Archive for April, 2011

Limerick Win The Shannonside Derby

Friday 29th April 2011. Airtricity League Division 1
Limerick FC 3-0 Athlone Town. Jackman Park

Limerick FC won the bragging rights to the first Shannonside Derby of the season and stopped Athlones aspirations of a much sought after “4 in a row”

Although Athlone battled hard the result was probably a fair reflection on the overall game with Limerick having most of the play and all of the chances.

Towns plight wasnt helped by the sending off of Niall Scullion in the second half, a decision that even Limerick fans questioned as they expected their own player, Stephen O’Flynn, to receive marching orders. While it looked as if the Limerick striker would see red for a two footed lunge, a moment of retaliation from Scullion was enough to make referee Sean Grant show him the card.

To add insult to in injury, Limericks second goal can via an unfortunate collision between former Lims players Paul Danagher and Tommy Barret which allowed Brian McCarthy pop up to score against his former club.

Taking the plus from a game though, Athlone manager Mike Kerley gave a senior debut to another of the Youth squad when Eoin Monaghan made a second half appearence.

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Alex Gardiner gets in a tangle with Brian McCarthy

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A Limerick fan gets a birds eye view while avoiding the €10 entry fee

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Three Wins In Eight Days For Town

Friday 22nd April 2011. Airtricity League Division 1
Athlone Town 1-0 Mervue United. Athlone Town Stadium.

Athlone Town made it three wins in a row as they earned their third win in the space of eight days with a 1-0 victory over Mervue United.

The deed of winning three games in a row is an feat an Athlone Town side have not achieved since the 2000/01 season … when dragons roamed the earth and teams such as Home Farm Everton/Fingal/Dublin City, St Francis and Kilkenny City had League of Ireland representation!

And credit to the Town for the win, as at half time they can count themselves lucky not to have been two goals down. As one fan was overheard saying “if Mervue were any good they would have the game wrapped up by the break”.

Similar to the recent game away to Wexford, Athlone seemed to have more possession but Mervue had all the chances.

Athlone had a bit more bite about them in the second half and after Bobby Tiers effort was blocked down, Niall Scullion was on hand to pounce to give the home side the lead.

Mervue responded by throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at the Town defence and credit to the back four as they dealt with everything admirably. There were some nervous moments though as a Mervue effort clipped the bottom of the post while another three shots flew narrowly wide. However Athlone had chances too with Ian Sweeney hitting the post from a tight angle while Tommy Barrett ensured the Mervue defence had a tough time of it when he helped bolster the attack.

Three agonising minutes of injury time followed before the referee finally called time to equal Towns 10 year winning record!

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Niall Scullion celebrates with Ian Sweeney after scoring Athlones winning goal

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Town Knock Harps Out Of Tune

Tuesday 19th April 2011. Airtricity League Division 1.
Athlone Town 1-0 Finn Harps.

Athlone Town made it two wins in a row as they inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Finn Harps in Tuesdays game, which was a rescheduled fixture from the start of the season.

And for the second game in succession, the winning goal came from a header, by a centre half, who previously played for Limerick! This time Paul Danaher was the player in question and his bullet header sent the ball, and a couple of Harps players, crashing into the net.

Athlone defended like their lives depended on it and once again Kevin Williamson and Joe Woods put in outstanding performances. Ronan Stack also gave another good account of himself, starting the game on the right wing and moving back to right full in the second half after Niall Scullion had to be substituted to receive treatment on a head injury.

An agonising five minutes of injury time was put up on the board due to a number of injuries on both sides, but Town held on to earn another hard fought 3 points.

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Paul Danaher follows the ball into the net as he scores Athlone Towns winning goal

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Narrow Win For 14 Man Garrycastle

Sunday 17th April 2011. ACL Division 1
Maryland 1-15 … 2-13 Garrycastle

A depleated Garrycastle team left Drumraney with a victory by the narrowest of margins while also finishing the game with a numerical disadvantage after Karl Henson received a straight red card.

While the phrase a game of two halves is common, the game turned into a game of two halves in the one half with Garrycastle dominiting the opening, while Maryland players bickered among themselves only for a complete role reversal before the half time break.

With Maryland going into the second half a point up, the sides matched each other score for score but for a Paddy Mulvihill penalty to help Garrycastle take the points.

Funniest shout of the day came from the crowd after centre forward Paul Dillon first mis-hit a pass and then appeared to almost run out the gate trying to control the ball, a supporter was overheard casually saying “You know something, I dont think that chap is able to see at all”

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Conor Cosgrove gets away from Philip Rainey

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Youthful Athlone Nick Win Over Wexford Youths

Friday 15th April 2011. Airtricity League Division 1
Wexford Youths 0-1 Athlone Town. Ferrycarrig Park.

While Wexford had Youth in their name it was Athlone Town who had youth in the team with u17 stars Alex Gardiner, Ian Sweeney, Roy King and Joe Woods all taking places in the starting line up for the away game in Ferrycarrig. And to keep things with a youthful twist, Town had Darren Young on the bench!

With Athlone going into the game with the worst scoring record, and Wexford the worst defensive record it was hard to know how things would pan out and the first half was probably the most evenly matched game I’ve seen in a while. With no real chances of note, 0-0 at the break summed up the half.

Second half saw a bit more ungency in both sides and although Athlone seemed to have more possession, Wexford probably created more chances.

With the clock running down, Athlone brought on newly signed Kevin Horan and the striker almost made the headlines on his return to Town only for his shot to fly thewrong side of the post. But the young forward played an unconvential part in Athlones winner. After winning a corner kick, he hit the dead ball himself and although it proved to be a shocker it luckily won another corner. Not wanting to risk another one, Horan left the ball for Niall Scullion to whip in, and in crowded 6 yard box Tommy Barrett got his head to the ball to stun the home side and silence the home crowd.

And so it ended with a Town win, much to the disappointment of the Wexford players, one claiming it was an embarrassment to lose to a team like Athlone. Have to wonder how a team that prior to this game had conceeded 12 goals were surprised at conceeding 1 more!

Other than that the only notable happenings was the small yet vocal home crowd who constantly boo’d Athlone captain Kevin Williamson and also gave Ronan Stack a ribbing, comparing his haircut to that of Justin Bieber!

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Goal scorer Tommy Barrett gets on the ball for Athlone

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Devine Inspiration For Willow

Wednesday 13th April 2011. CCFL Senior Division.
Monksland United 1-3 Willow Park. Cushla Park.

A first half brace from former Athlone Town striker Gary Devine, with a goal from midfielder Colin Fortune was enough to secure all 3 points for Willow Park in the Athlone darby at Cushla Park. Monksland pulled one back before the break thanks to Kevin Murray but alas The Land could not manage to net any more and a goal less second half followed.

Monksland had chances to stage a comeback in the second half but for the post denying Stephen Mullan while the home sideline felt aggrieved at some refereeing decisions which could have turned the game had the calls gone their way. Willow too had chances but for some good saves from Cathal Hannon

But overall Willow had enough strenght, and strenght in dept to hold on to the lead and run out winners.

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Monksland keeper Cathal Hannon is determined not to let Gary Devine get a hat-trick

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Clonbonny Pipped To Promotion

Sunday 10th April 2011. CCFL Division 2
Clonbonny 2-2 Ballybrittas

Ballybrittas arrived at Travel Park in upbeat form, knowing a win would secure them the League title while a draw would clinch promotion.

However it wasnt that straight forward with Clonbonny needing a win to keep their own promotion hopes alive and knock the visitors out of contention, while added interest came from Abbeyleix, who already finished out their season, and would be crowned champions should Ballybrittas fail to win.

So with that added pressure, some nerves crept in to both sides and the majority of defending was done in the air as both sides lumped balls forward to not only try and score but also to get the ball out of away from their own goal as quickly as possible.

Ballybrittas took a frist half lead only to see Gordon Rushe draw level for Clonbonny in the second half. Having barely enough time to settle again, a long ball into the box created some confusion in the Clonbonny defence and Ballybrittas were again in front.

While the visitors were without doubt the stronger team during the first half, the home team stepped up a gear in the second and piled on the pressure with wave after wave of attack. They got their reward with another equaliser but alas failed to get a much needed winner and so the game ended level to hand the title to Abbeyleix and secure runners up spot for Ballybrittas.

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With a crowded sideline, the linesman takes up an odd vantage point

Gordon Rushe celebrates scoring Clonbonnys first equaliser

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