Round Tower 2-6 v Cuala 2-13, Senior B Football Championship
Round Tower Senior Footballers put in a spirited performance but some self-inflicted errors and a divisional difference in quality ultimately proved their undoing in their Senior B Football Championship clash at sunny Monastery Road on Sunday afternoon.
With six minutes on the clock, the visitors opening point was cancelled out by an excellent long-range strike by James Kelly attacking from half-back, with Niall Lanigan setting it up. But Cuala got a foothold on the game and raced into a 0-5 v 0-1 lead. It was a frustrating 20 minute period for the home side, with efforts dropping short or wide. A number of possessions were also kicked away. Cuala defended very well, getting numbers around the ball to defend and this stymied to ball to the inside forwards. An injury to Lanigan led to the introduction of Kevin McGibney. The substitute won possession in the corner and a foul led to Kelly kicking Towers second score just before half time. And in injury time they reduced the deficit to just two, when Jay Joyce intercepted on the 40 and found Mick Hallows in space and he tapped over.
The deficit was almost turned to a lead with the first attack of the second period. Thomas Galvin jinked in from the left but his strike from a tight angle was gathered by the keeper. Cuala edged further ahead and then a mix-up from a Towers kick out led to the first goal of the game, with a Cuala forward passing the ball soccer-style to an empty net. They netted their second four minutes later. A Towers kickout was broken into a Cuala half forward and he ran into space. It was the start of a swift interchange of passes that led to a forward finding space on the right and slotting low beyond advancing Towers keeper Gary Cleary. This left the visitors well in command and they kicked on, with six points registered without reply. But to their credit, the Towers lads responded in the final ten minutes. Micheál Walsh, who was a live-wire throughout, combined with Galvin to set up Hallows to point from the right. Then McGibney struck an excellent goal. Liam Connolly won possession from a throw-in on the Cuala 30 and slipped to McGibney. From a tight angle he finish superbly by dinking it over the keeper to the far corner. Three minutes later, with four minutes remaining, our second goal arrived. Daniel Gregg in the full-back line found Kelly in the middle. He brought forward and released the onrushing Walsh on the 40 who sprinted in on goal and rattled the roof of the net. Kelly then struck a free from the 40 and Hallows almost netted another when Stephen Bracken did well to tee him up but the keeper made an excellent save with his feet. From the save Walsh followed up to kick high and over. The final score of the game was from range by the visitors.
It is the end of the Senior Footballers Championship campaign for 2016. The attention will now turn to the AFL2 play-offs as we seek to compete with Cuala in the top tier of Dublin football.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Dan Gregg, Mark Gahan, Niall Byrne, James Kelly, Ian Ward, Barry Keane, Simon McGuinness, Jason Joyce, Mick Hallows, Trevor Clendenning, Micheál Walsh, Thomas Galvin, Derek Murray, Niall Lanigan. Used subs: Kevin McGibney, Mark Taylor, Liam Connolly, Stephen Bracken, Eoin Moran