Round Tower 5-20 v Fingal Ravens 1-10, AFL2, Wednesday 1st August 2018, Monastery Road
Round Tower Senior Footballers propelled their push for automatic promotion with a resounding defeat of Fingal Ravens as their AFL2 moves into its final stages, writes Mick McGlynn. The comprehensive win and loss the same evening by table toppers Fingallians to St Mary’s has moved Towers to second in the table, with the top two sides automatically promoted. Our next game can prove defining. A win against table toppers Templeogue Synge Street would ensure promotion to the top tier.
A 4-9 v 1-5 lead at the break meant the game was effectively over as a contest at half time. The visitors pointed early but Towers responded through the first of five goals. Liam Connolly’s incisive inside pass found the ever-influential Ian Ward in space. His fisted pass across goal was punched to the net by Darren Gilligan. Ward followed up with a long-range point and Mick Hallows angled a pass to Gilligan who kicked successfully. Gilligan and Ward combined to set up the onrushing Micheál Walsh and he dummied to create the space to notch our third point. Hallows won the subsequent kick out and carried before slotting over. Fingal got themselves temporarily back into it with a swift move upfield that led to a goal and they narrowed the deficit to two with a follow-up point. But it was as good as it got for them. Walsh pointed his second following a good interchange of passes between Connolly and Adam Doyle. Centre-half-back James Kelly delivered an excellent long-range pass from a free into the path of Gilligan and he raised the arms of the umpires. Our second goal arrived on the 19 minute mark. Ward won possession from a kick-out and Connolly and Gilligan combined to release Ward who’d moved in beyond the defenders and he finished at the near post. Fingal kicked their third point but Towers moved back down to threaten their goal. The move started with Niall Byrne and Dan Gregg in the full-back line and Walsh’s pass inside was touched beyond the keeper by Trevor Clendenning but the retreating defender cleared from the goal line but over the bar. Two minutes later our third and Ward’s second goal arrived. Connolly won in midfield and Gilligan was on hand to feed inside to Ward. His finish was outstanding, striking past the keeper to the top left corner. Gilligan followed up with his third point before Walsh broke inside and dummied the keeper and rolled our fourth goal past him. Ward finished our first half scoring with an excellent long-range point from the left.
Within a minute of the restart corner-back Niall Byrne cut inside to point our first of the half. Fingal registered two without reply and Hallows then kicked a great point from distance. with substitute Jason Murphy influential in carrying from defence. Gregg advanced from defence with possession and he worked a one-two with Gilligan before the left-boot of substitute Conor L’Estrange added the finish. Towers defence proved resolute. Keeper Gary Cleary saved a penalty and Derek Murray made an excellent block. Hallows intercepted and Mark Taylor’s great ball inside to Ward was pointed. On the 46 minute mark Gilligan had his second goal. Hallows and L’Estrange combined to slip the corner forward inside and he slotted home with a low finish. A Murphy win led to Walsh and Gilligan combining to enable Hallows drive over our 14th point. L’Estrange kicked a free and then the newly introduced youngsters Lee Moran and Liam O’Connor combined well to work a score for Walsh. O’Connor then latched onto a break and drove at the retreating defence to see his strike for goal deflected over. The finishing touches were applied by the outstanding Ward with three late scores. He sold a dummy and kicked from the right, slotted the second from the left and his third was registered from long-range.
Templeogue, scheduled away for 18th August, and St Mary’s remain.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Shane Byrne, Dan Gregg, Niall Byrne, Derek Murray, James Kelly, Barry Keane, Liam Connolly, Conor Flannery, Adam Doyle, Ian Ward, Mick Hallows, Trevor Clendenning, Micheál Walsh, Darren Gilligan. Used subs: Jason Murphy, Mark Taylor, Conor L’Estrange, Lee Moran, Liam O’Connor