Round Tower Senior Footballers 2015 campaign came to a bitterly disappointing end against a strong Skerries Harps outfit Sunday morning at Monastery Road. The stakes were high, with promotion to the top tier of Dublin Football being at stake. It showed in the opening ten minutes, with no score registered before Skerries Harps kicked the first point. They could have netted but for an excellent diving block by Mick Hallows to deny a goal.
Towers suffered a massive blow just four minutes in. Derek Murray contested a high ball at the edge of the square and a collision led to him requiring lengthy treatment and having to leave the game. Coupled with the losses of Jay Joyce and Micheál Walsh already, it left Towers with three key performers missing.
With Towers having missed two earlier chances from placed balls, Tom Lyons kicked the leveller from a free after the lively Stephen Bracken – introduced for Murray – was tugged back. A 45 was struck wide and Hallows almost broke on goal but was penalised for charging before Conor L’Estrange struck an excellent point from the left corner with outside of the boot. An equaliser arrived before the visitors struck the games only goal. Towers conceded possession from their own kick-out and it was worked to inside forwards and finished low beyond keeper Gary Cleary. Towers were struggling to win breaks and former Dublin footballer Bryan Cullen missed a very kickable chance before he slotted from a free that had been conceded in inside forward line. Towers were struggling to stem the tide and work the ball beyond their own half. Breaking balls were being gathered by the visitors and fed to inside forwards. Another free advanced them 1-4 v 0-2 clear. The home side then registered a much-needed score. Stephen McGibney won James Kelly’s pass high in the air and was hauled to the ground, enabling Lyons to slot the free from just inside the 40. Colin Daly, former Dublin footballer, proved very influential for Skerries on the day, operating at right half-forward. He won a high ball and on the turn struck a point. It came from Towers not proving successful in working ball out from full back line. With minutes remaining in the half Towers got a greater stranglehold but struggled to work possession into the inside forwards. They were left striking from range and kicked three wides before the whistle for half-time sounded.
Towers needed to be on the front foot start of second half but shot an early wide and this was punished with two successive scores for the visitors. These came from Daly with a great strike cutting in from the right and Cullen. Harry Dawson extended the advantage leaving eight between the sides: 1-8 v 0-3. James Kelly struck a point after a good lay-off by Bracken and with it being five minutes into the second period, there was still time for the home side to claw their way back into the game. L’Estrange further reduced the deficit after Eric Finn attacking at pace was fouled. But Skerries Harps were responding; Dawson kicked another free. Hallows then slipped to the overlapping Ward and he narrowed the deficit to six entering into the final quarter. Skerries almost netted a second but it was deflected wide and the subsequent 45 dropped short but was pointed on the turn. McGibney seized upon a Ward pass to inside forwards to narrow deficit again but Skerries Harps kicked on with five unanswered points. Simon McGuinness operating in the inside forwards kicked a point with two minutes remaining but a free from the sideline by the Skerries keeper rounded off the scoring; 1-15 v 0-8 the final score.
Bitter disappointment for our Senior Footballers who registered just one loss in their 15-game league campaign. Tremendous credit to players and managers for their hard endeavor throughout 2015.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Jason Murphy, Mark Gahan, Seán O’Donnagain, Tom Lyons, Ian Ward, Eoghan Young, Liam Connolly, Simon McGuinness, Conor L’Estrange, Eric Finn, James Kelly, Mick Hallows, Stephen McGibney, Derek Murray. Used subs: Stephen Bracken, Brian Costello