Archive for April, 2012

Longford Win With Help From Phil

Friday 27th April 2012. Airtricity League Division 1.
Athlone Town 1-2 Longford Town.

Athlone Town suffered their 3rd home defeat in a row, and 2nd El Classico defeat of the season under controversial circumstances at Athlone Town Stadium on Friday night.

Athlone had to re-jig player positions with left full Ross Kenny ruled out close to kick off time with ligament trouble, while Kevin Williamson was apparently unavailable. This lead to midfielder Mark Walsh making up part of the back four with Jason Hughes recalled to the starting line up.

While both sides were evenly matched, I think anyone present in Lissywollen would agree that Athlone were, as Damien Richardson once so eloquently put it, “Ridden Rock Solid” by a display of officialdom that really broke the boundaries of incompetence.

Longford took an early lead when Mark Walsh lost posession of the ball, and when Gary shaw layed off a pass to Colly James the former Bray Wanderer sent a fantastic shot curling into the top corner of the net.

From then on things for Athlone went from bad to worse. Mark Sherlock had his leg almost amputated inside the penalty area but Phil Cashcera waved play on. Centre half Paul Danaher was then booked … not for a his challenge on former Town player Mark Salmon, but for it being a “2nd team foul”. Just before the break Athlone had their 2nd of 4 penalty claims turned down when Sherlock again was upended on his way through on goal. While from the vantage point of most, including the Longford defenders judging by their facial expressions at the moment of impact, indicated a clear foul … Phil waved play on.

Close to the hour mark Athlone got a deserved equaliser when Noel McGee played a through ball for Mark Sherlock to run on to and delicately chip the advancing Craig Hyland to score his 2nd goal in 2 games.

Alas 5 minutes later Longford restored their lead via Noel Haverty who slotted home from close range. Another 5 minutes and Athlone had a golden opportunity to equalise with Noel McGee fending off former team mate Des Hope, but the striker squandered his chance with a weak effort on goal.

With 10 minutes left on the clock Athlone had their 3rd spot kick claim of the night turned down when Niall Scullion let fly with a powerful shot that was blocked down in the box with some handling that Longford GAA would have welcomed in their game against Wexford the following day … but Phil waved play on

With 3 minutes left Athlone finally looked to be getting the rub of the green with luck when Chris Deans whipped the legs from under Mark Sherlock as he tried to get away a shot on goal. Bizarally, despite getting a shot away, the referee deemed Sherlock to have dived in the box and gave him a booking. As the players were running back and remonstrating with the official, referee assistant Brendan Kelly called Cashera over to remind him he had booked Sherlock earlier in the game and so the red card was waved.

And with that El Classico came to an end, not quite the classic of old but with plenty of talking points!

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Mark Walsh recieves a boot to the head during Fridays not so classic El Classico

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Sherlock Sinks Salthill

Friday 21st April 2012. Airtricity League Division 1.
SD Galway 0-1 Athlone Town. Deacy Park

A first half goal from Mark Sherlock was enough to earn Athlone Town their second victory over SD Galway and their fourth win overall this season.

Sherlock headed home inside the opening 10 minutes after some good work from Brian Gill to cross the ball in from the left.

Town should have doublled, and indeed trebled their lead before the break with Kevin Williamson and Darren Coleman spurning chances from close range.

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Brian Gill wins an ariel battle with SD Galway captain Brian Geraghty

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An almost empty Deacy (Terryland) Park for SD Galways encounter with Athlone Town

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Saints Slain As Monks Land Derby Victory

Thursday 19th April 2012. CCFL Senior Division.
Monksland United 2-1 St Peters. Cushla Park.

First half goals from Ian O’Reilly and Les Browne were enough to secure a midweek West Athlone derby win for Monksland over neighbours St Peters.

Monksland took an early lead when Browne and O’Reilly linked up well along the left wing, with the latter firing the ball past Philly Dully from close range.

Although St Peters battled hard with a number of close chances they just couldnt break down the Monksland defence to nick an equaliser, and they were punished again before the break when a cross from the right wing found Les Browne unmarked inside the penalty box and the Monksland man steered a header past Dully into the net.

The second half brought much frustration to both sides with lunging tackles flying in and dissent rife in both camps. Monksland were the first to feel the wrath of the referee when Keith O’Reilly was first booked for time wasting on a free kick, and subsequently sent off for complaining the decision. Ironicially moments before the sending off O’Reilly had been urging team mates not to talk back to the referee for fear of a booking.

Peters were thrown a life line late in the game when substitute Paul Allen moved quickly in the Monksland box to put away a well taken goal on the turn. But the joy was short lived when the Saints were then reduced to 10 men with Mickey Nugent, who himself was only on as a second half substitute, recieving his marching orders. While the decision came as a surprise to both sides, the referee assistant indicated that Nugent had committed 3 fouls in quick succession to deserve the card.

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Les Browne steers the ball past Philly Dully and Paschal Dillon for Monkslands winning goal

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Athlone Survive Friday The 13th Horror

Friday 13th April 2012.Airtricity League Division 1
Waterford United 1-1 Athlone Town.

Athlone Town put an end to their losing streak with a hard fought 1-1 draw in difficult circumstances at the Waterford RSC on Friday night, however it could have turned to a win had it not been for some horrific decisions from the officials.

Waterford started the brighter of the two sides and were rewarded inside the opening 15 minutes when Gary Dempsey unleashed an unstoppable drive into the top corner of the net from the edge of the penaly area. Up to then, Towns chances were restricted to a few pot shots from Noel McGee that failed to trouble Packie Holden in the Waterford goal.

Athlone then began to knock the ball around a bit better and after some good work from Garvan Broughall, the returning Niall Scullion sent in a perfectly weighted cross to Noel McGee who smashed a header into the net from close range to level the game.

Less than 5 minutes later Town had the clearest penalty decision that was ever witnessed turned down after Mark Sherlock was upended not 10 yards from goal by Craig Burns. Despite referee Adriano Reale and assistant Michelle O’Neill having clear views of the incident neither wanted to make the call and so they waved play on. Even Waterford fans in the ground were all in agreement of the blatent foul.

As tempers and emotions flaired, McGee found himself in the referees book for dissent and a continued rant seconds later saw him sent off. McGee may have escaped the sending off had it not been for Waterfords Packie Holden vivaciously demanding the punishment. Bad enough a player trying to get an opponent sent off for a foul but it is a sad state of affairs when they have to resort to looking for red cards for protesting decisions. And shocking decisions at that.

As the second half got under way the Athlone players rallied around each other and fought hard to maintain the scoreline. Their cause wasnt helped when Garvan Broughall was forced off for treatment after being on the receiving end of a Seamus Long elbow. Ironicially Holden seemed less than interested in reporting that one to the referee. While Broughall received treatment from both the Athlone physio and Waterford doctor, and had been given a replacement blood jersey, the 4th official twice refused to allow him back on the pitch as he wasnt happy with the clean up job. Due to the amount of time wasting at this stage, and with Athlone down to 9 men, it proved quicker to substitute Broughall for Kevin Williamson.

Waterford continued to throw the kitchen sink at Athlone with Pat Jennings becoming the hero of the hour with a string of fine saves to earn the draw for Athlone.

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It was always going to be a Friday the 13th horror show from the officials right from when the referee dropped the coin

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Garvan Broughall dives in to take the ball away from Ben Ryan

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Good Friday For Wexford

Friday 6th April 2012. Airtricity League Division 1
Athlone Town 0-1 Wexford Youths

Wexford Youths reached the dizzy heights of 2nd place in the League table with a 1-0 win away from home which saw Athlone Town slump from 3rd to 5th.

Youths lined out with former Athlone defenders Jamie Carr and CJ Browne in the heart of defence and, with the honorable exception of Warren Conroy, most Town players appeared almost afraid of Browne as he cleared every attack with relative ease in the first half.

Thesecond half turned out to be almost as lack lustre as the first although the introduction of Kevin Williamson from the bench added a bit more urgency to Towns attack.

On the stroke of an hours play though Wexford broke the deadlock when Danny Furlong was quickest off the mark to a through ball and after skipping over a sliding challenge from Brian McCarthy the Wexford captain almost strolled into the box before calmly slotting the ball past the advancing Pat Jennings.

From then Towns defending turned into a competition to see who could hoof the ball highest, while when it came to corner kicks they couldnt seem to get any height on the deliveries.

In the closing stages Athlone almost salvaged a draw from the jaws of defeat but as Noel McGees thunderous drive smashed off the crossbar, Kevin Williamson steered the rebound wide from 6 yards out.

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CJ Browne puts a stop to Mark Sherlocks advances on goal

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Garrycastle Family Fun Day

Sunday 1st April 2012

On Sunday Garrycastle GAA Club held a Family Fun Day in honour of the Clubs outstanding achievements in winning the Leinster title and reaching the All Ireland final. The Athlone Youth Marching Band lead the Senior Team from Cornamaddy School to the Garrycastle pitch where they were welcomed by supporters and also the Cornamaddy students who sang “The Garrycastle Song” as the players arrived.

Credit to the organisers for putting together a great day for everyone.

More Photos From Garrycastle Fun Day Here

The students of Cornamaddy School welcome the Senior Team home with "The Garrycastle Song"

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Senior team sponsor Michael Ganly points to the spot where he saw his frst cow calving!

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The Athlone Town Youth Marching Band lead the team through Garrycastle

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Billy Ganly gives a Garrycastle blessing to the supporters

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Limerick TakeThe Points In Shannonside Derby

Friday 30th March 2012. Airtricity League Division 1
Athlone Town 0-1 Limerick FC

Limerick FC became the first side to take points in Athlone Town Stadium this season, albeit in an unconvincing fashion on Friday evening.

Athlone welcomed Mark Walsh back from injury and young Warren Conroy was rewarded for his spirited midweek debut against Drogheda with a place in the starting line up.

Desite all the usual hype around the big spending club, in the first 45 minutes Limericks chances were restricted to a couple of hit and hope shots from distance from Rory Gaffney which looked like he was trying to recreate his wonder strike for Mervue against the Town last July.

Although Limerick enjoyed the majority of possession they didnt have it all their own way with Warren Conroy showing no fear in the rough and tumble of Division 1.

The second half was much as the first until Joe Gamble popped up to tap in from close range with the Town defence left rooted to the ground.

Athlone themselves had chances to draw level with Jason Hughes, Joe Woods and Noel McGee having clear chances on goal but lacked accuracy at the crucial moment.

And so it ended with Limerick taking all 3 points but looking a million miles away from the preseason expetations of walking the league!

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Jason Hughes battles with Limerick goal scorer Joe Gamble

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