AFL 2: St Mary’s 1-5 v Round Tower 0-11
It’s now three successive wins for Round Tower seniors in Dublin Footballs second tier following a hard fought derby win against neighbours St Mary’s of Saggart on Saturday evening, writes Mick McGlynn. This gritty win will further galvanise Mick Hyland’s men who have now won three from their opening four league fixtures. The win was down to a dominant first-half from Towers, who played against the slope and the ‘scoring goal’. A Tom Lyons free and Eoghan Moore point were our openers. Gary Cleary pulled off an excellent save to deny the hosts. When Mary’s gave possession away James Kelly set up Stephen McGibney to point. McGibney then kicked his second from a tight angle from the left side. McGibney was again pivotal for our next score when Jason Joyce tipped a long ball into his path and he was tripped to enable Joyce point free and put us 0-5 v 0-1 ahead. Towers were winning the midfield battle and the breaks and Joyce was consistently winning possession in inside forwards. Derek Murray broke up a Mary’s attack and a long ball to the inside forwards was palmed by Micheál Walsh into Joyce path and he clipped over keeper for a point. It had been an excellent opening 20 minutes but Towers gave away possession in bringing ball from defence and were punished with Mary’s netting. Former Dublin footballer Blaine Kelly then kicked the home side one behind. But Towers were resilient in responding. Barry Keane picked out Walsh and he was pulled to the ground and Joyce did the honours. From the resulting kick-out Kelly broke onto the ball and was fouled after kicking to inside forwards. From 21 yards Joyce pointed the free. Towers attacks were punctuated by support for the man in possession and when Keane broke forward from half-backs he flicked a pass over his shoulder to McGibney who kicked the halfs last score; Round Tower 0-10 v St Mary’s 1-3.
It suited Towers that the second half was low scoring. Supporters from both sides were fired up though, with local rivalry coming to the fore with a series of spats. Attacks consistently came to an end when moved into inside forwards, with Mark Gahan in Towers full back line and Derek Murray and Ian Ward in half-backs consistently stifling Mary’s advances. The home side could only eek out two points so with a minute remaining they were striking for goal from a 21 metre free but it was repelled. Keane, Murray, Ward, Lyons and Jason Murphy show excellent composure around the Towers half-back line to patiently keep possession and run down the clock. The move finished with foul on the 21 and from a tight angle Joyce clipped the final score.
Round Tower: Gary Cleary, Sean O’Donnagain, Mark Gahan, Shane Byrne, Tom Lyons, Ian Ward, Barry Keane, Eoghan Moore, Liam Connolly, Jason Joyce, Eric Finn, James Kelly, Micheál Walsh, Derek Murray, Stephen McGibney. Used sub: Jason Murphy