MFC A SEMI-FINAL
ROUND TOWERS 2-7 ATHY 0-10
ROUND Towers left it late but Evan Flynn’s 58th minute goal helped them on their way to a major shock as they denied Athy their fourth minor final in five years at Hawkfield on Saturday afternoon.
This is a game that Athy will feel they should have won. They bossed long periods of the second half and scored seven points in a row at one stage to lead by three going into the final nine minutes. Their lead should have been more though and the wides that were kicked while they were on top will be endlessly replayed in Athy minds this week.
A slack first half will also be at the forefront of their thoughts. Athy managed just two points in the opening period and their opponents were hardly much better, until injury time at least.
Evan Flynn’s 16th minute point put Towers 3-1 ahead and that was the end of the scoring until David O’Toole won a free for Athy in injury-time. Niall Kelly converted what seemed to be the final point of the half but there was time for one last attack.
A clever pass by Harry Seymour gave Mark Byrne plenty of room inside the Athy 45. He fed the ball inside to DJ Flynn who in turn passed on to Aaron McConville and he finished from close range to give Towers a 1-3 to 0-2 lead.
Athy were transformed after the break and David Hyland, who looked a class act throughout, pointed from the 45 metre line in the 33rd minute. Points from Niall Kelly, Paschal Connell and O’Toole in the following seven minutes brought Athy back level. The game had certainly turned in Athy’s favour and as they moved through the gears, you got the feeling that they were about to pull clear. Two points from Kelly and a 51st minute effort from Rory Feely put them three ahead but they spurned a number of chances too.
Kelly, Feely and Connell were among the guilty party but the fact that Athy were so dominant perhaps caused them to be less than clinical in front of the posts.
Towers still hadn’t scored in the second half by the time they were awarded a free inside the Athy 45 in the 54th minute. Once Evan Flynn tapped it over it was like a fuse had been lit. McConville added two points, one off the right, one off the left, and suddenly the teams were level with four minutes to play.
All the momentum was with Round Towers now and the match-winning moment arrived with just two minutes left on the clock. Substitute Louis O’Connor sent a high, hanging ball in towards the goalmouth but even when Flynn rose impressively to make a fine catch, there was still a lot of work to do with an Athy defender between him and the goal. Once back on firm ground he sent an unstoppable shot past Mark Prior.
A shell-shocked Athy could barely believe what they were seeing when Flynn then converted a free that he had won as the clock ticked past 60 minutes to put his team four clear.
Hyland managed to pull a score back and Rory Feely saw a late goalbound shot blocked but the final whistle blew shortly after to signal Towers’ hugely memorable victory.
ROUND TOWERS: Peter Ennis; Tadhg Meaney, Colin Scanlon, Bernard Ennis; Jamie Flynn, Niall Fleming, David O’Neill; Mark Byrne .-.f, Conor Leavey; Evan Flynn .-. (.fs), DJ Flynn, Aaron McConville .-.; Matthew Kelly . Harry Seymour, Michael Murphy. Sub: Louis O’Connor for Murphy, …
ATHY: Mark Prior; Dylan Leigh, Killian Mulhall, Stephen May; Tadhg Foley, Paschal Connell .-., Shane McGovern; Paddy Keogh, David Hyland .-.; Tony Martin, Mark Hyland, Nathan Owens; David O’Toole .-., Niall Kelly .-. (.fs), Rory Feely .-..
REF: Niall Colgan.