Cuala 0-16 v Round Tower 0-7. Report by Mick McGlynn. Pictures can be viewed here
The curtains came down on Round Tower Senior Footballers 2014 Season as a deserved Cuala side advanced to the AFL2 play-off final with a comprehensive win. Towers will likely feel frustrated as they struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
This was particularly evident in the first half when the strong running of the Cuala attackers inside the Towers half created a number of opportunities but they kicked nine wides. Towers struggled to get into the game yet trailed by just two points at the break 0-6 v 0-4. In the first minute we created a goal opportunity but Jason Murphy side footed wide. Cuala then dominated for 10 minutes, with their speed of movement creating the opportunities up front. They led 0-3 v 0-0 but it could have been worse for Towers, with Dalkey side kicking six wides. Murphy kicked Towers first from a free on the 21. Ian Ward intercepted a Cuala attack and this freed Eric Finn to run at pace. He was hauled down and Murphy capitalised. Cuala kicked another two without response before Niall Lanigan struck his first with a free from the 21. Towers started to enjoy their best period and Tom Lyons, whose introduction was the catalyst for improvement in our performance, set up Eoin Moran to drive at the retreating defence and he fisted a point. The deficit was cut to just one when Mick Hallows flicked the ball beyond his marked and and was tripped. From the tight left angle Lanigan struck it between the posts. On 25 minutes a free from the 40 was kicked by the Cuala keeper to edge them two clear and a late opportunity from a free for Towers did not materialise a score so they went into the break trailing by two.
Cuala almost netted straight after throw-in but the close-range strike was driven just to the right of Keith Graham’s post. Towers lost Mark Gahan to a black card and conceded three without reply within the opening eight minutes. Then Finn broke from the 40 and he was pulled back to enable Lanigan kick another point off the ground. The deficit was reduced to a goal – 0-9 v 0-6 – when Lanigan kicked another from the 40. Graham pulled off an important save when the blocked a close range strike but the 45 was pointed by the opposing keeper and another free left five in it – 0-11 v 0-6. Towers needed a goal and it Lanigan looked most likely to score or create it with his direct running. It almost materialized when substitute Niall Corless set Lanigan free and he advanced on goal but his shot was deflected off the line by a defender. The rebound fell to Finn but his shot flashed wide. Another Cuala point was cancelled out by a Lanigan free that was set up by Finn being pulled back. The two combined again when Lanigan offloaded to Finn and pushed towards the byline he stabbed across goal but no Towers forward was there to capitalize. Any hope of comeback looked forlorn and Cuala kicked four without reply in the closing minutes to see out the game.
Great credit to the players and Caimin Keane, his management team for their fantastic commitment, dedication and representation of the club this season.
Round Tower: Keith Graham, Seán O’Donnagain, Mark Gahan, Brian Costello, James Kelly, Ian Ward, Conor L’Estrange, Derek Murray, Liam Connolly, Jason Murphy, Eric Finn, Eoin Moran, Niall Lanigan, Mick Hallows, Micheál Walsh. Used subs: Tom Lyons, Cathal Carty, Niall Corless, Mark Taylor,