Round Towers 2-7
Joe Mallon SFC round three
A late point from Confey substitute Conor Daly earned his side a replay in a tense and ferocious round three game in Hawkfield on Sunday evening. The draw means that the draw for the quarter-finals of the competition will be postponed until a winner is found on Wednesday evening in the replay.
In what was a somewhat difficult half to sum up, the two teams went into the break tied at 1-3 apiece. There were periods which could have sent the sizeable gathering in Hawkfield to sleep, but there were also moments of class interjected in those spells that really livened proceedings up.
Despite Evan Flynn curling over a superb opening point after just over a minute had been played, the early stages brought about little in the way of excitement as both defences were coming out on top. That aspect was enjoyable in itself, and the standard of the tackling and pressure being put on by both sets of defenders. Neil Scanlon's fifth minute free was the last time that Round Towers would score until the 16th minute, though Confey would only score once themselves as the game entered a lull period.
The north Kildare outfit burst into life in the 12th minute when they hit their first score, and the game's opening goal. Paddy Griffin played a fine ball into the centre to James Gately who shovelled it towards Niall Carney, and the corner-forward found the onrushing David Slattery who made no mistake with the finish.
Obviously not taking the concession of the goal as too much of a setback, Towers set about scoring a cracking goal of their own immediately afterwards. Mark Byrne scooped a perfect pass into Neil Scanlon, who then showed great strength to hold off a couple of Confey defenders and get the ball out to Stuart Murphy who found the net.
Another fine team move led to their next score as Mark Waters sent them three points clear with a fine point.
Confey began to settle into the game a bit more towards the end of the half, and they ended it on a real high as they clipped over three scores in a row. Frankie Barry landed their first with a monstrous effort from distance, before a flowing move saw Paddy Griffin hit the target from close range. A curling point from Gately two minutes before the interval ensured that it was all square heading for the turnaround.
The second half began much in the same way as the first as Round Towers hit the front early on, this time though it was a goal that opened the half's scoring. Inside the first minute Stuart Murphy drove a high ball into the edge of the square and Matthew Kelly beat Confey goalkeeper Colin Heeney to the high ball to flick it just over the line and into the net. Carney responded with a point from a free for Confey, but Scanlon cancelled that out with his own point from a placed ball at the opposite end.
Heeney panicked with the resultant kickout, belting it straight to Conor Hylanf who played in Murphy to kick a point, and less than three minutes late reply Confey manager Davy Hughes made the unusual move to replace the goalkeeper.
Four points ahead and with plenty of momentum, Round Towers looked in rude health at this stage but Confey began to bite back. They kicked four points in the space of eight minutes to tie the game up as Carney knocked over a couple of frees to go alongside with scores from Daly and Gately.
With the sides level it was Round Towers' on field general, Mickey Kelly who stepped up to land an inspirational point five minutes beforehand the end from the left wing as he struck the ball high into the night sky in Hawkfield to drop the ball just over the Confey crossbar. When Jason Dunne sent Round Towers two clear with a couple of minutes to go it looked like the Kildare Town side were destined for the win, but scores from Carney and Daly at the other end pulled Confey back level.
Towers had a chance to win the game late on when Jason O'Brien had an attempt from a free, but his effort went well wide from 40 metres out and the teams will have to meet again to decide a winner on Wednesday night.
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