Whelan magic lands Tower’s Feile glory

by James Hendicott

ROUND Tower got the better of Man O’War in the AIG Division 4 Feile Final at Lawless Park in Swords on Sunday, as the Clondalkin side’s eye for goal in a contest full of controlled aggression and confident forward proved the key differential.
Man O’ War had much of the possession over the course of 40 minutes but were held to more difficult chances by a Round Tower side that were strategically adept in keeping the opposition at an arm’s length, and took their chances at the other end.
The north county side did have two great chances from the off as Towers struggled to come to grips with their physical presence in a scrappy opening few minutes.
Nevertheless, it was Round Tower who opened the scoring with Kate Whelan – consistently their best player in the half forwards – smashing home a penalty.
It came from their first attack as a clever through ball ended with a forward being clattered inside the area and Whelan confidently blasted into the roof of the net.
Man O’War’s goal didn’t have quite the same panache but brought them level shortly afterwards. A soaring effort by Sorcha Murphy caught out the otherwise impressive Nora Aja in the Round Tower goal. The looped ball dropped into an area Aja simply couldn’t reach as it nestled over her head and into the net for 1-0 each.
The Clondalkin side were creating the better chances, though, and deservedly went in front before half time, through another set-piece – a firmly struck free from the influential Whelan.
And they continued to take their chances in the second half. Their second goal came courtesy of persistent pressure on the Man O’War net.
It was Aoife Kennedy who eventually slotted in from close range but most of the hard work was done down the Round Tower right, with a rapid crossed ball proving too hot to handle for Man O’War goalkeeper Serena Moore, and Kennedy knocking home the rebound.
A point from Man O’War’s Megan McAuley was the best advert for the Fingal club’s attacking style and led to a period of sustained dominance.
But they were not about to undo a polished performance from Round Tower was eventually concluded by yet another Whelan point, as she burst past three defenders and calmly slotted between the posts.
It capped a brilliant weekend, adding to their group wins over St Pat’s Donabate and Cabinteely before defeating Naomh Mearnog 4-3 to 4-2 in a thrilling semi-final.

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