Round Tower Junior Hurlers got their league campaign back on track with a gritty five point win over a resilient Wild Geese side in sunny conditions at Monastery Road Sunday morning, writes Mick McGlynn. VIEW MATCH PICTURES HERE. Towers had suffered their first loss in seven outings to Naomh Barrog the last day out but returned to winning ways.
They suffered an early setback when the visitors netted after just two minutes. A high ball broke to the corner forward who pulled his strike across keeper Declan Rafferty to the bottom corner. Towers first arrived when Fergal Power handpassed to release Ciaran Brennan to slot from the left wing.
Eoin Ryan followed it up with a long-range strike before Geese registerd their first white flag. Very good pressure by the Wild Geese forwards led to a hooked clearance that dropped into the path of the centre-half-back and he slotted. Towers started to get on top but frustratingly five strikes in a row were dropped short or struck wide. Brennan did capitalize to leave two between the sides and Towers took the lead on 17 minutes with a Ryan goal. It was a superb individual score as he took on his man around the outside, displaying superb close control in doing so. He shortened the hurl to strike from a tight angle and his effort deflected across the line.
There were three between the sides when the Wild Geese keeper struck a free from his own 40 and Ryan provided the response when a 65 was dropped short but he was on hand to create the space to strike over his shoulder. The game was being characterised by excellent defending in both full back lines and for Towers Eoghan Hutchinson and Simon Nevin did a lot of mopping up around the half back line. Brennan fed low into Ryan and a push on the back led to him tapping over his fourth score. It was the last of the half, leaving Towers with a narrow two point lead: 1-5 v 1-3.
Two minutes into the second period the visitors were ahead. A high ball was not properly dealt with and their corner forward pounced to strike from close range. The response was instant – a huge score from the right sideline by half back Eoghan Hutchinson.. Wild Geese edged clear with another free and almost hit the net when a ground stroke fizzed past the post.
Eoin Ryan then struck the qualiser from a long-range free before he netted his second. Darren Gilligan stormed through the middle, with three bouncing off him and he released Ryan who struck powerfully on the turn. Despite the keeper getting a hurl to it, it deflected in. John Weafer in corner back did excellent under a high ball and it led to Ryan pointing from the 40. He followed it with another. Wild Geese narrowed the deficit to two before Niall Barry in the right corner defended excellently and it led to Hutchinson driving a pass into Ryan and he pointed from the right sideline on the run. Ruarai Keogh then registed one from long-range and the lead at this stage was four – 2-10 v 2-6, with time ebbing away. A Ryan free from long-range left the visitors with much to do. A goal might have given then a glimmer of hope and it almost arrived. Rafferty made an important save when their midfielder crept beyond the Towers rearguard and struck low. Gilligan again made inroads in the half forwards to again set up another Ryan point. The final score of the game was for Wild Geese but Towers took the points and remain top of the table.
Round Tower: Declan Rafferty, Niall Barry, Connie Ryan, John Weafer, Eoghan Hutchinson, Martin Sheehan, Fergal Power, Simon Nevin, Ruarai Keogh, Philip Carroll, Darren Gilligan, Donnacha Rafferty, Jim McGrath, Eoin Ryan, Ciaran Brennan. Used subs: Barry Keogh, Kevin Scott, David Clarke, Gabriel McQuillan, Daniel Kelly