AFL 2: Raheny 3-13 v Round Tower 2-14, Saturday 29th July, St Anne’s Park, Raheny.
Bitter disappointment for our Senior Footballers in this important AFL 2 league clash. With just three games remaining, a point and one league place separated Towers and Raheny before throw-in, with our lads lying in fourth and Raheny fifth. Two big points and it would present strong advantage to Towers in the hunt for a home tie in a potential play-off. The points were within our grasp as stoppage time was entered. But a goal arrived for the visitors, with a fist pass across the edge of the square palmed to the net.
It was not what Towers deserved. Both sides had gone toe-to-toe throughout the 60 minutes and Towers faced into the second period trailing by a point and facing into a pitch gradient that was against them. Three minutes into the second half they trailed by two when Trevor Clendenning was fouled and James Kelly converted the free to leave one in it, 2-8 v 2-7. The equaliser arrived moments later when Thomas Galvin was the fouled party and Conor L’Estrange punished with a point. A third consecutive point arrived. An excellent block by Seán Ó Donnagáin enabled Mick Hallows carry from defence into attack and Galvin controlled well and turned his marker to convert. Ian Ward broke thru on goal but his strike hit the post. Raheny responded with a converted free. A Brian Costello interception set up a Towers attack that brought excellent interplay between Kelly, Galvin and Hallows. It led to a foul on Kelly and he kicked successfully. The advantage became two when great pressure by Ward and Hallows led to an over-carry and L’Estrange kicked the free from distance. Substitute Jason Joyce followed it up with a long-range score. But two points from Raheny left just a score between the sides coming into the final ten minutes. Ward carried beyond two defenders and was tugged back, leaving Kelly kick the placed ball and restore the advantage to two. Again Raheny responded with a point. A minute into injury time they struck the winning goal. They gained possession from the resulting kick and kept possession to see the game out.
The first half followed a similar pattern to that of the second. Towers were a point down after five minutes when Galvin reacted to a rebound off the post and struck across the keeper to the top corner. Shane Byrne powering forward from midfield kicked our first point. A low strike beyond keeper Andy Fox raised the first green flag for the home side and put them 1-3 v 1-1 ahead. A Niall Byrne dispossession led to a Galvin win in the inside forwards and the foul on him enabled L’Estrange to strike successfully. Swift movement between Ward, Kelly and Clendenning saw Kelly in on goal and he was pulled back when striking for goal. He picked himself up to dispatch the penalty to the keepers right. Galvin kicked a great score from range but the game was drawn level when Raheny worked a quick free and the full forward found space to finish to the net. Ward kicked two excellent scores from distance but Raheny responded to both and a fisted Kelly point drew the sides level. The home side edged into the break a point clear to set up the drama of the second half.
Round Tower: Andy Fox, Dan Gregg, Brian Costello, Séan Ó Donnagáin, Michael Cleary, Jason Murphy, Niall Byrne, Derek Murray, Mick Hallows, Shane Byrne, Ian Ward, James Kelly, Thomas Galvin, Conor L’Estrange, Trevor Clendenning. Used subs: Dean Alford, Jason Joyce, Darragh Kinnevey, Mark Taylor, Aaron Soady, Eoin Moran