Archive for May, 2011

Athlone Rub Salt Into Devons Wounds

Monday 30th May 2011. Airtricity League Division 1.
Athlone Town 2-0 Salthill Devon. Athlone Town Stadium.

Athlone finally put a stop to their losing streak with a 2-0 home win against Salthill Devon. The result puts Salthill back on the bottom of the League table, albeit on goal difference.

Athlone took the lead after 23 minutes when Eoin Monaghans cross into the box was met by the head of Salthill centre half Paddy Quinlin, who stuck the ball past Ronan Forde for an own goal.

Town then doubled their lead when Kevin Williamson calmly scored from the penalty spot. The foul which lead to the spot kick was questionable on both side as the fouling player was only given a yellow card despite the penalty awarded, while Salthill can feel hard done by as the foul looked to take place outside the box!

The second half was a more evenly fought contest with both sides having chances but missing the killer instinct in front of goal.

But a win is a win and at the 6th time of asking Athlone wont really care about the manner of it. Coincidently Towns last win prior to this game was against Galways other Division 1 side, Mervue United.

Up next for Athlone is the romance of the Cup with an away tie against Shamrock Rovers.

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Paddy Quinlan steers the ball past Ronan Forde to score an own goal

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Goalscorer Kevin Williamson leaps to the ball ahead of Ethan Nkololo

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Twelfth Time Lucky For Harps

Thursday 26th May 2011. Airtricity League Division 1
Finn Harps 1-0 Athlone Town. Finn Park

A mix up between right full Niall Scullion and goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann gifted Kevin McHugh with an open goal to give Finn Harps their first win of the season with 12 games played.
A hit in hope cross came into the box, Schlingermann called it but Scullion, who was already in the air, headed it back to where he expected the net minder to be. Unfortunately the former Mayo Minor goalkeeper was already well on his way to collecting the cross and so as both players stood in no mans land the ball trickled across the goal to the Harps striker , who made no mistake from 3 yards.

After that it was pretty much all Finn Harps. Although they created very little they controlled the game and for the rest of the match Athlones chances were limited to 3 shots and a handful of crosses that were dealt with relatively easily by the Harps defence and keeper.

There isnt much more that can be said about the game. Having undertaken a 278 mile (approx) round trip, spanning just over 6 hours driving, through 5 counties, 3 provinces and around €50 worth of diesel … with roadworks and an unsigned diversion in Boyle, needless to say it was disappointing trip. And for me, along with the players, Monday cannot come quick enough to hopefully re-kick start the season against Salthill Devon.

The only silver lining on ths cloud was a chipper recommendation, ironicially by a Harps fan. Macaris Riva in Grange, Co. Sligo … I salute you.

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Eoin Monaghan tries his luck with a shot on goal

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Do You Want To Play For Us

Tuesday 24th May 2011. Carling Nations Cup
Republic of Ireland 5-0 Northern Ireland

“Do You Want To Play For Us” echoed around an embarrassingly empty Lansdown Road stadium as Republic of Ireland inflicted a 5-0 defeat on their closest neighbours. The chant of course was in relation to the spate of Northern born players opting to declare for the Republic, much to the annoyance of North manager Nigel Worthington and the IFA (not the farmers!).

To be fair though, after the shocking performance of the North, I doubt any player would be wanted by the South!

The prematch got under way with the Northern Ireland fans booing the introduction of Presidents McAleese & McCaul. Republic fans repsonded by booing during the away anthem and as a follow up the Northern Ireland fans turned their backs while Amhrán na bhFiann was played.

The game itself was less passionate. Robbie Keane continued on his goal scoring record by notching up a goal in each half and was visibly upset at being substituted and denied an opportunity to score a hat-trick. With both teams fielding weakened sides it was a chance for players like Stephen Ward, Damien Delaney, Keith Tracey and the newly declared Simon Cox to get a run out, with Ward and Cox taking full advantage to get on the scoresheet. Former Galway United and Derry City keeper David Forde also got game time as a second half sub while stephen Hunt returned from injury to get some more minutes under his belt.

Unfortunately despite the new call ups and deput goals, all attention was on the players who, for various and contradicting reasons depending on who you listen to, didnt answer Irelands call!

But for the players who did take part, it was an annihilation on the pitch and the worst part was the empty stands. For a country that could almost sell out Croke Park for a game against Cyprus, they “officially” could only muster up just over 15,000 but that figure in itself is questionable!!!

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Robbie Keane composes himself while Gareth McAuley remonstrates with the linesman

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Waterford Wallop Town

Saturday 21st May 2011. Airtricity Leage Division 1
Athlone Town 0-3 Waterford United

Waterford United got revenge for the shock draw against Town at the start of the season by subjecting Athlone to their fourth 3-0 defeat in a row in a game where the home side created absolutely nothing.

Had it not been for the heroics of goalkeeper Michael Schlingermann, the scoreline could have read 5 or 6-0 to the visitors.

Following on from Austin Skelly, Brian McCarthy and Declan O’Brien … Blues defender David Breen became the latest player to notch up a goal against his former side making it three 3-0 league defeats in a row with a former player on the scoresheet.

Next up is a Thursday trip to Ballybofey and considering there are no former Town players in the Harps squad, I fancy Athlone to keep a clean sheet.

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Paul Danaher takes man, ball and all during Athlones clash with Waterford

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Senior Division Ends With A Whimper

Thursday 19th May 2011. CCFL Senior Division
St Peters 2-1 Willow Park. McCarthy Park

With the CCFL Senior League having being decided weeks ago, the final league game between the champions and runners-up played out with a lack of interest among players and supporters alike. Despite it being a local derby, Willow quite rightly had more important things on their minds with an upcoming Paddy Cotter Cup Final and so they used the game to give some fringe players a run out. Peters too left some of their regular starting line up on the bench so the usual rivalry between sides slipped by as both sides just wanted to get the game over and done with.

Peters took a first half lead through Mark Sherlock and in the second half doubled their advantage through Paul McGee before Sean Brennan pulled one back for the visitors. The only bits of excitement came at half time when Willow manager Tony O’Sullivan was sent to the stand … well the other side of the fence, for dissent and in the dying minutes Mark McConnell got his marching orders.

At the final whistle there was a slight cheer from the crowd, until they realised that the game was probably the most pointless match either side have played in a long time.

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Noel McGee and Philly Dully combined effort stop Mark McConnells advances on goal

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Pats Advance To LSC Semi-Final

Tuesday 17th May 2011. Leinster Senior Cup 1/4 Final
St Patricks Athletic 3-0 Athlone Town

St Patricks Athletic advanced to the semi final stage of the 2011 Leinster Senior Cup with an effortless win over a depleted Athlone Town side at Richmond Park.
Promotors of the competition would really want to get their act together, with little or no advertising of the game the fixture was origonally set for a 7.45pm kick-off but on Gardai advice moved back to 8pm. As the clock struck 7 however, word filtered through that the expected traffic delays in the Capital were not as bad as first expected, and so the game could go ahead at the origonal time! Luckily neither side had much support to be inconvienced by the chopping and changing.

Due to injuries, exams and work committments, Athlone travelled to Inchicore with just 14 players, while in contrast St Pats seemed to have almost 30 tracksuit clad squad members to choose from. Infact such was the gulf in numbers between the Premier and Division 1 sides, Pats had almost more coaching and backroom staff on the pitch during warm up than Athlone had players!

The game though was a chance to give some more players a run out with Scott Gaynor and Eoin Monaghan making their first competitive starts of the season. As with the Monaghan game, Bobby Tier assumed a right full position while centre half Tommy Barrett was deployed in a more forward role. Arguably the former Limerick and Shamrock Rovers player may have been better used in a more familiar defensive post.

David McMillian opened the scoring for the home side with a poweful drive and it was batton down the hatches for the rest of the half as the Athlone defence held Pats at bay up to the break.

In the second half Darren Young got another game under his belt when he replaced Roy King, the young defender went down with a hand injury during the first half, while Ian Sweeney also got a run out. Pats in contrast had a full bench and could bring in experienced midfielder Anto Murphy to steady their ship.
Athlone defended strong again but late on the legs were getting tired and Pats capatilised with two goals in quick succession from Sean Stewart and Brian Shorthall to wrap up the win.

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Paul Danaher muscles his way in to winning a header

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"On Your Own, On Your Own, On Your Own" was the cry from the small home support to the St Pats steward in charge of the empty away supporters section

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Derby Delight For Garrycastle

Sunday 15th May 2011. Westmeath Senior Championship
Garrycastle 1-14 … 2-06 Athlone

Garrycastle got one over on their local rivals in a heated encounter in Tang. With a number of skirmishes during the game, the kindest way of describing the entire match was that it wasnt pretty.

Despite going into half time with a two point advantage, Garrycastle were almost toppled by two goals in quick succession from Athlone.

The main source of excitement for Garrycastle came in the second half when substitute Alan Daly scored a goal from an acrobatic bicycle kick to help secure the win. The forward was also the reciepient of a nasty off the ball knee to the nether regions at the full time whistle.

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David O'Shaughnessy fields a high ball as Aidan St.John tries to hold him down

Horribly out of focus but here is a blurred pic of Alan Daly in flight as he scores an acrobatic overhead kick!

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Categories: 2011, GAA, May 2011 Tags: , , ,
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