Round Tower 1-13 v Naomh Mearnóg 0-6
Round Tower Intermediate Footballers enjoyed a dominant second half display to propel themselves to an opening day AFL5 victory, writes Mick McGlynn. View match pictures here. The win is a welcome opening day boost to the side that endured relegation last season. Once Towers clicked into gear the second period they proved far too strong for the visitors. Just one point separated the sides at the break with the home side enjoying the most slender of advantages 0-4 v 0-3.
Mearnog kicked an early opener before Dermot Milton gathered Shane Boland’s crossfield pass and kicked right footed on the turn from distance. Towers struggled to create openings for inside forwards in the opening quarter, with Mearnóg rearguard standing firm around the 40. It led to Towers kicking opportunities wide or short. Mearnog were 2 clear when Jason Mockler kicked following good work from Liam McGuigan to set it up. Mockler kicked the leveller from a free after he’d been fouled following an excellent ball inside from corner back David Clarke. They edged one clear just before the break. Eoghan Moore and David Chapman pressure won possession on the Towers 40 and Boland fed into the inside forwards for Dean O’Rourke to kick the first of his 1-4 tally.
Mearnóg had a great opportunity to start their second half in the most positive manner but a penalty they earned within the opening minute was miscued over the bar. They edged a point clear before O’Rourke finished an outstanding team move that required retaining possession around the 40 before working the opening. Dermot Milton then kicked from long-range after Craig Curtis had carried from defence into attack. Another outstanding team move that started with Chapman winning possession and involved Boland and McGuigan saw O’Rourke kick yet another outstanding point from distance.
Crucially Boland was getting on possession in the half forwards and he found Milton in the corner. His hand-pass released onrushing Aaron Soady to kick successfully. Boland and Soady pressured a mistake within visitors full-back line to enable Boland clip another. It was double scores – 0-10 v 0-5 – a minute later when Mockler tagged on a point. With seven minutes remaining Mearnóg kicked their third point of the half from a free. A comeback looked unlikely and Towers just accelerated further clear. Milton clipped the bar with a long-range free and the follow-up saw Mockler kick another point. A sharp turn and kick by O’Rourke raised the umpires arm before Boland kicked an outstanding long-range point while on the run. The two combined for the games final score. Boland pressure led to a mix-up between keeper and defender and O’Rourke lobbed to the net from 30 yards.
Round Tower: Mikey Cleary, Dave Chapman, Patrick Stynes, Dave Clarke, Aaron Whelan, Craig Curtis, Barry Finn, Eoghan Moore, Shane Byrne, Shane Boland, Aaron Soady, Jason Mockler, Liam McGuigan, Dermot Milton, Dean O’Rourke. Used subs: Fergus Callaly, David McCarthy, Craig Shaaban, Adam Clarke, David Costigan, Martin Corrigan