Home > Uncategorized > Four Star Rovers Rumble Athlone

Four Star Rovers Rumble Athlone

March 17, 2014

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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