Thomas Davis 2-14 v Round Tower 0-11, Kiltipper, 20th July
Round Tower Inter hurlers could not make it three wins from three and give great servant Eoin Ryan a winning send off before his travels abroad at Kiltipper last Saturday, writes Mick McGlynn. Late Thomas Davis scores gave the scoreboard a gloss for the home side that was not reflective of this tight AHL3 clash. View Nicole Murray Dodd’s pictures from the game here.
With just five minutes a remaining the Tallaght men were a goal ahead and it was a constant throughout the game that Towers were chasing a minimum three point lead. Davis were quickest into their stride with two points in the opening five minutes, with the opener coming from long range after Towers failed to clear their lines and the second resulted from an incisive pass into the full forward line was passed back to the full forward to point from 40 metres.
Ian Church had an early Towers attempt blocked and Gary Quinlivan’s turn and strike drifted to the right but Towers opener arrived on 7 minutes when midfielder Alex Darbey won a Davis puck out and found centre half forward Barry Keogh. His strong run drew three defenders before he pointed. Darbey again won in midfield but Quinlivan was off target under pressure before an Eoin Ryan sideline dropped around the Davis square and resulted in a Towers penalty. Ryan opted to point and bring both sides level.
The games decisive score arrived after 15 minutes when a Davis long range effort drifted to the right but was kept in play and a low strike from close range beat keeper Stephen Chapman on the near post. The score put the home side into the ascendancy and two frees and a point from their left half forward left Towers trailing 1-5 v 0-2. Fergal McDonagh, operating at half-forward, won a free that allowed Dublin Minor Quinlivan to point but Davis responded with a point from their centre half forward. Eoin McManus registered the best score of the half when he emerged from a ruck of players on the right sideline to point from under the shadows from distance. It left six between the sides and Davis flashed a shot across goal before Towers again narrowed the margin when a ball into the inside forwards from McDonagh broke and a smart pick up and turn from Quinlivan allowed him to point from 35 metres. The half-time score read 1-5 v 0-5.
Towers went on the ascendancy at the start of the second half but two early attacks failed to yield a score because dogged defending did not allow a free strike for a point. But they registered a point with their third attack when a Darbey sideline cut broke to Quinlivan whose effort was blocked but McDonagh was in support to point from 40 metres.
But in a trait that was constant throughout the second half, Davis responded with a score, on this occasion from a corner forward. Despite an attempt to distract before striking, Quinlivan pointed a free from the halfway line but again Davis responded. Quinlivan then hit the post with a free from a right angle. Towers really needed a goal to cut the margin and Ryan almost supplied it. A strong run at the Davis defence by Keogh led to a drive at goal being deflected and Ryan almost netted with a one handed attempt that the home side thwarted. The block broke to Quinlivan who calmly found Darbey back on the 40 and he struck between the posts. Again the home side responded. An off-the-ball incident left Kevin Scott on the ground injured and it was capitalised upon with a point. Again Towers displayed great resolve and when McDonagh won a free in the half forwards Quinlivan pointed. A free conceded by Craig Curtis was pointed. Ryan secured possession in the right corner and substitute Eric Finn was held Quinlivan pointed to leave three between the sides with nine minutes remaining.
The reponse from Davis came from their centre-half-forward who hit a terrific long range effort under the shade on the right sideline. Finn proved influential as a substitute, picking up breaking ball in the half forwards and when he was pulled back Quinlivan pointed the free from 40 metres with 5 minutes remaining. Given the close nature of the contest, Towers needed the goal in the short space of time but it didn’t look likely to materialise and unfortunately it was Davis who netted again. There was big touch of fortune about it as the strike from 35 metres was played into the Towers goal with the glare of the sun facing into it and it dropped just under the Towers crossbar into the top corner. Late points gave a flourish to the scoreline for the home side but did not reflect the close nature of the contest and Towers resolve throughout.
Round Tower: Stephen Chapman, Shane Byrne, Craig Curtis, Kevin Scott, Eoin McManus, Kevin O’Neill, Padraic ‘Podge’ McGeever, Alex Darbey, Luke Currivan, Gary Quinlivan, Barry Keogh, Fergal McDonagh, Ian Church, Eoin Ryan, Barry Finn. Used Subs: Shane Cross, Shane McBoland. Eric Finn.