Archive for March, 2013

Curran Rubs Salt Into Towns Wounds

Friday 29th March 2013. Airtricity League Division 1.
Athlone Town 3-3 Salthill Devon

An Enda Curran hat-trick secured a share of the spoils for Salthill Devon in Good Fridays League clash with Athlone Town.

For the second game in succession Town went behind from an early penalty as Enda Curran got his first of the night on 17 minutes after being taken down in the box. The lead lasted barely five minutes however when Ryan Coombes linked up well with Garbhan Coughlan, resulting in Coombes curling a perfectly placed left foot shot past James Keane for the equaliser.

After another five minutes on the clock Athlone sprang into the lead when Philly Gorman headed home Niall Lanigans corner. Shortly after, Aidan Collins sent a header crashing into the net only to have it disallowed as the linesman signaled a foul. Salthill capatilised on this and were level soon after when Curran got on the end of Derek O’Briens ball into the box to fire past Paul Skinner.

Just before the break Athlone regained the lead when Ian Sweeney controlled the ball skillfully on his chest before beating 2 Salthill players and playing a pass across the box for Gorman to stab the ball home from close range.

With both sides starting the second half with the same vigor as the first, Athlone were reduced to 10 men when Gorman needlessly kicked out at Robbie Gaul, earning himself a straight red card.

Despite Athlone having the majority of play, Salthills numerical advantage made it an uphill struggle and the visitors eventually found a way through in the closing stages when Curran netted his third to leave with a point.

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Philly Gorman is given his marching orders after a rash challenge on Robbie Gaul

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Salthill hat-trick hero Enda Curran bursts through Niall Lanigan and Neil Harney

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No Fishy On A Dishy As Austrias Boat Comes In

Tuesday 26th March 2013. World Cup Qualifier
Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria.

Eighteen years after the infamous “Harry Ramsden challenge”, when a fish filled Ireland lost to Austria on a 3-1 scoreline, Giovanni Trapattoni knew the scale of the task ahead as he deployed Conor Sammon in attack for Tuesdays World Cup Qualifier.

Austria got a glorious start when Marc Wilson and Ciaran Clarke failed to clear the ball, and when Clarke got into a tangle with Zlatko Junozovic, the Austrian came away with possession of the ball to set up Martin Harnik for an early goal.

Jonathan Walters got the home side level from the penalty spot after Shane Long was brought down in the box, and the Stoke striker made no mistake as he fired the ball into the corner of the net with great power.

Long nearly gave Ireland the lead with an audacious back heal that rebounded back off the post before Walters
sent a glancing header past Heinz Linder to score his second of the night just before the half time break.

With a tough battling second half, the Irish side thought they had done enough to secure all 3 points and 2nd place in the qualification table.The visitors, however, had other ideas as David Alaba fired a last minute equaliser past David Forde to earn a share of the spoils and ensure Ireland could not cash in on Harry Ramsdens offer of free fish n’ chips if they won the game.

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Zlatko Junozovic gets away from Ciaran Clarke to set up Austria’s opening goal

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Conor Sammon holds off a challenge from Julian Baumgartlinger

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Honours Even On Ramblers Return

Sat 23rd March 2013. Airtricity League Division 1
Athlone Town 1-1 Cobh Ramblers

Just over 3 years after lifting the League of Ireland Division 1 trophy in Lissywollen, Cobh Ramblers made their first return as a senior club to the Midlands as they battled hard to earn a draw against Athlone Town.

Ramblers got the best possible start when they were awarded a penalty inside the opening 15 minutes when Neil Harney was penalised for dragging out of Martin Deady as he ran towards goal. Conor Meade stepped up and sent Paul Skinner the wrong way from the spot to take the lead.

After latching on to Mark Hughes through ball, luck played its part in Ian Sweeneys equaliser as his shot slipped through the hands of Cobh keeper Robert Birdsall and into the net close to the half time break.

With 20 minutes left on the clock Athlone thought they had a grip on all 3 points when Philly Gorman got on the end of Ian Sweeneys pass into the box to fire past Birdsall. With the celebrations still in full swing, the referees attention was drawn to the linesman and 4th official who spotted a handball from Gorman before he had scored. After much deliberation, the goal was disallowed and so the game ended level.

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Aidan Collins battles with Cobh goalscorer Conor Meade

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One Down Four To Go, In Division Ones El Classico!

Monday 11th March 2013. EA Sports Cup.
Athlone Town 0-2 Longford Town.

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Clancy Sees Red, As Coombes Puts Youths To Bed

Friday 16th March 2014. Airtricity League Division 1
Wexford Youths 0-2 Athlone Town

A first half brace from Ryan Coombes gave Athlone Town their first win, in their first away game of the season, on a cold evening in Ferrycarrig Park.

Coincidentally, Athlones last away trip of 2012 was against Wexford, where they went down 4-2, having Joe Woods sent off in the process. This year, 2 goals again separated the sides, and Athlone were again reduced to 10 men after Barry Clancy was given his marching orders, however this time they left the not so Sunny South East with all 3 points.

Ryan Coombes opened his goal account inside the opening ten minutes when he headed past Graham Doyle at the back post after Jonathan Kelty swung a free kick in from the left wing. Ten minutes later Coombes got his second, as he pounced quickly after Doyle batted away Philly Gormans strike on goal, to fire into an empty net.
Chances fell to Mark Hughes and Lee Dixon before the break while Youths showed little or nothing with Dean Borders playing out of position up front.

The second half started with Athlone attacking, but after winning a corner a bizarre goal mouth skirmish ensued with Lee Dixon falling to the ground three times at the slightest touch. Shortly afterwards the winger was replaced by Robbie Clarke, who slotted in at left back, as Barry Clancy moved into midfield.

Unfortunately for Athlone, Clancys effectiveness in midfield didn’t get much showtime as the former Shelbourne player was given a straight red card after a 2 footed tackle upended Joey Mulcahy.

While Youths tried to press forward, Paul Skinners speed off the line, combined with good defending from Aidan Collins and Neil Harney, secured all 3 points and a clean sheet for Athlone.

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Goal scorer Ryan Coombes battles with Glen Hawe

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Barry Clancy slides in, taking Joey Mulchays legs from under him, before being shown a red card.

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Mothers Day Misery For Monksland

Sunday 10th March 2013. CCFL
Monksland United 1-2 Willow Park.

On a blustery Mothers Day in Cushla Park, Willow Park closed the gap on Mullingar to 6 points at the top of the table, after a hard fought victory over Monksland United.

High winds made for difficult conditions and it was Willow Park that capatilised first when a direct free kick by Garry McHugh from the right wing moved in the air, evading attackers, defenders and ultimately goalkeeper Seamie McManus to give the visitors the lead.
Willow felt aggrieved not to have doubled and trebled their lead with the offside flag halting their celebrations.

In the second half, a dubious decision saw Willow awarded a penalty after Kevin Gaylard was adjudged to have fouled Colm Hyland inside the area. The front man picked himself up and dusted himself off to dispatch the spot kick, narrowly beating McManus.

The introduction of Matt Scally gave another injection of life to the Monksland attack and despite arriving to the game late, Scally justified his appearance with a powerful strike leaving the Willow keeper with no chance.

As the game entered its closing stages Monksland threw everything up front and thought they would have a chance to level things after an apparent hand ball from a Willow Park defender. With the referee waving play on, tempers flared and eventually saw center half Kevin Gaylard sent off via a second yellow card for dissent.

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Goalscorer Garry McHugh holds off a challenge from Aidan Reilly

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Not So Hot Start For The Rod Squad

Saturday 9th March 2013. Airtricity League Division 1
Athlone Town 0-0 Mervue United.

Athlone Town got their season underway with a disappointing draw against Mervue United at a bitterly cold Athlone Town Stadium. The Town team had an unfamiliar look about it, with Neil Harney the only member of last seasons squad to make the starting line up.

Despite appearing the stronger side during periods of the first half, Athlone failed to have any impact up front. At the other end, Barry Clancy filling in at left back contributed to the attack with some defence splitting passes, but alas none of the moves could be converted into chances of note. Mervue on the other hand will feel disappointed not to have gone into the break a goal, if not more, in front.
Paul Skinner in the Athlone goal acted quickly to cut out chances from Ryan Manning, while Roddy Collins Jnr almost beat his own keeper with a header before Martin Connelly saw a header of his own bounce off the top of the crossbar.

Despite some battling play in midfield from Niall Lanigan, the second half proved to be just as dour as the first with Athlone again showing little in the final third of the pitch, while a lack of accuracy from Mervue saw the game peter out as a scoreless draw.

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Niall Lanigan launches an attack for Athlone

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