Larries condemned to relegation battle as finely tuned Towers storm to victory

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Larries condemned to relegation battle as finely tuned Towers storm to victory
13:26 Sunday 20th of August 2017

St Laurence's         1-9

Round Towers       1-16

Joe Mallon SFC round two losers section

2009 county champions St Laurence's will have to navigate their way out of a relegation battle after they were comprehensively put to the sword by a fine Round Towers outfit who put in a superbly balanced display on Sunday afternoon.

The winners progress to a third round tie and the chance of making a quarter-final, and it also represented the Kildare Town club's first win in Senior Championship football for six years after last winning a game at this level in 2011.

St Laurence's went into the game without two their most potent attackers, with Chris Fenner walking out on the field on crutches before the warm-up and Shaun Fahey failing a late fitness test and being replaced by Michael Sullivan at the last minute before throw-in.

That lack of cutting edge was evident in the opening eight minutes as they failed to create much going forward, and Round Towards kicked into a two-point lead early doors. Both points came by way of the fist, with Jason O'Brien flicking a Neil Scanlon free over before Mark Waters ran at the Larries' defence to fist the ball over from a tight angle. St Laurence's eventually came into the game after that, and it was the familiar target-man of Padraig Fogarty that gave them their platform. He opened their account with a neatly taken free before swerving over a sublime effort from the right wing to level the scores.

O'Brien responded with a well-taken point soon after following a quick move up the pitch from Towers, but Larries stole in to bag the first goal of the tie in the 12th minute. A long ball from Padraig O'Neill just dropped over the head of Fogarty and Towers defender Niall Fleming, and the big full-forward held his man off before striking the ball in off the carpet to send his team into the lead for the first time. A couple of points from Neil Scanlon - one from a free and the other a nice effort from play - had the scores level at 0-5 to 1-2, before Stephen Mann and Scanlon traded points at either end.

Mark Glynn almost netted a second goal for St Laurence's when he stole in behind the defence but his low shot was parried by Towers goalkeeper James Robinson. Glenn Ryan's side finished the half in fine fashion however, with Matthew Kelly, Conor Hyland and Cathal Daffy all kicking superb scores, with both Hyland's and Daffy's efforts particularly eye-catching.

A large gathering of around 20 players - including substitutes - got involved in handbags at the half-time whistle that took a couple of minutes to disperse, but Towers went into the break with a 0-9 to 1-3 lead.

There was only a minute gone in the second half when Round Towers took a giant step towards victory as they attacked down the right, with Evan Flynn eventually scooping the ball to Hyland at the edge of the square and he rolled the ball into the far corner of Shane Connolly's net. Further points from Daffy and a superb run and score from Flynn essentially put the game beyond the reach of St Laurence's as Towers surged into a 1-11 to 1-3 lead six minutes into the second half.

The response from Larries was somewhat disappointing as they remained heavily reliant on scores from Fogarty, while they ran up to many blind alleys and spilled the ball in tackles when chasing a goal that would pull them back into the game. Towers remained ultra composed throughout, and scores from Mark Byrne, Scanlon and Stuart Murphy kept them well ahead of Larries who could only muster a couple of points from Fogarty frees.

The closest Gavin Wynne's side came to netting a goal in the second half came when Jason McHugh found space on the right after Towers lost possession, but his powerful drive towards the roof of the net was well parried by Towers goalkeeper James Robinson.

Any intensity or zip that had been there in the first half had now well and truly left them game, and the final 15 minutes were hardly notable as both sides traded a couple of scores each as Hyland and Scanlon raised white flags for the winners and Eoin O'Neill and Fogarty both pointed for Larries.

St Laurence's will feel they are too strong of a team to go down and they probably are, but they will need serious improvements to get out of this relegation battle when you take into account their performances so far against Clane and Round Towers.

Scorers for St Laurence's: P Fogarty 1-6(4f), S Mann, E O'Neill and J McHugh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Round Towers: N Scanlon 0-5(3f), C Hyland 1-2, J O'Brien and C Daffy 0-2 each, S Murphy, M Kelly, M Byrne, E Flynn and M Waters 0-1 each.

St Laurence's 

S Connolly; N Clynch, K O'Brien, M Sullivan; D O'Driscoll(S O'Driscoll 42mins), T O'Neill, S Mann; M Glynn, P O'Neill; J McHugh, E Clifford(D O'Driscoll BC 60mins), E O'Neill; J Lawlor(A Stynes 42mins), P Fogarty, B Blanchfield(S Murphy 42mins).

Round Towers

J Robinson; S Comerford, M Kelly, N Fleming(L McDonald 55mins BC); J Dunne, M Scanlon, C Daffy; M Waters, M Byrne; E Flynn, J O'Brien, S Murphy; C Hyland, M Kelly, N Scanlon.

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