Round Towers 2-12 v Clontarf 2-10
The U16’s caused a major upset on Saturday when they defeated league leaders Clontarf in the U16 football league in the Community Centre. This was the last round of the league and Clontarf had only dropped 1 point in their previous 13 games. Having won the toss, Towers decided to play into the wind, however it was the away team that got off to the better start with a point from a free. The lead didn’t last for long as Shane Boland put the Towers back on level terms with a well taken point. Towers added another three points before Clontarf registered another score. In spite of playing into a strong wind, it was the home team that was playing the better football. The midfield pairing Joey Murphy and Chris Berry laid the foundations for the first half performance. Joey won a lot of primary possession and was well supported by half backs Aaron Soady, Michael Cleary and Daniel Jesse while Chris played as an extra defender supporting his full backs. The Towers cause was greatly helped by their forwards who converted a large percentage of their possession. Aaron Wynne and Craig Carroll were a constant thorn in the opposition side and full forward Cian Clarke was a very effective target man. Shane Boland was to the fore with three points from play and Alan Gavin kept the score ticking over converting three placed balls. The story of the first half was how the home team worked tirelessly to deny the opposition time and space, and when in possession working as a unit to retain possession and move the ball into the opposition danger area. Towers managed to limit the away side to a single point from play and were it not for a penalty late in the half, could have gone into the half time break with a lead. Instead it was Clontarf who ended the half two points ahead on a score line of 1-6 to 0-7..
Towers got the perfect start to the second half with two points from play, but just as they seemed to be getting a grip on the game Clontarf took back the lead with a point of their own. In spite of playing into the wind Clontarf put a lot of pressure on the Towers back line. The Towers backs, marshalled by goalkeeper Justin O’Hanlon and captain Eoin Barrett, insured that Clontarf had to work hard for possession and corner backs Sean Flynn and Ciaran Brennan kept a tight rein on their men. Joey Murphy combined well with Aaron Whelan to get a long range point from play, and Alan Gavin chipped in with two more points from placed balls. The teams exchanged points and when Gary Quinlivan crashed the ball to the back of the net, it looked like a major upset was on the cards. As the game entered the final quarter the home support was kept on tender hooks as both teams fought to gain the upper hand. In spite of the Towers efforts, Clontarf seemed to find another gear as they fought to retain their unbeaten record. With the finish line in sight Towers led by the narrowest of margins and looked like they might win, however the game was thrown on its head with three minutes to go, against the run of play, Clontarf scored a break- away goal to go into a two point lead. This didn’t deter the Towers boys who set about getting back into the game. They piled on the pressure and after a number of missed opportunities, centre back Michael Cleary put the Towers back in the lead with a spectacular goal from 25 meters. Shane Boland added another point to put the Towers into a two point lead. Clontarf did their best to get back into the game but Towers held firm to finish out two point winners on a score line of 2-12 to 2-10. The team can take great confidence from this performance as they go into the league play offs and the Cup final.
Team: Justin O’Hanlon, Sean Flynn, Eoin Barrett (c ), Daniel Jesse, Michael Cleary (1-0) , Aaron Soady, Joey Murphy (0-3), Chris Berry, Aaron Wynne , Shane Boland (0-4),Alan Gavin (0-5) Cian Clarke, Aaron Whelan, Craig Carroll, Gary Quinlivan (1-0) .
Thanks to Barry Gavin for the match report