Wednesday 5th MArch 2014. International Friendly. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road
Republic of Ireland 1-2 Serbia
A Filip Dordevic goal, added to James McCarthys o.g, cancelled out Shane Longs opening score as Serbia
defeated Ireland in an International Friendly that did little to entertain the Lansdowne Road crowd.
Saturday 22nd February 2014. PreSeason Friendly. Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway FC 1-0 Athlone Town
In torrential rain, a common trend in 2014 preseason, the Leagues newest team Galway FC beat the oldest Athlone Town on a scoreline of 1-0 in Eamonn Deacy Park
Wednesday 19th February 2014. Leinster Senior Cup.
Wexford Youths 1-4 Athlone. Ferrycarrig Park.
Eighteen years after their last competitive game as a Premier Division team, Athlone Town took to the field as a top flight outfit once again on Wednesday evening with a convincing win over Wexford Youths in the 2014 Leinster Senior Cup.
In extremely difficult conditions, thanks to a constant downpour in the not so sunny South East, Athlone took the lead inside the opening ten minutes when a defensive error allowed Sean Brennan cut through from the left wing to latch on to the ball, calmly slotting it under Brandon Callaghan in the Wexford goal.
Athlone found themselves two up inside twenty minutes when Graham Rusk opened his account with a wind assisted shot from the edge of the eighteen yard box that flew over Callaghans outstretched arm and into the top of the net.
Minutes later the wind played a part in Wexfords revival when Danny Furlong sent a looping header from just inside the penalty area, over the back peddling Paul Skinner and into the net.
Furlong came close to drawing the sides level before the break when his delicate flick past the advancing Skinner bounced the wrong side of the post and wide.
Conditions went from bad to worse in the second half, with heavier rain adding to the already howling wind. On the hour mark, and with the wind moving the ball in all directions in the air, Mark Hughes took advantage of some nervous goalkeeping when Callaghan dropped a cross allowing the midfielder tap in from close range to restore a two goal lead.In the closing twenty minutes James O’Brien wrapped things up for the visitors when the Wexford keeper lost control of the ball outside the area, and with the goals empty he sent an angled shot into the net to make it four.
In the later stages of the game, Athlone were reduced to ten men when Alan Byrne had to leave the field injured after all the allowed substitutions had already been used.
View Photos From Wexford Youths 1-4 Athlone Town
On Wednesday 12th February, at the Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone Town Football Club held their 217th Annual General Meeting, commemorating one of the Clubs most successful years on the field. The top table consisted of Club President, Tony Knight, Treasurer Joey Boland, Chairman John Hayden and Secretary David Dully.
The Secretary, David Dully, opened proceedings by reading the minutes of the 126th AGM before Club President, Tony Knight, called for a minutes silence in memory of deceased members and supporters of the club. After the President congratulated the club on a successful 2013, Club Treasurer Joey Boland distributed the accounts.
The accounts, for year ending 30th November 2013, showed a profit on ordinary activities of €152, an increase of €27,821 on the 2012 figure which was largely attributed to increased gate receipts, along with prize money coming from the League win.
Administration expenses rose by €16996 which largely accounted for gathering of a squad coming into the 2013 season.
Chairman, John Hayden, began his speech by recognising the clubs achievements on the field of play with the U17 side winning their League, the U19s winning the League of Ireland U19 Southern Division while the Senior side finished the year as League of Ireland Division 1 Champions, earning promotion to the Premier Division for the first time in eighteen years.
Special mention also went to Patrick Dunican, Aaron O’Neill and Ryan Gaffey on their call ups to the Ireland U18′s and U17′s respectively while also acknowledging the work done by the local underage club in developing players.
He also recognised the frustration felt by supporters with regard to the departure of manager Roddy Collins, stating that as events were unfolding, the club did not wish to conduct business in public at a time when negotiations were still on going with the management team. Hayden stated that Roddy still remains a friend of the club, however from a financial point of view the Club could not meet his expectations going into 2014. He also complimented the supporters for the carnival like atmosphere they brought to Athlone Town Stadium during the year and looked forward to their continued support in the Premier Division while announcing James Blacoe and John Croughan as Supporter Liaison Officers for 2014.
Hayden continued with an overview of the Clubs longer term vision with the continuation of underage teams at U17 and U19 level along with a partnership with local schoolboy club St Francis. There will also be investigations into the possibilities of fielding teams at U15 and U16 level in line with the recommendations of FAI High Performance Director Ruud Doktor. The club have also entered a partnership with neighboring Scoil na gCeithre Máistrí, allowing the Gael Scoil access to the Athlone Town Stadium facilities. It is also hoped the Club will be in a position to appoint a Community Liaison Officer in the future.
From a Senior team perspective, the fall off of players after U17 and U19 level has prompted Athlone Town to accept an invitation to enter a team in a newly established Connacht Senior League along side Sligo Rovers, Mervue United, Salthill Devon, Castlebar Celtic, Limerick FC and Longford Town.
He also outlined plans to apply for Sports Capital Grants, and hoped for more fundraising, for the development of a new astro pitch and also full size grass pitch, along with the construction of a second stand for the main pitch at Athlone Town Stadium.
It was also noted that the Club have yet to find a main sponsor for 2014, and while not the preferred choice, have still not ruled out the possibility of holding a raffle for the jersey sponsor like last year.
A motion to amend the Club Constitution with regard to reducing the number of Club Trustees to 3 was proposed and passed. Prior to this, the constitution allowed for a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10, however as there appeared to be no sitting Trustees at present, it was agreed to make the amendment.
The eagerly anticipated “Any Other Business” sparked much debate, with the departure of the U19 management team, and the severance of the Clubs affiliation with the Athlone District Schoolboy/Schoolgirl League the major bones of contention.
Relations with the ADSL broke down late in 2013 with the fear that the proposed Athlone Town U15/U16 sides would decimate the ADSL, and contradicting statements regarding related correspondence fueled the fire between Hayden and ADSL Chairman Padraig Quinn. The affiliation of St Francis as opposed to the entire ADSL also raised eyebrows, however Hayden assured those in attendance that Athlone Town continue to have a relationship with all individual clubs, reiterating that the Club would be available and open to reconciliation talks with the ADSL Executive for the good of local football and players.
The issue surrounding the dismissal of U19 manager Michael Collins was high on the agenda from the floor with the Chairman stating that a complete breakdown in trust had lead to his decision to relieve Collins of his duties. He was also quick to point out that an unsuccessful reconciliation meeting had taken place soon after the departure and that the reasons listed on social media couldn’t be further from the truth of the situation. With Collins not in attendance, Hayden stressed that it would not be appropriate to publicise the full reasoning behind the events.
After the proposing and seconding of returning officers, the meeting ended with the committee looking forward to Athlones venture into the Premier Division under the stewardship of Mick Cooke.
Friday 7th February 2014. Preseason Friendly. City Calling Stadium.
Longford Town 0-1 Athlone Town
After pipping their neighbors to the promotion post last season, Athlone got one over on Longford again with a win in the build up to the 2014 season.
Conditions were far from ideal, with torrential rain falling the City Calling Stadium leaving a large amount of surface water an hour before kick-off. Trying to contend with the rain, along with the addition of a gale force wind, also limited players options when they did get their foot on the ball.
Longford came close to taking the lead early on when a free kick from Sean Russell on the right wing looked to be flying towards Paul Skinners top right corner before a gust of wind took hold of the ball, sending it down towards the bottom left of the goal. Luckily for the visitors Skinner reacted quickly to the change of direction to prevent a goal.
Athlone took the lead on the stroke of half time when Philly Gorman picked up where he left off last season with a low shot past Chris Bennion that nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
Longford tried to get more into the game in the second half but Derek Prendergast put in a good performance to keep last seasons top scorer Davy O’Sullivan under wraps. Kealan Dillon, who switched from right midfield to right back also proved to be a valuable addition to the squad, looking equally comfortable in defence as attack.
31/01/2014. RBS Under 20 6 Nations. Dubarry Park, Athlone
Ireland 34 – 7 Scotland
After last years 1 point defeat in Galeshiels, Irelands Under 20′s made no mistake this year by inflicting a convincing defeat on their Scottish counterparts on a rain swept Dubarry Park.
Torrential rain and strong winds made for difficult conditions on both sides but Ireland still managed to build up a 27 point winning margin thanks to 4 tries, 2 from man of the match Jack Donaghue and a try apiece from Peadar Timmins and Oisin Heffernan; while Ross Byrne added 2 penalties to 4 successful conversions.
Scotland managed consolation scores in injury time when Ben Vellacott crossed the line and Ben Cooper duly sent the conversion over the bar.
Saturday 18th January 2014. League of Ireland U19 Elite Division
Athlone Town 1-3 Cobh Ramblers
An Aidy Byrne goal on 23 minutes wasn’t enough to earn Athlone anything after 2 goals from Cobh in first half injury time sunk the home side, and a third late in the second half finished things off on a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon in AIT.