Junior E Hurling Championship Semi-Final, Monastery Road, Sunday 28th August. Round Tower 3-13 v Wild Geese 4-12
Disappointment for our Junior Hurlers who were edged the wrong side of a tight game and failed in the final step to reach a Championship Final. Two second half goals within ten minutes were ultimately the undoing of Fergal Power’s charges.
There was no separating the sides after the opening half, with the scores level at 1-8 apiece. Martin Doyle struck our opener and it was Jim McGrath who struck the second when he dispossessed an advancing corner back and pointed off his right side. Wild Geese responded with their first point before striking the opening goal. The sliotar broke from an aerial tussle to their centre-half-forward and he flicked beyond keeper John Delaney. An instant response came from a pointed Eoin Ryan free and he brought parity to proceedings when Martin Doyle played into his path and he turned sharply to raise the arms of the umpires. Ruarai Keogh edged Towers ahead when he showed great control from a fast travelling sideline cut and then pointed from range. The visitors notched another point and Towers then netted through Ryan. Doyle carried possession free of a rumage and passed to Ryan on the left. He advanced on goal and his strike beat the keeper at his near post. A resilient Wild Geese responded with three points to level it. Excellent work on the Towers 40 between Power and Eoghan Hutchinson released Ryan and he was chopped to the ground. He picked himself up to point the free. Hutchinson blocked superbly and was subsequently fouled. From the 50 Ryan struck the free accurately. But the visitors again demonstrated their resilience and went a point clear three minutes before the break. Another Ryan free levelled matters after the opening 30 minutes.
A slower start to the second period saw Towers go four behind, with Wild Geese striking 1-1. The goal arrived following a good move up the left and was finished off by a half-forward. But the response was instant. Ryan broke in from the right and evaded three challenges before striking low to the corner of the net. However the visitors then enjoyed a very productive spell, scoring 1-3 without reply. Entering into the final quarter trailing by six Towers needed to show resolve and they did so. Ryan struck two frees brought about because of pressure on Wild Geese defenders and an outstanding strike from the right touchline that was set up by Niall Corless. Ryan turned provider when he won in the air and set up onrushing midfielder Ciaran Brennan to reduce the deficit to two. However Wild Geese netted with eight minutes remaining to push their lead to five. A Donnacha Rafferty free brought the margin to four but Geese cancelled it with another point. In stoppage time Power struck a free beyond the lined defenders on the goal-line. But it was the last play of the game and the championship journey ended for another year.
Round Tower: John Delaney, Kevin Scott, Connie Ryan, John Weafer, Eoghan Hutchinson, Fergal McDonagh, Fergal Power, Ciaran Brennan, Niall Corless, Donnacha Rafferty, Martin Doyle, Jim McGrath, Cianán Ryan, Eoin Ryan, Ruaraí Keogh. Used subs: Niall Barry, Philip Carroll.