Skerries Harps 0-9 v Round Tower 1-12, 2nd November, AFL2. View match pictures here.
A dominant first half display left no doubt Round Tower Senior Footballers will compete in the AFL 2 play-off, writes Mick McGlynn. This was a comprehensive away win in an important fixture between two sides going that went into the final game of the season two places apart – Towers in 5th and Skerries in 7th.
Any Championship final ‘hangover’ was banished within the opening quarter as Towers raced into a 1-4 to no score lead. Eric Finn was the goal scorer, with a powerful strike from distance that the keeper got his hand to but could not keep out. Towers were dominant, with Derek Murray and Liam Connolly winning the midfield battle, the pace of Niall Lanigan, Finn and Micheál Walsh causing problems, and Eoin Moran, Ciaran Corrigan and Mick Hallows winning primary possession. Lanigan cut inside with pace to drive over and it was then the turn of Walsh to speed beyond defenders but his low effort was deflected away by the keeper. Despite being off balance Murray kicked an excellent point to give Towers a 1-3 v no score lead. The dominance continued. An angled ball by Lanigan found Hallows in the inside forwards and when he was pulled down Corrigan kicked the free. Hallows then kicked from play with his right, as the succession of scores continued. Skerries Harps struggled to mount meaningful attacks and move inside the Towers 40. On a rare occasion they did Mark Gahan intercepted on the Towers 30 and the ball was worked upfield to Walsh, who slipped it to Corrigan and he kicked between the posts. Gahan then won 50/50 in a tight space and Liam Connolly supported and released Finn to carry into forwards. He found Hallows with a direct ball inside and he collected and struck a pass across the 21 that led to Corrigan pointing again. With two minutes in the half remaining Skerries struck their opening score with a free from the 30.
Towers dominance continued in opening minutes of second half, with Lanigan kicking a 45 and Brian Costello starting and finishing an excellent move up the left involving substitute Mark Taylor, Lanigan, and a lovely tip pass by Hallows. It left the game at 1-9 v 0-1. Any hopes Harps had of reeling Towers in were effectively quashed but they showed great character to respond, with complacency also sneaking into Towers play. Skerries kicked six without reply before a superb switch pass across field by Walsh enabled Ian Ward to kick an excellent point from distance. A Murray interception in the middle resulted in a long ball to Corrigan and he was hauled to the ground and then pointed the subsequent free. An incisive pass inside by Taylor resulted in Walsh being pushed to the ground and again Corrigan punished. Skerries struck another two but the game petered out and the long-journey to Skerries proved worthwhile for the visitors as the Senior Footballers rounded of an eventful week with a winning end to the league campaign.
Round Tower: Keith Graham, Seán O’Donnagain, Mark Gahan, Brian Costello, Jason Murphy, Ian Ward, Conor L’Estrange, Derek Murray, Liam Connolly, Eric Finn, Niall Lanigan, Eoin Moran, Micheál Walsh, Mick Hallows, Ciaran Corrigan. Used subs: Mark Taylor, Davey McCarthy, Eoghan Moore.