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Archive for March, 2014

Four Star Rovers Rumble Athlone

Friday 14th March 2014. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division. Athlone Town Stadium.
Athlone Town 1-4 Shamrock Rovers

Eighteen years after their last home League game as a Premier Division side, Athlone Town were handed a difficult first home fixture when they hosted Shamrock Rovers on Friday night in Athlone Town Stadium. With previous midlands meetings taking place in St Mel’s Park and Dubarry Park, the game marked Rovers first competitive visit to the venue, having played a pre-season friendly there in 2009.

Despite being injury free, and welcoming Derek Prendergast for his home debut, Athlone’s relatively small squad were feeling the effects of a busy opening schedule as they took to the field for the third time in seven days.

With the game scheduled for a 7.45pm kick off, a floodlight issue delayed the start, and the game was underway just five minutes before a dip in the lights forced referee Tomas Connolly to call a halt to proceedings while the problem was rectified.

With the game finally under way, Rovers looked the dominant force from the start and took the lead in the 21st minute when Ciaran Kilduff was on hand to fire home from close range after Athlone goalkeeper Paul Skinner lost control of Sean O’Connor’s corner.
Eight minutes later the visitors doubled their advantage when the lively Gary McCabe latched on to Shane Robinson’s through ball to calmly slot the ball past Skinner. After attempts from Sean O’Connor and Luke Byrne, McCabe almost netted a brace before the break, but his powerful shot rattled the upright.
With the second half just four minutes old, Rovers effectively sealed the win when Ciaran Kilduff got on the end of Simon Madden’s cross from the right to score his second of the game, hooking the ball past Skinner as he fell backwards.

Athlone manager Mick Cooke tried to shake things up just after the hour mark with a triple substitution seeing Barry Clancy, Ian Sweeney and Graham Rusk coming on for Sean Byrne, Mark Hughes and Jason Marks. Despite the introduction of fresh legs, Rovers remained dominant with chances few and far between for the hosts. Wave after wave of attack saw Skinner thwart Kilduff from getting his hat-trick while also stopping Ronan Finn and Karl Sheppard getting on the score sheet.

Athlone were dealt another blow in the closing ten minutes when captain Aidan Collins hit the ground hard during a challenge, dislocating his shoulder in the process. With all three substitutes already on the pitch, Athlone were forced to see out the game with ten men.

With the clock running down, Rovers substitute Eamon Zayed wrapped up the scoring for the visitors to make it four, before Alan Byrne pulled back an injury time consolation goal, forcing the ball over the line from close range in a crowded penalty area.

Photos From Athlone Town 1-4 Shamrock Rovers

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Rover And Out As Sligo Take The Points

Saturday 8th March 2014. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division. The Showgrounds.
Sligo Rovers 2-1 Athlone Town

On a wet Saturday evening, Athlone Town traveled to The Showgrounds to begin life in the Premier Division with a difficult game against Sligo Rovers.

With a small squad to operate with, Athlone had to plan without Derek Prendergast due to suspension, while they could only manage to fill 5 of the 7 allowed places on the substitutes list.

As expected, Sligo had the lions share of possession early on and attacked from the start with Danny Ledwith striking the post with a shot inside the opening 5 minutes, before Aaron Greene had Paul Skinner scampering across his goal to cover his shot from distance.

After taking the opening 15 minutes to settle, Athlone tried to make inroads on goals, however playing Philly Gorman as a lone front man left last seasons top scorer chasing down everything with little support.

As the half progressed, Ledwith and Kaelan Spillane both had efforts sail just the wrong side of the woodwork, while Gary Rogers in the Sligo goal was left untroubled for the majority of the half.

In the second half, Paul Skinner showed exactly why he was named in last years Team of the Season, with a string of fine saves in quick succession from Davi Cawley and Eric Odhiambo before again denying Danny Ledwith.

With 53 minutes played, Athlone finally got the rub of the green when a handball inside the area left referee Rob Rogers no option but to award a penalty to the visitors. Up stepped Gorman to cooly fire the ball low and hard just beyond the outstretched left arm of Gary Rogers.

The lead lasted just 10 minutes though when wave after wave of attack finally found a chink in Athlones armor and John Russell nipped in to head home at the back post after David Cawley’s cross from the right wing caught the town defence ball watching.

With Sligo throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at Athlone, it looked like the Midlanders would leave the North West with a hard fought draw; but fortune favors the brave and with 2 minutes left on the clock, substitute Even McMillan latched on to John Russell’s low cross into the box to fire past Skinner from close range.

Photos From Sligo Rovers 2-1 Athlone Town

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Athlone Go Dutch But Longford Go Through!

Monday 10th March 2014. EA Sports Cup. Athlone Town Stadium.
Athlone Town 0-1 Longford Town

Wearing a less than traditional kit of Orange and Black, Athlone Town crashed out of the EA Sports Cup at the first hurdle as Longford took the spoils in a lack luster Cup Derby at Athlone Town Stadium.

Despite wearing the Dutch colours, Athlones performance was far from “Total Football” as they took to the field for their second game in three days. With a tough game against Sligo barely behind them and an equally tough encounter with Shamrock Rovers to come, Athlone tried a squad rotation for the visit of Longford Town. Having a small squad, however, meant that the rotation was mostly positional as Kealon Dillon and Sean Byrne moved into midfield roles, with Grahan Rusk playing up front and Jason Marks floating between midfield and forward roles. Alan Byrne dropped back to sit in between the center backs and center midfield while Neil Harney and Barry Clancy came in to the full back positions.

In the first half Athlone made a flurry of attacks, with Kealon Dillon firing over the bar before Graham Rusk squandered a chance from close range. Just before the break, Longford had their first clear cut chance when Kevin O’Connors shot deflected wide of Craig Sextons post.

Athlone started the second half brightly with Dillon coming close to breaking deadlock, but his deft lob bounced just the wrong side of the post as keeper Paul Hunt stood in no mans land.

On the 70th minute, Longford got the rub of the green when Sexton parried a shot from Davy O’Sulivan, and with the Athlone defence caught flat footed, Gary Shaw was on hand to fire home unchallenged. Ten minutes later, James O’Brien came close to equalising but as his long range shot looked destined for the top right corner, Hunt pulled off an acrobatic save to flick the ball just over the bar to ensure Longford progressed to the next round.

Photos From Athlone Town 0-1 Longford Town

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Serbian Friendly Not Kind On Irish Eyes

Wednesday 5th MArch 2014. International Friendly. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road
Republic of Ireland 1-2 Serbia

A Filip Dordevic goal, added to James McCarthys o.g, cancelled out Shane Longs opening score as Serbia
defeated Ireland in an International Friendly that did little to entertain the Lansdowne Road crowd.

Photos from Ireland 1-2 Serbia

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New Beat Old As Galway Win Frinedly

Saturday 22nd February 2014. PreSeason Friendly. Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway FC 1-0 Athlone Town

In torrential rain, a common trend in 2014 preseason, the Leagues newest team Galway FC beat the oldest Athlone Town on a scoreline of 1-0 in Eamonn Deacy Park

Click Here Fro Photos From Galway GC 1-0 Athlone Town

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