Shannon Rangers - Minors

Shannon Rangers minors have won the County Minor Championship on three occasions, in 1973, 1974 & 1991. A North Kerry team {containing many players who would otherwise have represented Shannon Rangers} won the County Minor Championship in both 1949 & 1962 - The 1962 result meant that Fr. Tommy Hanlon {Tarbert} was captain of the 1963 Kerry minor team, who beat Westmeath in the All-Ireland Final {1-10 to 0-02}.

Similarly Robert Bunyan of the 1974 Shannon Rangers team that won the County Minor Championship also captained a victorious Kerry minor team {in 1975 Kerry defeated Tyrone 1-10 to 0-04 in the All-Ireland}.

Tom Dee of Ballylongford & Shannon Rangers also got to raise the Tom Markham cup aloft in 1980, after he captained the Kerry minors to victory over Derry {3-12 to 0-11}. Our nearest neighbours Feale Rangers were the county minor champions at the time, and as they had no representative on the Kerry minor team, Tom got the nod!


Before a ball was even kicked in the 1991 Minor County Championship the general view among patrons of the game in North Kerry was that Shannon Rangers wouldn't pose a threat to anybody and if that success was to come to the
division then Feale Rangers were the side most likely to achieve it. Subsequent events were to prove how wrong predictions can be, especially in sport. The first round draw ordained that the North Kerry rivals were to meet, with Feale Rangers having home advantage. That game was played in Tarbert on the 1st of July. Like most football derbies it turned out to be a ding-dong struggle with the home side setting the pace for most of the game. However even at this early stage of the County Championship the never say die spirit of Shannon Rangers team of 1991 was apparent.

Showing tremendous commitment and fighting spirit they were always in touch and eventually ran out winners on a scoreline of 3-07 to 2-07. With the scalp of one of the teams which were favoured to lift the title under the belts it was felt that with the proper effort being made, this team could go places. Training which had been confined to three sessions before the Feale Rangers game was stepped up and a programme of challenge games were arranged, thus ensuring that each one of the twenty five players on the panel got a chance to show their worth. The players responded splendidly and morale was steadily improving.

The next game was against East Kerry and this was played in Ballyduff on July 25th. The opposition on this occasion had some of the leading players from the county minor team in their ranks but again Rangers rose to the occasion and won more comfortably than the final score of 1-12 to 1-08 would indicate.

Now Shannon Rangers were through to the county semi final and were drawn to meet St. Kierans, whom they had earlier beaten narrowly in a challenge game. Injuries were beginning to take their toll at this stage and the importance of having a strong panel was now evident. The game was played at Strand Road in Tralee on August 13 th. Rangers appeared to be coasting for most of the first half, but some well taken goals in the second half left St. Kierans leading by 2 points with time almost up. In the final minutes Shannon Rangers goalkeeper Mark Donegan brought off a wonderful save. The ball was moved swiftly upfield where St. Kierans conceded a free and Kenneth Boyle somehow found a gap in the opposing defence to find the net to put Shannon Rangers ahead. For a gallant Kierans team there was no time to come back.

Now to the County Final with Shannon Rangers hoping to bridge a gap of 17 years. South Kerry provided the opposition and as in all previous games Shannon Rangers went in as complete underdogs. The game was played at Austin Stack Park on August 31st and after a lacklustre game the sides finished level; Shannon Rangers 2-04 South Kerry 0-10. Kenneth Boyle and Tim Quaid scored the goals but it was South Kerry who had to come back to draw level after they trailed at the interval by 1-02 to 0-04.

The replay was fixed as a curtain raiser to the County Senior Final involving Castleisland Desmonds and Dr. Crokes on Sunday September 22nd. The game never lived up to expectations and Shannon Rangers took the title due to the
accuracy from placed balls of Liam Weir (Ballylongford) who kicked 5 points of their total. Shannon Rangers led at half time by 4 points to 1, and with 2 minutes of the game remaining led by 7 points to 2. South Kerry put in a storming finish but it was too late to stop Shannon Rangers captain Brian Ross lifting the Frank King Cup.
It was a special occasion for Kenneth Boyle, Ballyduff as he had earlier won a County Senior Hurling Championship medal when Ballyduff defeated Kenmare in the final.

Final score: Shannon Rangers 0-10 South Kerry 0-4.

Team and scorers -
Mark Donegan Ballyduff, Kieran Kissane Beale, Cathal O'Connor Ballyduff, Barry O'Connor Ballyduff, Martin Scanlon Ballydonoghue, Brian Ross (captain) Ballyduff, John Horgan Beale, Mark Griffin Ballydonoghue, Tony McManus (0-1) Ballyduff, Liam Weir (0-5) Ballylongford, Kevin O'Connor Ballyduff, Martin Enright Ballydonoghue, Kevin Foley Beale, Kenneth Boyle (0-1), Ballyduff, Tim Quaid Beale.

Subs: Jack Whelan, Listowel, Pat O'Donnell, Ballydonoghue, Pat McEllistrim, Ballyduff, Maurice Harty, Causeway, Pat Galvin, Listowel, Joe Guerin, Beale, Micheal O'Gorman, Beale, Robert Gunn, Ballydonoghue, Aidan O'Sullivan, Listowel, Martin Griffin, Beale.

Shannon Rangers selectors:
Trainer - Gerry McManus Ballyduff, Tim Quaid Beale, Bill Fitzgerald, Ballydonoghue.

Referee: Micheal Murphy Milltown.