Archive for May, 2012

Long And Ireland Beat Bosnia And Herzegovina

Sat 26th May 2012. International Friendly
Republic of Ireland 1-0 Bosnia And Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Rd.

A Shane Long goal 10 minutes before the final whistle gave Ireland a winning send off to the European Championships in a game that was so boring a Mexican Wave failed to even make it the length of the North Stand!

While none of the players wanted to risk diving into tackles for fear it could end their Euro dream, there was a moment of silence when Robbie Keane felt the brunt of a Boris Pandza challenge and hit the deck holding his side. Luckily the magic sponge was out to heal all and the entire stadium breathed a sigh of relief.

James McClean, making his first International start for the Republic had the crowd on their feet with some mazy runs at the Bosnian & Herz defence which will have done his aspirations of team selection no harm whatsoever.

Jonathan Walters came close to breaking the deadlock late in the game when his header smacked off the crossbar, before Shane Long got on the end of an Aidan McGeady cross to head home the winner at the back post.

In a bizarre decision, Aiden McGeady was announced as the Man of the Match despite only coming on at half time, leaving a lot of fans along the end line wondering if there had been a mix up with McGeady and McClean!

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James McClean starts on an attacking run for Ireland

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Darren O’Dea gets to grips with Edin Edin Dzeko

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Athlone Hit For Six

Fri 25th May 2012. FAI Cup Round 2.
Cork City 6-1 Athlone Town. Turners Cross, Cork.

For the opening half hour of this cup tie it looked like Athlone Town would pull off the upset of the round, alas in the five minutes that followed, the dream turned into a nightmare and bookies across the land sighed with relief.

With just 4 minutes on the clock, Athlone stunned the home crowd when Brian McCarthy out jumped Danny Murphy and Gavin Kavanagh to head past Mark McNulty giving the visitors the lead. Joe Woods, Noel McGee, Brian Gill and Jason Hughes all had chances to extend Athlones lead with the Cork players in disarray, but alas they failed to convert any of their chances.

Just after the half hour mark the Cork players seemed to wake up and a five minute spell of pressure resulted in 3 goals to the home side with a goal from Vinny Sullivan either side of Tadhg Purcell getting his first of the evening to effectively end the tie at the half time break.

As with the first half, Athlone started the second on the attack with McNulty holding on to a powerful strike from Joe Woods. Moments later though Sullivan completed his hat trick with a close range tap in after Darryl Horgan drew Pat Jennings out along the end line. With 15 minutes to go, Purcell notched up his brace with a pin point shot from an awkward angle. Ten minutes later he completed his hat trick from the penalty spot after Jennings hauled him down inside the area.

And with that the demolition was complete.

The only other highlight from an Athlone point of view was the exceptional support from, well oddly enough a gang of football fans from Cork and Waterford who decided to support Da Town for the day!

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Brian McCarthy heads Athlone into an early, and unlikely, lead against Cork City

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The Athlone Town Ultras, ironically not from Athlone

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Town Go Down To Unladylike Limerick

Fri 18th May 2012. Airtricity League Division 1.
Limerick FC 2-1 Athlone Town. Jackman Park.

Athlone slipped to 5th in the table after yet another controversial defeat, as Limerick kept the pressure on Longford at the top of the table.

Athlone travelled to Jackman Park without Noel McGee and Tommy Barrett meaning Mark Sherlock had to play the part of the lone front man, while Mark Walsh stepped into the role of centre half.

In the first half, it think it is fair to say that Athlone were bordering brutal, with miscommunication between Pat Jennings and the back 4 reaching embarrassing levels. On several occassions it took them well over a minute to try an organise a quick short kick out, by which time the 11 Limerick players and 7 subs, along with the 400 odd spectators had already worked out the planned manouver before the Athlone players fully understood each other.

Not for the first time, Rory Gaffney made himself a thorn in the Towns side, using his pace and physical presence to great effect with wave after wave of attack. Unsurprisingingly it was the former Mervue man who broke the deadlock when he got on the end of Stephen Bradleys through ball to slot the ball past Pat Jennings.

The remainder of the half played out without much excitement apart from another Gaffney goal ruled out for offside, much to the anger of the vocal locals.

In the second half Athlone came more into the game and introduced Joe Woods and Kevin Williamson for Mark Walsh and Ross Kenny just after the break. Despite Athlone forging some chances, Limerick looked more confortable with Pat Jennings being kept busy throughout the half. However Athlones perserverence was finally rewarded when former Limerick duo Jason Hughes and Garvan Broughall linked up well with Broughall calmly chipping the ball over Dave Ryan as the keeper slid out to meet him.

With 10 minutes left on the clock, Athlone succumbed to some questionable refereeing as Rory Gaffney burst through Niall Scullion with a manouver that looked like a cross between WWF wresteling and an NFL tackle. With Scullion flung to the ground, referee Keith Callanan waved play on as Gaffney ran through towards goal to fire the ball past Jennings on his near post for the winner.

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Joe Woods puts Denis Behan under pressure

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Three Wise Men of Limerick football take their vantage point above the turnstyles to avoid coughing up €10.

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AC Sports Images Goes Android

Friday 18th May 2012.

Got an Android phone or tablet? Well then the next App you should install is the AC Sports Images app, now available on Google Play (previously called Google Market)

Like all the best things in life, the AC Sports Images app is free and can be downloaded from the following link:

The App requires Network communication/Full Internet access and the load speed of gallaries can vary depending on your mobile carrier signal

If you like it: Tell your friends … If you dont like it: Tell me!

All comments and suggestions welcome.

Check out AC Sports Images on the go with the new AC Spoerts Images for Android App

He Scores When He Wants

Fri 11th May 2012. Airtricity League Division 1.
Athlone Town 2-1 Mervue United

Stephen Relihan added to his earlier than expected return from injury, to score his second goal in consecutive games as Athlone Town beat Mervue United to move up to 4th place in the table.

The 2-1 win maintained Athlones unbeaten home record against Mervue, with an overall total of 8 wins in 11 games since the Galway side joined Division 1.

As with last weeks win, Athlone got off to a great start to score from a set piece when centre half Tommy Barrett sent a close range header into the net from Kevin Williamsons corner.

Mark Sherlock, returning from a 1 match suspension, almost doubled Athlones advantage but for Mervues young debutant keeper Conor O’Malley saving at his feet.

Just before the half hour mark Town eventually got on the scoresheet again when Stephen Relihan got on the end of Brian McCarthys header to poke the ball past O’Malley as he slid out to collect.

After scoring the opener, Barret then made sure Athlone kept a clean sheet going into the break when he cleared the ball away from a goal mouth scramble among hopeful shouts of handball from the Mervue players.

In the 2nd half Athlone seemed to lose some momentum and although they spent a lot of time in the Mervue half, there was no end product. In typcial fashion Mervue found some life and after several efforts they finally got on the scoresheet, albeit in injury time, when substitute James Casserly sent a header past Pat Jennings. Mervue finished the stronger of the sides with a number of cross/shots but luckily for Town all flew across the goal without finding the target.

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Kevin Williamson made a return to starting line up to set up Athlones opening goal

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Brian McCarthy celebrates with Stephen Relihan after the midfielder scores his second goal in two games

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Town End 20 Years Of Hurt

Saturday 5th May 2012. Airtricity League Division 1.
Finn Harps 1-2 Athlone Town. Finn Park.

On a cold Saturday evening in Ballybofey, Athlone Town recorded not only their third away win of the season, but also their first win in Finn Park since 1992 to put them level on points with 4th place Wexford Youths in the Airtricity League Division 1 table.

In that 1992/93 season, the First Division consisted of no less than 5 teams no longer participating at senior level in League of Ireland with Galway United and Cobh Rambalers finishing the season as Champions and Runners Up, while Home Farm, Kilkenny City and St James Gate made up the bottom 3. Just goal difference seperated Athlone Town and Finn Harps in mid table with both sides on 25 points but Athlone having a 5 goal advantage.

Back to 2012, and in an evenly contested tie, Athlone went into the break 1-0 up after Stephen Relihan eventully turned the ball into the net from close range after some hap hazzard defending by the Harps players from Garvan Broughalls corner kick.

Harps themselves could have taken the lead earlier had it not been for the reactions and agility of Town keeper Pat Jennings who acrobaticially tipped Shane McGintys long range effort over the bar.

In a match that saw the ball spend most of the game in the air, Harps striker Kevin McHugh made the most of what little time it had on the ground when he won the ball from Niall Scullion before bursting past Tommy Barrett and slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of Jennings net.

Ten minutes later, as the hour marked passed, poor defending from a set piece was again Harps downfall as Brian McCarthy headed home another Broughall corner to put Athlone back in the lead and give the midlanders a hard fought win in Donegal

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MAtch winner Brian McCarthy heads clear under pressure from Harps goalscorer Kevin McHugh

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Pat Jennings plucks the ball out of the air to end a Harps attack

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