Athlone Town Club Notes 20/11/12

November 8, 2018

Airtricity U19 Enda McGill Cup Report: Fanad United 0-2 Athlone Town
Athlone Town’s U19 team remain unbeaten in all competitions this season and progress to the Quarter Finals of the Enda McGill National U19 Cup after an impressive victory away to Fanad United. The victory was a welcome reward for the team who arrived back in Athlone some fourteen hours after leaving on Saturday morning last, though all were complimentary about the welcome and care afforded by the evening’s opponents from Donegal.

Athlone, on a rich vein of form, stared the game brightly and dominated the opening exchanges before good work by Roy King on the left wing fifteen minutes into the game saw him cut back the ball to Ethan Keogh running from midfield. Keogh wrong footed his attacker with an excellent feint allowing him room to shoot low into the bottom corner of the net, finishing from just inside the area.

The away side continued to have the better of the exchanges on a cold wet night in Donegal and just before half time, when the Fanad keeper spilled a cross under pressure, Keogh was on hand to claim his second and send the Town into the welcome half time break, two goals to the good.

In difficult conditions and a disimproving pitch, the second half failed to produce the good football of the first. Both sides were doing their best to play good football, but in the conditions both sides failed to produce their usual passing games. With a two goal cushion and a defensive Fanad line-up, Athlone continued to create the better chances with both Dylan McCabe and Roy King forcing the Fanad keeper into saves. With the game in the final minutes, Fanad forced a late save from Jamie Coyne from a free kick, but that was to prove a rare and final chance for the home side.

Athlone’s reward is another long away trip down to Bishopstown in Cork where they will face Cork City FC, the U19 Premier Division and Cup double winners from last season in two weeks time. After the season so far, the Town can face into this game full of confidence with a Semi Final awaiting the winners.
Athlone Town FC: Jamie Coyne, Michael Monaghan, Warren Conroy, Alex Scully [Sub: Steven Conneely], Seamus Byrne, Ian Sweeney, David Brooks, Ethan Keogh, Roy King, Darren Donnelly [Sub: Dylan McCabe], Jordan Conroy.

Airtricity U17 League Report: Liffey Valley Rangers 2-2 Athlone Town
Athlone Town Under 17s were unfortunate to only draw away from home to Dublin side Liffey Valley Rangers on Sunday in a DDSL Major 1 league contest.

Deservedly two up midway through the first half, Athlone immediately allowed the home side to pull one back and conceded the equaliser in the second half, after a lapse in defensive concentration.
On the balance of the game, Athlone were the better side, but a failure to defend properly at key points in the match cost them dearly. However, Athlone played some excellent football, created a decent number of chances while the home side didn’t create too many opportunities other than those presented to them by defensive errors.

Dillon Sheridan opened the scoring after only four minutes after Aidan Byrne and Pablo Martinez had combined down the right before Sheridan finished after Shane Dolan’s initial effort was blocked by the home keeper. Dolan made no mistake when he extended Athlone’s lead on 27 minutes lashing home a spectacular volley from the edge of the area after a clever Byrne through ball.
But two minutes later, the home side pulled one back when a misplaced pass allowed the right back to storm into a gap and lash home from 20 yards.

It gave Liffey Valley Rangers a platform in the game. And it could have been even worse but for a great stop by Athlone keeper Paddy O’Sullivan with his legs from former Irish schoolboy international Dillon McKeever who had nicked possession from an Athlone defender. After the break, the game ebbed and flowed, with both sides having promising spells. Dolan was particularly unfortunate when his snapshot was pushed onto the post by the home keeper and the rebound struck the keeper on the head but rolled wide of the post.

O’Sullivan did well to tip a dangerous free kick over his bar soon after at the other end. And it was from a quickly-taken free kick on 76 minutes that the home side equalised when McKeever nipped in behind the Athlone defence to prod home. Athlone could have taken all three points in the final minutes when Sheridan fired wide at the back post and Brian Moloney’s dipping 20-yard volley was brilliantly saved by the Rangers keeper. Athlone now face the same side this weekend, at home, in the second round of the League Cup.

Athlone Town: Paddy O’Sullivan, Danny Molloy, Cian Hayden, Conor Freeman, Paul Scully, Joe Moloney, Aidan Byrne, Brian Moloney, Shane Dolan, Pablo Martinez and Dillon Sheridan. Subs used: Charlie McMickan for Martinez (58 minutes) and John Drummond for Dolan (76 minutes).

Irish Defence Forces game at Athlone Town Stadium
On Monday Athlone Town Stadium hosted the Irish Defence Forces international against the Dutch Defence forces. Prior to the Event Paddy McCaul, President of the FAI and John O’Sullivan, CEO Athlone Town attended an official function at Custume barracks to formally open the CISM qualifying group. O’Sullivan received a commemorative plaque acknowledging the clubs support in hosting the tournament. Commenting after the event O’Sullivan spoke highly of the Defence Forces commitment to sport. “The Defence forces are one of the longest serving affiliates to the FAI and were an integral part of promoting the game in Ireland, right back to the foundation of the state. Athlone Town has enjoyed a positive relationship with Custume Barracks through our history and an occasion such as this International allows us to bring two aspects of life in Athlone that the people of Athlone should be hugely proud of.”

Ireland Defence Forces 0 – 2 Dutch Armed Forces
On a wet and windy Athlone Town Stadium, Lissywoolen, the Irish Defence Forces made a disappointing start to their European qualifying group for next year’s CISM World Military Championship when they were defeated 2-0 by the Dutch Armed Forces.
This was a game that the Irish dominated from start to finish but their inability to convert the many chances which they created would lead to their downfall, when the Dutch team, depending very much on a counter-attacking game-plan, converted 2 of the 4 chances which came their way.
In the first half, a technically superior Irish side, with players drawn from the League of Ireland, Intermediate and Junior Leagues, showed the greater determination and should have been ahead after 15 minutes when a cross from Steven Fisher of Quay Celtic was just missed at the far post by Shelbourne’s Philip Gorman. A number of minutes later Ireland had what seemed like a genuine call for a penalty when Noel McGee of Athlone Town was bundled over in the penalty. However, French referee, Romain Zamo waved play-on. On the half hour mark, the large crowd which attended the game thought that Gorman’s strike from outside the box had gone in – however, it had struck the back stanchion and went behind the goals. Ireland at this stage were dominating play and winning most of the 50-50 balls. A 30 yard strike from Irish centre half Mark Horgan (Avondale Utd) just whizzed over the cross bar and spectators began to think that it might not be our day. In the final play of the first half, Dutch striker, Kevin Liefhebber, served a warning to the Irish when breaking the defence on a through ball from David Hermans, only for Irish goalkeeper, Ronan O’Reilly of Monksland Utd, to pull off a spectacular, one-handed save.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first with the Irish enjoying most of the possession. After 5 minutes Gorman headed straight at the Dutch goalkeeper, Jeffrey Vendrig, followed almost immediately by a great cross from the left by Fisher to be just glanced past the far upright by Gorman. Liefhebber was again put through after 10 minutes, but once again, O’Reilly came to the rescue of the Irish.
The Dutch were now starting to grow in confidence and the deadlock was broken in the 58th minute when another long ball from the Defence put Liefhebber clear and this time he made no mistake, giving O’Reilly no chance to put Holland 1-0 up. This goal only served to spur the Irish on with Trevor Gethins (Fanad Utd) and Keith Arnold (Drogheda Town) increasing the intensity in midfield. Another great cross from Fisher was again by Gorman, who forced the Dutch keeper into a good save and from the subsequent corner, Scott Delaney (Tullamore Town struck a powerful header straight at Vendrig.
On 70 minutes the Irish were again made to pay for their inaccuracy in front of goal and Liefhebber ws again put through the middle to score his second. In the last 20 minutes the Irish threw caution to the wind and further good chances fell to Athlone Town’s Niall Scullion (who, along with Gethins, were Ireland’s best performers on the day) and Gorman, who was unlucky not to get a hat trick. Irish substitute, Ian Cleary (Clonmel Town) came on for an injured McGee and in the last five minutes was unlucky on two occasions with headers that both grazed the Dutch cross-bar.
The final whistle brought disbelief from the Irish team and spectators that they could so dominate the game, but yet come away at the end of a 2-0 defeat.
Manager, Comdt Declan Sheridan, must now raise the sprits of the Irish team before their final group game against the German Armed Forces at 11.30 on Friday morning in Drom, Salthill Devon FC. The German team, who are considered group favourites, first play the Dutch at 2.30pm on Wednesday in Eamonn Deacy Park, Terryland and the outcome of this match will decide if the Irish have any chance of qualifying for the inaugural CISM World Soccer Championships to be held next year in Azerbaijan.
Ireland DF: O’Reilly (Monksland Utd), O’Shea (Mayfield Utd), Culhane Glin Rovers FC), Delaney (Tullamore Town FC), Scullion (Athlone Town), Horgan (Avondale Utd), Gethins (Fand Utd), Arnold (Drogheda Town), Gorman (Shelbourne) , McGee (Athlone Town), Fisher (Quay Celtic FC)
The Netherlands: Vendgrig, Jansma, Den Hartagh, Hermans, Van Der Linden, Liefhebber, Carrera, Sturmans, Haverslag, Azeuini, Jansen

All at the club would like to pass on our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Millie Larkin who passed away on Friday last. The Larkin Family are staunch supporters of Athlone Town FC, with Millie’s son Bernie sitting on the Club’s management committee.
All at the club also offer our condolences to the family and friends of the late Jeremy Dee, who lost his life following a tragic car accident this past weekend. A well respected coach within the game and an enthusiastic advocate of youth and women’s football, Jeremy was on his way to the Shamrock Rovers v Castlebar Celtic, where he was coach, game in the Women’s National League at the time of the accident.