Round Tower 0-15 v Trinity Gaels 0-11, Monastery Road, 27th April 2013
Round Tower senior footballers turned in a second half performance of character and resilience to record a hard-earned and very valuable two points in AFL 2, writes Mick McGlynn. Defeat against a strong Trinity Gael’s side in Monastery Road would have left the senior footballers nursing three losses on the trot and struggling but Towers are now faced with a better return from four played: two wins, two losses.
Gaels Brendan O’Brien and Dean Kelly proved particularly influential in the first half, setting up and kicking scores. Gaels went two ahead within five minutes of throw-in but Derek Murray showed composure in registering Towers first score with a left footed kick from 30 metres. When Eoin Moran was fouled in the inside forwards, Ciaran Corrigan converted to equalise. O’Brien in particular was getting on the ball and starting moves for Gaels. The visitors were at worst level during the half. When Towers levelled the visitors would edge ahead. Conor L’Estrange’s hand pass found Moran on the run and he fisted a point from distance. An excellent Towers move started in the full back line with Tom Lyons and involved Murray before Stephen Halpin’s direct ball was caught high by Moran who turned to point from 21 metres. It was tick-for-tack. Moran’s score left it at 0-5 v 0-5 and again Gael’s responded before Moran, who caused problems in the inside forwards, was fouled and Corrigan again pointed. The men from Donaghmeade went two clear but two minutes before half-time, with options restricted in the inside forwards, Ian Ward created a few vital yards with a neat interchange with L’Estrange and kicked a long-range effort to leave a point between both sides at the break.
A big 30 minutes faced Towers at half-time. Towers would have felt they were on the backfoot for much of the first half and if they could curtail the influence of O’Brien and Kelly they could secure the win they desperately wanted. Jason Phillips kicked Towers first score of the second-half, after Halpin fielded and fed Murray, whose pass to Phillips was pointed from distance. Gael’s continued responding to keep ahead and Jason Joyce kicked a score from 30 to leave Towers trailing by a point. When Ward’s long-range effort was deflected for a 45, Lyons travelled from the back to kick straight over. Midway through the second-half both sides were level but Towers took a stranglehold in the final quarter.
Murray and Phillips proved particularly influential; Murray won a number of crucial tackles and Phillips won crucial ball in midfield. James Kelly came from defence to kick a great score from the right, from a tight angle, after Eoghan Young set up the attack from defence. When Fleming fielded in midfield he found substitute Eoghan Moore whose pass inside found Barry Gallagher, who in turn set up Liam Connolly, and the onrushing Phillips kicked Towers into the lead for the first time. Phillips and Murray were again instrumental in the next play and interchange between Corrigan and Ward saw the Towers centre-half-back fouled on the right and L’Estrange converted from a tight angle. Eoghan Moore ensured Towers held a four point cushion and helped secure the valuable two points with a late point from distance.
Round Tower: Darren Kelly, Barry Keane, Mark Gahan, Eoghan Young, Tom Lyons, Ian Ward, James Kelly, Derek Murray, Stephen Halpin, Jason Joyce, Eoin Moran, Liam Connolly, Conor L’Estrange, Jason Phillips, Ciaran Corrigan: Used subs: Barry Gallagher for Moran, Eoghan Moore for Corrigan.