AFL 2: Na Fianna 0-8 v Round Tower 0-8, Mobhi Road, Sunday 18th February
Round Tower Senior Footballers have a point on the board in AFL2 after travelling to Mobhi Road and coming away with a share of the spoils. It looked as though Towers substitute Cathal Carty may have nabbed the points for us when he edged us clear in the 59th minute after finding a glimmer in a crowded defence to kick us a point ahead. But Na Fianna had the final say to draw the teams level.
There was little to differentiate between the sides throughout and the momentum swung either way. Towers felt they had the upper hand midway through the second half when they edged three points clear, 0-7 v 0-4. With the sides level, a Mick Hallows surge was halted by a pull-back and Thomas Galvin notched the free. Liam Connolly was winning possession around the middle and his lay-off to Hallows led to a good inside pass to Jay Joyce who kicked on the turn. Again Connolly was the breadwinner and he fed Joyce to again convert. The lead margin was three with seven to play but Na Fianna gained an upper hand and kicked three to level it before the late interventions.
Towers were 0-3 v 0-2 clear at the end of the opening period but they could have held more of an upper hand given eight shots went wide or were dropped into the keepers arms. Passes into the inside forwards were just astray and Craig Shabaan, who acquitted himself very well in the move up to Senior, almost netted but was denied by a last ditch block. Conor L’Estrange notched our season opener, clipping over from the right within a minute of throw-in. Joyce kicked a free from the left and Galvin another placed ball on the 18 minute mark. Galvin kicked another free at the start of the second period and the sides were level at 0-4 apiece when a high kick from Joyce was fielded by Micheál Walsh and he was dragged to the ground inside the box. L’Estrange penalty hit the target but was pushed aside by the keeper. It didn’t adversely affect as we went three clear before being pegged back.
A point from the opening day fixture against strong opposition. As well as the performance of Shabaan, other notable positives for new manager Damian Flanagan were the performances of fellow newcomers Chris Berry, who from corner back made a number of timely interceptions and breaks from defence, Adam Doyle, who marshalled excellently at centre-half back, and the introduced Conor Flanerry, who won valuable possession under the high ball in the left channel. Next up Ballyboughal at Monastery Road on Sunday 4th March.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Niall Byrne, Derek Murray, Chris Berry, Darren Gilligan, Adam Doyle, Barry Keane, Liam Connolly, Mick Hallows, Jason Joyce, Ian Ward, Craig Shaaban, Micheál Walsh, Conor L’Estrange, Thomas Galvin. Used subs: Conor Flannery, Tom Lyons, Cathal Carty, Michael Cleary