League leaders Castleknock travelled to Clondalkin as two of AFL2’s top sides clashed Saturday evening at Monastery Road. The large crowd in attendance was not disappointed by the fare on offer as the sides played out an exciting draw, writes Mick McGlynn. VIEW MATCH PICTURES HERE
Towers gained a foothold in the first half but the leaders responded in the second period, displaying the class that has them top of the pile. For Mick Hyland’s charges its now three draws in a row in AFL2 and other results went their way this weekend, with Skerries Harps and Ballinteer St John’s losing their respective fixtures.
The sides traded scores in the opening quarter and six minutes before the break were level at 0-6 apiece. Stephen McGibney kicked Towers opener after an assist from Mick Hallows and Tom Lyons registered the second from a 45. It arose from the first of three good goal opportunities for Towers in the first half. Ian Ward, Eric Finn and Micheál Walsh combined to break beyond visitors rearguard and Jay Joyce struck past the keeper but a defender got boot to it to knock it off the line. Finn seized upon a Lyons free and with a sharp turn he skimmed the Castleknock crossbar to put us 0-3 v 0-2 clear. Again the league leaders responded before a smart pick-up from Walsh led to a tug on his jersey and Joyce kicked the placed ball. Joyce then kicked from play, which arose following patient build-up on the Castleknock 40 involving Finn, Hallows and Walsh before Derek Murray released the overlapping Joyce. Another free from Joyce registered Towers sixth and the decisive moment of the half arose in the 24th minute. The Castleknock full-back was committed to a loose ball but James Kelly pipped him to it and his flick pass led to McGibney striking across the keeper, giving him no chance. McGibney followed it with a terrific strike long-range from the right and another Joyce free edged Towers 1-8 v 0-6 clear. Towers had the momentum behind them and Finn flicked to Kelly who struck from the right. Castleknock pointed just before the break to leave five between the sides – 1-9 v 0-7.
Castleknock showed their class in the second period, bringing swift movement and pace to their attacks. Strong running from the middle provided them with the platform to reel Towers in. They kicked four points without reply in the opening quarter and the margin was down to one. They defended in numbers and it frustrated Towers, who kicked wides and dropped shots short before Joyce registered the first score with a free 12 minutes in. The resilience of visitors defending led to frustration growing and Castleknock edged a point clear with ten minutes remaining. Towers kicked another two wides and Walsh jinked to create an opening for goal but his effort close-range was blocked. Towers persisted – showing great resilience in doing so – and the leveler arrived with two minutes remaining. A Joyce strike from the 21 was blocked but Murray seized on it and his low drive went over the bar.
Three vital fixtures remain for the Senior Footballers, who remain in third. Next up is Naomh Barróg away on Saturday 5th September and this will be followed by home fixture v Skerries Harps and O’Tooles away is the last tie.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Seán O’Donnagain, Mark Gahan, Niall Byrne, Tom Lyons, Ian Ward, Eoghan Young, Mick Hallows, Liam Connolly, James Kelly, Eric Finn, Jason Joyce, Micheál Walsh, Stephen McGibney, Derek Murray. Used subs: Simon McGuinness, Jason Murphy.