Naomh Mearnóg 1-10 v Round Tower 0-6
It was a disappointing end to the Under 21’s Championship campaign as Naomh Mearnóg comprehensively overcame our challenge to progress to the semi-finals, writes Mick McGlynn. VIEW PICTURES HERE. The opening 14 minutes gave little indication as to what was to follow. Playing against a strong wind Stephen Bracken kicked Towers into the lead with s free after Shane Boland attacking from half-back was pulled to the ground. Micheál Walsh did excellent to bypass two Mearnóg defenders and it led to Joey Murphy kicking a score from 30 metres. But two frees for the home side drew them level and they edged two clear before Shane Boland from the left touchline kicked an outstanding score. But a pivotal moment arrived straight from the resulting kick out-as Mearnóg midfielder gathered possession and ran 40 yards before driving to the roof of keeper Ian Kavanagh’s net. It was to spur the home side as they stepped up a gear and their midfield and half-back line started getting on top. A great score from the left half forwards was followed by a harsh free against Towers on their 21 that was converted. The inside forwards saw little of possession and when we advanced towards Mearnóg’s goal Fergus Callaly and Joey Murphy were stifled from striking points by disciplined defending from home side. A free from 40 metres on the stroke of half-time moved Mearnóg seven clear – 1-7 v 0-3.
But with a strong wind behind them Towers were far from out of it and straight from the throw-in started the second period in the ascendancy. Eric Finn carried and laid off to the supporting Fergus whose strike for a point was blocked. Then Callaly fielded on the 40 and his quick free released full forward Brian Gregg who rounded the keeper but his goalbound effort was blocked at close range. They were opportunities Towers were left to rue as a soft free conceded on the 21 and possession given away from a kick-out left nine between the sides – 1-9 v 0-3. Towers continued to be resolute and Gregg released the overlapping Finn and a foul led to Bracken narrowing the margin to six points. But another point was quickly tagged on for the home side to leave the game adrift of the visitors. Walsh, Finn and Callaly worked openings but a combination of good Mearnóg defending in the full back line and us not getting the break required meant we failed to find a required goal. There was little hope with ten minutes remaining but to their credit our lads finished the stronger. Bracken pointed from a free and Finn kicked an excellent point when he attacked at pace. His drive edged just the wrong side of the bar.
Well done to players and management for Under 21 Campaign 2014/2015.
Round Tower: Ian Kavanagh, Padraig Fitzpatrick, Seán O’Donnagain, Aaron Whelan, Alex Darbey, Eric Finn, Shane Boland, Fergus Callaly, Michael Cleary Burns, Thomas Galvin, Joey Murphy, Stephen Bracken, Brian Gregg, Jack Whelan. Used subs: Kevin McGibney, Adam Doyle. Adam Clarke