Bitter disappointment for our Under 21 Footballers as a valiant second-half comeback fell agonisingly short at a blustery and wet Abbotstown on Saturday afternoon, writes Mick McGlynn. Both sides kicked early wides as they sought to come to terms with a very strong wind and it was Towers who opened the scoring. Craig Shaaban, and Alex O’Neill combined up the left and Sean Casey was pulled to the ground. Thomas Galvin stepped up to dispatch the free.
However, Isle’s settled into the game and kicked two points before a good move up the right led to their centre-half-forward strike powerfully to the roof of the net, leaving keeper Oisin Douglas with no chance. Towers kicked three wides and misplaced passess led to moves coming undone as we were progressing up the field. The Finglas men were four clear on the 23 minute mark – 1-3 v 0-1 – when a tonic arrived by way of an Alex O’Neill goal. Darren Gilligan and Eoghan Halpin combined on the 40 and Kevin McGibney struck for a point from the left. His effort came down off the post and Casey did excellent to control before feeding to O’Neill who finished to the net from close range. Isle’s almost struck an immediate goal reply but Douglas palmed a stinging effort over the bar. Towers did push to bring greater parity before the break and Matthew Kelly intercepted well before releasing Galvin. He was dragged to the ground but his free into the gusty wind from the 40 tailed wide. Isles did notch another before the break to leave the sides at 1-5 v 1-1.
It was Towers who needed a quick start to the second half but instead it went the way of the visitors. From throw-in they won possession and a bounced deceived the Towers rearguard to leave an inside forward clear on goal and he struck across Douglas to leave the deficit at seven. Towers had to chip away at the lead and Liam O’Connor, Darren Gilligan and Adam Behan swiftly interchanged passes to bring about a free that Galvin converted. Isle’s notched another two and it could have been worse when the left half forward struck for the top corner but Douglas again brilliantly palmed the strike away. But Towers were getting a foothold in the game, keeping possession much better in working it upfield. The attacking threat was upped significantly. O’Connor poked a goal attempt narrowly wide under pressure, after Behan had a strike at goal well blocked. The move was an indication Towers were hitting their stride. Adam Doyle, who added solidity to defence following his introduction at the break, dispossessed in midfield and fed Conor Flannery to charge towards goal. The foul on him led to Galvin converting our third point. And with 17 minutes still on the clock the deficit was narrowed to four. Kelly and O’Connor carried up the right and the latter delivered an excellent angled ball into the full forwards. McGibney tipped it to Galvin who struck past the keeper. Towers gathered momentum. Kelly, O’Connor and Doyle combined only for McGibney’s strike for a point to be blocked. Galvin broke up the left and his drive across goal was almost palmed into the net. Play was subsequently pulled back for a free that he converted. Then Kelly, Casey and Behan broke at pace up the right. It led to another placed ball and Galvin’s fifth point. With 11 to play he narrowed the deficit to one. Behan won possession and McGibney fed the onrushing Galvin to kick a huge score from the 40. The ultimate turnaround almost arrived two minutes later when Behan’s pass across was fielded by Casey and he poked towards goal but a last ditch block denied Towers a goal. Towers continued to push, working the ball upfield in the gusty wind but two moves broke down at the final stages. Moving into added time and with Towers players pushing on for the winner, it was Isle’s who snatched the last score of the game and with it the Championship.
Commiserations to the lads and their management team.
Round Tower: Oisin Douglas, Alex Doyle, Conor Byrne, Eoghan Fitzgerald, Darren Gilligan, Lee Moran, Matthew Kelly, Craig Shaaban, Conor Flannery, Alex O’Neill, Eoghan Halpin, Adam Behan, Sean Casey, Thomas Galvin, Kevin McGibney. Used subs: Adam Doyle, Liam O’Connor, Jordan Walsh, Jack Quinlan. Unused subs: Adam Eustace, Adam Judge, Azeez Fetuga, Conor Broderick, Sean Billings, Andrew Rigney, Tom Cannon, Ben Pepper, Luke Errity