead. 

Fenagh: Jack Rowan; Eoin Kavanagh, Jamie McCabe (0-1), Jamie Wall; Tommy Bric, Luke Bradley, Sean Cummins; Sean Murphy (0-1), Keagan Bradley; Cormac Nolan, Cormac Lomax(0-1), Darragh Byrne; Sean Smithers, Padraig Hynes(0-6,5f), Conor Treacy. Subs: Kevin Kavanagh for Sean Smithers. 

MLR: Dean Grennan; Jamie Nolan, Richard Coady, Sean Joyce; Tim Brennan, Kevin McDonald, Jack Murphy(0-1); Fiachra Fitzpatrick(1-3,2f), Ted Joyce(0-2); Donagh Murphy, Diarmuid Byrne(0-1), Michael Joyce(1-0); Conall Fitzpatrick(0-3), Edward Byrne(0-1), Chris Nolan (0-1). Subs: Fionn Murphy for Tim Brennan, Brad Bolger for Donagh Murphy, Robert Stafford for Diarmuid Byrne and Willie Hickey for Chris Nolan. 

Referee: James Foley (Kilbride)