Athy's Kevin Feely about to convert a penalty past James Robinson of Round Towers in the Senior Football Championship
Round Towers 0-8
Senior Football Championship Group 4 Round 1
Penalties in either half from Kevin Feely helped Athy to an opening round victory over Round Towers in the Senior Football Championship at St.Conleths Park on Saturday evening.
It wasn’t as comfortable as the eight point winning margin sounded though as they only led by one at the interval.
In the second half everything changed however with Athy scoring 1-6 and with Towers only getting efforts from Mark Scanlon and Evan Flynn the South Kildare side pulled away.
Athy were competent without ever over extending themselves too much but they still had good performers with Kevin Feely starring alongside James Eaton, Kieran Farrell and David Hyland.
Athy also welcomed back Liam McGovern after a spell of travelling and with Paschal Connell also due back this week their hand is getting stronger all the time.
Round Towers defeated Athy during the League and they showed that winning mentality at the beginning of the game with early points from Jamie and Evan Flynn giving them the edge.
Athy quickly got on level terms in response with a free from James Eaton and a point from play by Kieran Farrell.
Darroch Mulhall missed a couple of frees afterwards but it didn’t overly perturb Athy as they were beginning to get into the groove with Eaton and David Hyland giving them a double scores advantage.
Kevin Feely was relatively quiet up to that stage but that quickly changed in the 23rd minute when after going in for a spell at full forward he caught a missile of a ball from out the field by James Eaton and when he wormed his way into the square he was eventually halted by Mark Waters who brought him down and although it wasn’t the strongest of spot kicks’s Feely’s effort still found a way to the net under the body of James Robinson.
Despite that setback Towers responded in style with three frees from Neil Scanlon and a fine score from play by Mikey Kelly narrowing the deficit to just one at the interval.
Brian Kinahan got a black card at the start of the second period but it made no difference to last year’s beaten county finalists with four points in a row.
Eaton kicked his third and fourth points with both coming from open play while Niall Kelly also got in on the act with a brace as Vinny Walsh’s men went 1-8 to 0-6 ahead.
Mulhall had a shot well saved by James Robinson during this period too but it was very noticeable that the Towers sideline was getting all the more frustrated with the performance of the referee and after Brian Lacey was officially warned by Fergus Devereux earlier in the game, Glenn Ryan then appeared to be sent off.
Interestingly though and in similar fashion to Cian O’Neill during the Kildare v Tyrone Qualifier the Towers boss maintained his place on the sideline.
Towers eventually got on the board for the second half with a Mark Scanlon point in the 46th minute but as soon as it looked like they had a chance their hopes went up in smoke when Barry Kelly was fouled and Athy won their second penalty of the game.
It was like a game of chess with Robinson and Feely but the Athy star won out as he sent the Towers stopper the wrong way for his second goal of the game.
Hyland and Liam McGovern added on further points for the victors before Evan Flynn responded.
Towers tried everything to force a goal for an interesting finale but it never came and the game ended on a downer for them as Robinson was sent off for an attempted strike on Mark Hyland which then led to a mini bust up.
Robinson had only returned from an overseas trip to Lebanon with the Army and he will miss next week’s game against Johnstownbridge but for Athy they move forward with confidence after the eight point success.
Athy: James Roycroft; Sean Ronan, Cathal McCarron, Mark Hyland, Ross Bell, David Hyland 0-2, Brian Kinahan, Kevin Feely 2-0, Mick Foley, Kieran Farrell 0-1, Tony Gibbons, Niall Kelly 0-2, Darroch Mulhall, Danny O’Keefe, James Eaton 0-4 (0-1f).
Subs used: Paul Whelan for Kinahan (Black Card) 35 mins, Barry Kelly for O’Keefe 46 mins, Liam McGovern 0-1 (0-1f) for Mulhall 46 mins, David McGovern for Feely 53 mins, Eoghan McGlinchey for Eaton 59 mins, Conor Ronan for Gibbons 61 mins.
Round Towers: James Robinson; Hugh McDonald, Michael Joyce, Leon Tsang, Davy O’Neill, Michael Kelly 0-1, Jamie Flynn 0-1 (0-1f), Mark Waters, Evan Flynn 0-2, Mark Scanlon 0-1, Mark Byrne, John O’Dwyer, Michael Murphy, Neil Scanlon 0-3 (0-3fs), DJ Flynn.
Subs used: Jason Dunne for Waters (Black Card) 24 mins, Dean Houlihan for O’Dwyer 44 mins.
Ref: Fergus Deveraux