Towers earn another crack at Championship Final berth

By Alex Barrett

ROUND Tower and Erins Isle are set for a rematch in the semi-final of the Dublin Intermediate Hurling Championship after a last-minute point for the former by Alex O’Neil left the two teams deadlocked after 80 minutes of play in O’Toole Park on Sunday evening

Both teams began to rack up points early on, Conor Carney putting Isles in the lead with a free before Barry Finn equalised for the Clondalkin side.

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Round Tower demonstrated great battling spirit to force a Championship semi final replay

 Isle again took the lead thanks to two points from Shane Ryan and Peter Elliot, but a timely score from O’Neil kept matters tight until a goal from Robyn Fitzpatrick handed the Finglas side some breathing room.

Towers continued to chip away with long range points before O’Neil made a fantastic run down the left wing, shaking off three defenders before firing to the net

Only a point behind now, Towers managed to restore parity at 1-9 apiece before the break when Liam O’Connor fired over the bar.

The second half greatly mirrored the first, with both sides matching each other point for point.

Some more great scores from Liam O’Connor, Alex O’Neil and Jack Whelan gave Towers a narrow lead, but the conditioning of Erin’s Isle paid off as they maintained a fast pace in the closing minutes of the game.

Points from Graham Williams King and Conor Berigan quickly closed the gap and a late free by Conor Carney meant both teams were once again level at the final whistle, resulting in 20 minutes of extra time.

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Round Tower’s Gary Quinlivan battles for the ball during Sunday’s Intermediate Hurling Championship semi final

Isle dominated the first ten minutes, racing three points in  front through Fran Carroll, Darren Hanlon and Williams King, but a massive display of spirit from Towers saw Liam O’Connor and Alex O’Neil respond with as many points in two minutes, forcing a rematch that will take place on Friday, October 4 in Parnell Park.

Round Tower:  J. Murray, P. McGeever, G. Quinlavan, S. Byrne, A. Darby, B. Keogh, E. Finn, J. Whelan, A. O’Neil, D. Byrne, L. O’Connor, E. Moran, B. Finn, E. Walsh, P. Stapleton, A. Wynne, A. Doyle, C. O’Brion, B. McGloughlin, D. Faulknan, E. Fitzgerald, E. Young, J. McGrath

Erins Isle:  D. McCabbe, J. Hyland, G. Cronin, E. Connaghan, E. King, C. Donohoe, T. Fox, R. Fitzpatrick, D. Murray, G. Williams King, C. Carney, I. Fitzpatrick, D. Hanlon, F. Carroll, C. Brenigan.

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