ADULT FOOTBALL LEAGUE DIVISION TWO ROUND-UP: AUGUST 1
By Daire Walsh
Ahead of their upcoming meeting at Dolphin Park, it is Templeogue Synge Street and Round Tower Clondalkin who lead the way at the top of the Adult Football League Division Two table.
Following their respective victories over Raheny and Fingal Ravens on Wednesday night, the southside duo are currently locked on 19 points each.
Though Templeogue’s slightly superior scoring average (which stands at +65 in comparison to Towers’ +60) keeps them in pole position at the moment, their proposed penultimate round encounter presents both teams with an opportunity to secure automatic promotion back to the top-tier.
Eager to build on a positive second half display in last Saturday’s stalemate with Fingallians (0-10 apiece), Templeogue made the journey across to St Anne’s Park with a title challenge well within their grasp.
Despite coming under some early pressure from Raheny, a 20th-minute goal by Killian O’Gara offered TSS significant leeway. With Ger Vickery and Luke O’Brien impressing in attack, they brought a commanding 1-7 to 0-4 cushion into the interval.
Conscious of a potential Raheny backlash, Templeogue continued to pursue scores on the resumption. O’Gara (younger brother of Dublin senior star Eoghan) ended the contest with a 1-2 haul, but he was ably-assisted throughout by Vickery (four points) and O’Brien (three points).
Eoin O’Donovan and Colm Murphy also chipped with 0-2 salvos, while Cathal Morley and Danny O’Reilly - an All-Ireland minor finalist with the Sky Blues in 2003 - also added their names to the scoresheet over the course of the hour.
At Monastery Road, Towers maintained their excellent recent form with a comprehensive 5-20 to 1-10 win against Fingal Ravens. Darren Gilligan set the tempo for the Clondalkin men with an early fisted goal, before Ian Ward, Micheal Walsh and Mick Hallows also chipped in with scores.
Ravens received a lifeline with a three-pointer of their own, only for Ward to restore order for the hosts. The former Dublin underage star rattled the visitors’ cage with a brace of majors - the second an unstoppable strike into the top-corner of the net.
Walsh also raised a green flag in the 25th-minute, helping his side to develop a seemingly unassailable 4-9 to 1-5 half-time advantage. With corner-back Niall Byrne, Hallows, Conor L’Estrange and Ward all finding the target after the break, it was clear that Towers were in no mood to let up.
Another goal inevitably arrived 13 minutes from time - Gilligan grabbing his second of the tie - as the home team continued to make hay in attack. Hot on the heels of Hallows, L’Estrange and Walsh efforts, the outstanding Ward concluded the scoring with three points on the spin.
Fingallians were the divisional pace-setters in advance of Wednesday’s action, but have now slipped down to third following their 0-11 to 1-13 defeat to St Mary’s, Saggart at Lawless Park.
Meanwhile, as a result of their draw (1-10 to 1-10) with Skerries Harps, Ballyboughal remain in contention for a play-off spot. This leaves them just two points adrift of Templeogue and Round Towers in a highly-competitive division, but they might view this game as one they left behind.
Thanks to the scoring prowess of Gerry Seavers (1-4) and Cathal Beggs (0-3), Ballyboughal opened up a nine-point gap - 1-9 to 0-3 - in the early stages of the second period in Skerries.
However, as the half progressed, Harps created a more familiar rhythm in the final-third. Five points without reply edged them back into the contention - though the visitors remained in the ascendancy (1-10 to 0-9) as the final whistle approached.
Skerries refused to throw in the towel, though, and a late scoring blitz allowed them to finish the proceedings with a share of the spoils. Although this may have felt like a victory for Skerries, they have actually slipped to sixth following Naomh Mearnog’s 1-16 to 0-13 triumph over O’Toole’s at Blunden Drive.
At Collins Avenue, Whitehall Colmcille produced a strong performance against Clontarf - but were ultimately defeated by the narrowest of margins (1-12 to 1-11). Facing into a stiff breeze for the majority of the opening half, ‘Tarf were 1-8 to 0-6 in front at the midway stage.
In spite of some wayward shooting - they amassed 15 wides in total - Whitehall stormed into the contest when the action resumed. Sean Ryan’s goal was the catalyst for a spirited fightback, which was bolstered by exceptional individual performances from Rory Kerins and Collie Dunne.
Yet, Clontarf managed to hold firm under enormous pressure in the closing stages - which consequently moved them into 10th-place in the table. Just behind them on score difference are St Patrick’s, Palmerstown - who were 0-12 to 1-7 victors against St Anne’s at Bohernabreena.
It was also a profitable evening for Scoil Ui Chonaill, as they squeezed into the top-half of Division Two with a 3-15 to 2-12 success over Na Fianna ‘B’ on the Clontarf Road.