Adult Football League 2: Round Tower 3-8 v Clontarf 1-13, Wednesday 9th May
Our Senior Footballers registered their first league win of the 2018 campaign eeking through a tough encounter with Clontarf, the side who comprehensively beat our lads in the play-offs two seasons ago. It was backs to the wall stuff at times but the Towers lads displayed great resilience and character to edge the tie. Already missing Micheál Walsh, Eric Finn and Adam Doyle from the starting line-up, captain Mick Hallows succumbed to an injury in the opening quarter. By that stage we were 1-2 v 0-2 to the good. The goal came courtesy of a James Kelly penalty. After Jay Joyce had struck the post from a free, Towers regained possession on the 40 and Craig Shaaban played an incisive pass into Joyce. He was pulled to the ground and Kelly dispatched to the roof of the net. It was our opening score. Our first point came courtesy of a Liam Connolly win in midfield and he found Ian Ward supporting to kick from distance. Thomas Galvin’s inside pass to Conor L’Estrange led to the latter kicking from the right. Galvin kicked our third point from a 45 and it was just the goal that separated the teams. Galvin then kicked an outstanding score from the right sideline, following an excellent win in the air by Shane Byrne. Connolly went up against two to win a midfield duel and he played inside to L’Estrange who turned and kicked an excellent point off his left. Our sixth was an excellent team move, with Derek Murray winning in the full back line. Niall Byrne supported and it was a patient build-up before Darren Gilligan joined attack from half-back and laid off to L’Estrange to kick his third. He’d his fourth ten minutes before the break when Galvin and Joyce created the opening from the left. The visitors had registered another in between and got a stranglehold coming into the break. Their centre-half-back saw a goal bound effort brilliantly blocked and deflected over by Niall Byrne. Their next attack reaped a goal. A high ball into the square broke and with the forward ready to finish he was fouled from behind. The penalty was dispatched. And they left it a one point game just before the break with a free. 1-7 v 1-6 was the bare minimum at half time.
Clontarf were aided by a strong wind in the second half and were a point ahead within six minutes, kicking two without reply. But we got a big boost with a Joyce goal eight minutes in. Ward, who won some crucial ball in the forward line throughout the half to relieve pressure, won in the air and slipped to the onrushing Joyce to power past the keeper. The visitors narrowed the margin to another point, 2-7 v 1-9, but heading into the final quarter we got another timely boost. A quick free to the edge of the Clontarf box was fielded by Shane Byrne and he turned instantly to fire to the bottom corner. Another excellent team score followed, with the move starting from the full back line with Barry Keane and ending with L’Estrange finishing. Another pivotal moment arrived with eight minutes remaining. Keeper Gary Cleary conceded a penalty and received a second yellow. But the spot kick was blazed over to leave the margin four points, 3-8 v 1-10. Clontarf pushed for the win but Towers defending was resilient, with forwards becoming defenders. The margin was reduced to one, 3-8 v 1-13 but the final whistle blew to the relief of the home supporters. For Clontarf it was their first loss having defeated Raheny and Scoil Uí Chonaill. An excellent first win in our league campaign, leaving us with one draw (Na Fianna), one loss (Naomh Mearnóg) and now one win from the opening three games.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Chris Berry, Derek Murray, Niall Byrne, Darren Gilligan, James Kelly, Barry Keane, Liam Connolly, Conor Flannery, Mick Hallows, Ian Ward, Craig Shaaban, Thomas Galvin, Conor L’Estrange, Jason Joyce. Used subs: Shane Byrne, Jason Murphy, Mark Taylor, Trevor Clendenning