The clinical finishing of Round Tower Under 21 hurlers proved decisive in their B Championship victory at Monastery Road last Saturday, writes Mick McGlynn. To the fore in disposing of the visitor threat was Eric Finn, whose pace provided the elusiveness that enabled him despatch three goals beyond the visiting keeper.
The early exchanges saw both sides trade scores and level at 0-2 apiece, with an Alex Darbey free and Finn point registering Towers openers. Eight minutes in Towers started to pull away. Adam Clarke netted for the home side with an opportunist finish after the St Peregine’s keeper spilled in his box. Darbey pointed his second after Finn interception from puck-out set him up and on 14 minutes the hat-trick man registered his first three-pointer. It was a terrific solo goal after he picked up from a skirmish and carrying at pace he despatched low beyond the keepers reach. Towers were starting to impose themselves, with Jack Whelan and Gary Quinlivan sweeping effectively in the full and centre-half back roles. But it was proving a tough contest. Peregine’s struck another two points to leave five between the sides before over-carrying enabled Darbey punish with free to leave it 2-4 v 0-4. On the stroke-of half-time Finn struck again. From a throw-in on the Tower’s 40 it broke to him and with a smart pick-up he was clear. Running at pace he struck low across the keepers left and Towers went into the break with a nine point advantage 3-4 v 0-4.
Within the first five minutes of the second-half the game was effectively ended as a contest. Finn struck a point 40 seconds into the second period and a long ball by Darbey into the full forward line then released Finn and he netted with a close-range strike. Peregine’s were competing throughout and tagged on another point but offered little goal threat. They did force Towers keeper Stephen Chapman to make a smart block from a strike across goal before Darbey then increased the advantage to 13 points with a long-range free – 4-6 v 0-5. Towers fifth goal arrived 13 minutes into the half. Chris Kavanagh at centre-forward played from midfield into the 40 and substitute Sean Salmon flicked on. Corner-forward Rory Keogh arrived before keeper to flick beyond him. Salmon saw plenty sliotar when introduced and almost netted two minutes later but the keeper stopped his strike on the line. A sixth for Towers did arrive when a strike off the post was followed up by Keogh with a powerful pull-strike across the keeper. Finn and Darbey pointed further to add gloss to an impressive performance by our Under 21s who are combining strong young Senior hurlers with upcoming Minor talents.
Round Tower: Stephen Chapman, Killian Nolan, Jack Whelan, Ciaran Brennan, Aaron Wynne, Gary Quinlivan, Wayne Brennan, Alex Darbey, Adam Doyle, Jordan O’Neill, Chris Kavanagh, Shane Boland, Rory Keogh, Eric Finn, Adam Clarke. Used subs: Sean Salmon, Conor Harte.