Tower’s 13-men ride luck to brink of AFL1

by Gazette Reporter

ROUND Tower are one game away from promotion back to the top tier of league football in Dublin following as their steely determination and disciplined tackling, with a clinical edge, saw them beat Naomh Mearnog by two points in Portmarnock.
The considerable number of travelling supporters were aware of Towers intent from the off.
Trevor Clendenning kicked the first of his five points within two minutes, followed up by a James Kelly curler while Jason Joyce was also on the mark.
The dominant start was augmented when Micheal Walsh netted on the 12 minute mark. Dan Gregg and fellow corner back Niall Byrne set the move in motion with Derek Murray carrying play forward.
He popped to Walsh and, one-on one, he calmly slotted his low strike across the keeper into the left corner. Mearnogs, though, responded instantly and their own green flag was raised, beating keeper Gary Cleary with a low strike to reduce the gap to two points.
But the Clondalkin side rebuilt their strong advantage as the half pushed on with Clendenning slotting over from the right before Thomas Galvin who poked over on the stretch.
Another couple of Clendenning scores and another from Galvin were counter-acted by a couple of Naomh Mearnog points, ending the first half 1-10 to 1-5.
It was a strong position to build from and Tower’s started the second period, once again, on the front foot. They almost netted after Joyce won a diagonal Ward pass and Clendenning was released on goal.
The pull-back on him resulted in Joyce tapping the free over. Walsh then struck a sublime point from the right sideline, curling inside the post.
It was three in succession within the opening five minutes when Joyce fielded high and had the strength to kick a point instantly on the turn.
However, a serious setback arrived on the seventh minute when Jason Murphy was shown a red card.
And the Portmarnock hosts sensed an opening. Mearnogs got a greater foothold on the game but only managed to kick two points because of Tower’s discipline in defending.
Tower’s needed another score and it arrived on 22 minutes courtesy of Niall Lanigan with a terrific long-range kick that curled over from the right. Mearnogs threw everything at Tower’s and tagged on five points in the final 10 minutes to give a real scare.
And Tower’s had to see out the final minutes with 13 following Niall Byrne’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
Two glimpses of goal did arrive but sufficient pressure was applied to force Mearnogs forwards to strike over.
And Tower’s composure in the final minutes saw them keep possession with substitutes Mark Taylor, Liam Connolly and Stephen Bracken playing a lead role.
The composure enabled Towers to leave Portmarnock with a terrific win that tees them up for an AFL2 final showdown.
The final will be played next Sunday at 2pm, with the opposition being the winners of Clontarf and St Anne’s in the second semi-final.

Related Articles