2014/15 MATCH REPORTS
Boys u12 County Community Games Final
Athenry 2, Cregmore 0,
(Scorer: Liam Kelly x2)
Quality finishing by Liam Kelly in the dying moments of extra time saw the u12's crowned county community games champions! When the game looked like heading
to penalties, Liam Kelly nipped around a Cregmore defender for his first of the evening tucking the ball low into the corner of the net. Less than two minutes later, a cross by Gabriel McCann was latched onto again by Liam Kelly who struck a sublime shot to the top corner. Overall, Athenry had the better of the exchanges the defence allowing minimal chances to a lively Cregmore attack. Cian Flannery, Thomas Fleet and Colm Sweeney marshalled the central positions well, with Ben Haverty and Adam Molloy on the wings. In midfield, the two Darraghs did well, Daire Mc Carthy and Darragh Mc Neilis, with the steady Conor Lawless assisting them. The wingers were busy all evening, the two McCanns Gabriel and Hughie, Eoghan Burke, Ivan Power who were ably supported by Sean Rice, Evan McCrossan, it must be said that Cregmore were unlucky on the night, in particular where they had a shot headed off the Athenry line. Next stop the Provincial Community Games July 4/5. Thanks to all the organisers in the Community Games, great evening's football.
KEVIN POWER UNDER 11 FINAL
Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway
Mervue 5 - 1 Athenry
Today, it was not to be! Athenry were comprehensively defeated by a Mervue side in Eamonn Deacy Park (formerly Terryland) today. Three errors in the middle of the first half culminated in
three clinical finishes by a well drilled Mervue side, effectively this ended Athenry's interest in the game. Athenry battled admirably, but couldn't make any headway around the Mervue
goal. A goal from a free kick from Daire McCarthy early in thesecond half gave Athenry a glimmer of hope, but the three goal deficit was quickly reinstated some minutes later with a Mervuebreakaway. Best for Athenry in a disappointing day were Eoghan Burke, Daire Mc Carthy and Darragh Gilhooley.
Kevin Power u11 Cup - semi final
Athenry 2, Cregmore/Claregalway 0,
Report 13th May:
Wednesday night saw the meeting of two very talented young under 11 sides in Moanbaun in the Kevin Power Cup. The match lived up to its pre match billing, with chances early on
at either end. The break through came for Athenry before half time for Colm Sweeney when crossing the ball from near the end line who had his shot deflected into the Cregmore net, 1-0 Athenry. While Athenry had the better chances in the opening half, Cregmore to their credit battled away and were unlucky not to have an equaliser just before half time, a good drive to the Athenry goal which just cleared Matthew Feeney's crossbar.
The second half saw Eoin Burke, Adam Molloy and Cian Flannery put in good defensive shifts, with Daire McCarthy and Daire McNeilis holding matters down in midfield. On the wings Finian Coughlan, Daire Gilhooley and Darragh Fahy made the odd foray into Cregmore lines. In the middle of the half Daire McCarthy hit a thunderous free kick off against the crossbar, but in the end it was the one touch wonder Thomas Carr who despatched his first touch after coming on to the Cregmore net. It was a brilliant squad performance, hard earned but well deserved. Cregmore contributed handsomely to this game, with little between the sides, other than the gods favouring Athenry on this occasion with a few breaks.
Connaught Junior Cup - semi final Athenry 4, Corrib Celtic 3,
(Scorers: Cathal Fahy x2, Packie Byrne & Declan Cullen)
Athenry advanced to the final of the Connaught Cup after defeating Corrib Celtic in an enthralling game played in miserable conditions this morning.It was a game that had everything, where both sets of players gave their all for the 90 plus minutes.
Athenry started strongly and had the best of the opening quarter. It was during this time that the first of the seven goals came and what a goal it was. Cathal Fahy received the ball 30 yards from goal and took on the Celtic defence, dribbling past four Celtic players before slotting the ball under the keeper for what was a brilliant opener.
To Corrib Celtic's credit they began to play themselves into the game and get behind the Athenry rear-guard causing trouble. It was on one of these occasions that they drew level. Athenry lost the ball in Celtic's half allowing them to break and play a ball behind the Athenry back four. The centre forward got onto it and scored at the second attempt. Within ten minutes Corrib Celtic had gone in front when a long diagonal ball deceived Anthony Connolly. It was picked up by the Celtic winger who ran in on goal and finished well to leave Athenry trailing 2-1 at the break.
Athenry had lost their early initiative and now had the second 45 to keep their season alive. The second period began with the home side seeing more of the ball without creating any clear cut chances.
That was until Declan Cullen entered the fray and he soon had a hand in the Athenry equaliser. Colm O'Donovan and Cathal Fahy combined to set Declan free down the right hand side; his cross was deflected out for a corner. The resulting corner was met with a superb header from Packie Byrne to level up the game once more. A game full of twists and turns was about to turn in Corrib Celtics favour again as they won a penalty when Andrew Walsh was adjudged to have taken down a Celtic player inside the box. The penalty was well taken giving the Athenry keeper no chance. We were now heading for the last quarter of the game and Athenry made their final substitution bringing on Seamie Crowe for Brian Murphy.
But this was not before the most controversial decision of the day.
Cathal Fahy won the ball down the Athenry right and despite being taken out by a cynical foul played in Declan Cullen who was then taken down in the box. A penalty was awarded but the referees assistant on the far side intervened and decided Declan took a dive. The ref reversed his decision and booked Declan. This in sensed Athenry and drove them on in those crucial last ten minutes.
With Seamie now pulling the strings Athenry drew level again when he played a ball to Alan Harty whose first time pass sent Colm O'Donovan away down the left and his low cross was beautifully flicked into the net by Declan Cullen. The winner and seventh goal of a thrilling game came in the fourth of the six added on minutes. It came from a Seamie Crowe corner that Cathal Fahy met unmarked in the box to head home.
This was one of the performances of the season from Athenry who found the reserves when their backs were to the wall and the need greatest. They had the composure and calmness to drag them back into the game when decisions and the game was going against them.
This result leaves Athenry very much looking forward to the final against a strong Mervue side in a fortnight’s time. It will be the culmination of a long season’s hard work and a game that we all can't wait for.
Sunday 3rd May Western Hygiene Supplies Junior Premier Division
Corrib Rangers 2, Athenry FC 2,
(Scorers: Cathal Fahy & Colm O Donovan)
Athenry clinched the Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division title in a thrilling final league game of the season in Millers Lane last Sunday morning.
In a game that kept everyone enthralled up until the final whistle it was Athenry who clinched the title thanks to the 2-2 draw. Athenry started brightly and had the first chance of the game as early as the second minute. With both Cathal Fahy and Colm O'Donovan working hard to pressurise the home defence, a resulting miss placed pass fell to Colm whose shot whizzed past the post. Within a couple of minutes they had an even better opportunity when an excellent ball out of the back from Brian Carrigg split the Rangers back four, this allowed Dan Cunningham a clear run on goal only to be brought down by the home keeper. Cathal Fahy stepped up to take the spot kick but his effort was well saved.
Thankfully this setback didn't affect the confidence as Athenry took the lead almost immediately as Colm O'Donovan got his head to a long throw and Cathal was on hand to put Athenry 1-0 ahead with a deft header of his own. Athenry were well on top during this period and the mercurial Colm O'Donovan scored with a magical effect from over 30 yards that sailed into the top corner to make it two up. With Athenry commanding at the back and Jamie O'Driscoll and Gary Forde working tirelessly in the middle they saw out what was left of the first half fairly comfortably.
The second half was going to be a more difficult 45 minutes as Rangers knew they had to up their performance to keep any chance of winning the title alive. While the opening 10 minutes was relatively calm in front of the Athenry goal, within the next 15 mins was all to change. Rangers scored their 1st goal from a wonderful Dave Golbey header that gave Andrew Walsh no chance in the Athenry goal. While there was no disputing the quality of Corrib Rangers first goal Athenry were a little aggrieved by the awarding of a penalty that was to level up the game. The ref Vincent Carew gave the home side a dubious penalty after a Rangers player fell over in the box despite getting his shot away which flew well wide. Johnny O Connor kept his nerve to level the game as we entered the final quarter. Rangers threw caution to the wind over the final period of the game and despite winning a number of corners Athenry were able to keep their composure and hold out. They regained a foothold as the clock went into injury time and when the final whistle was eventually blown it was greeted by great scenes of jubilation from Athenry.
This was a fantastic achievement for everyone involved. The squad never gave up and continuously believed they could win the league despite a poor start to the season which saw them well adrift after the opening 5 games.
Athenry only lost one of their last 17 league games and in any league that is winning form. It took a squad of 25 players who all played a part in helping Athenry claim the Brod Trill Premier League trophy.
The well-deserved celebrations went on well into the night on Sunday but the squad were back training on Tuesday as the attention turns to the Connaught Cup semi-final next Sunday at 11am in Moanbaun.
Macron Kits U13 Premier Division
Craughwell Utd FC 0, Athenry 2,
(Scorers: Dumebi Abeli & Eoin Lawless)
The eleven Under 13 team mates gathered in a wet and overcast Craughwell for their final premier league game of the 2014/2015 season with an air of positivity that belied their league standing. Athenry were without their two first choice goal keepers, but were nevertheless upbeat and looking forward to the encounter, they wanted to finish the season on a high. Cathal Yaxley stepped forward and put on the goalies jersey when asked if he would take on the responsibility. It proved to be a revelation and just maybe the beginning of a new calling for Cathal?
The weather improved and conditions were a lot drier when the ref blew the whistle for the kick off. A lot of the initial tussles were contested in midfield and the match developed evenly between the two teams. Athenry had the help of the slight slope of the pitch in the first half and Craughwell had the wind to assist them. It was proving difficult for Athenry to really test the Craughwell goal keeper until a free was awarded 20 yards inside the oppositions half after 11 minutes. Eoin Lawless stood well back and eyed up his options, he decision to go direct for goal nearly reaped the benefits, as the ball rebounded squarely off the crossbar and back into play, a fine shot from Eoin, who had another great performance for Athenry in the centre of defence along with the ever reliable James Cummins. .
On 15 mins Craughwell broke free on the right side after winning the ball in midfield and approached the Athenry goal with determination, a cleanly struck ball was rocketed across the goal towards the top of the net only for a fully stretched Cathal Yaxley with lightening reflexes to reach back and with one hand deflect the ball over the bar. Athenry should have been behind but for this impressive save. Cathal patrolled his area with authority and continually came off his line to stop any danger developing around the box. The teams went in at the beak sharing the score line at 0-0.
Athenry created more chances in the second half than the first, but didn’t test the Carughwell keeper enough. Conor Whelan tackled well and delivered some telling passes down the right side. Craughwell had some chances of their own, which also pietered out. Mathew Brennan at left back was again proving that he is a very difficult opponent for any team to outwit. Dumebi Abeli was moved from midfield into a more attacking role and this increased the pressure on Craughwell. Harry Power was more comfortable switching to midfield and stopped some developing moves from Craughwell many times. Dumebi engaged in some clever link up play with Eoin Gavin and John Gray and questioned the oppositions defence on several occasions. 14 minutes into the second half Dumebi received the ball close to the centre circle and turned a couple of players easily to make some ground and then tried to manoeuvre himself to get a shot off which was blocked, he regained possession and turned again and delivered a low shot into the corner of the goal beyond the reach of the Craughwell goalie. 0-1
Sean Forde who was very effective was getting higher up the field with greater regularity, and got some good tackles and subsequent crosses into the forward line. More pressure on the Craughwell back four. Dumebi was relishing being in this more forward role and came close to testing the keeper a couple of times. Athenry were awarded a corner on the right side on 21 mins and Sean Byrne swung in a well struck cross from the corner flag for Dumebi to rise up and meet the ball with his head at pace and near accuracy as the ball rebounded off the crossbar there was a scramble for the ball and it was half cleared to a waiting and very composed Eoin Lawless, who thought of nothing else but placing the ball into the net through the congested goal mouth. Great strike, 0-2 Athenry. A few more scares close to the Athenry goal in the final minutes were dealt with by Cathal, who was growing in stature and the result didn’t look in doubt.
Nice way to finish the season. Well done lads!
Cathal Yaxley, Mathew Brennan, James Cummins, Eoin Lawless, Conor Whelan, John Gray, Dumebi Abeli, Eoin Gavin, Sean Byrne, Harry Power and Sean Forde
IT'S CLOSE BUT ATHENRY PROGRESS IN TIGHT AFFAIR
Connacht Junior Cup – Quarter Final
Venue: Colemanstown Date: 26/04/2015
Colemanstown Utd 1-2 Athenry FC
Athenry advanced to the last 4 of the Connaught Cup with a hard fought 2-1
victory over Colemanstown. Athenry can count themselves fortunate to have advanced to the semi-final stage after they were put to the pin of their collar by a strong and energetic home side.
On a lovely evening for football it was Athenry who settled quicker and started to get their passing game going.They had most of the early possession without creating any clear cut chances. Athenry did score the 1st goal of the game and it came direct from a free kick mid way through the first half. Colm O'Donovan won the ball just inside his own half and took on the Colemanstown defence,he was eventually taken down 25 yards from goal. Dan Cunningham stepped up and with a wonderful left foot strike put Athenry 1-0 in front. Colemanstown up the tempo now and were beginning to get a foothold in the game. They won a succession of free kicks just outside the Athenry box. Andrew Walsh in the Athenry goal was called into action and had to make two fine saves to keep his team in front.Athenry were happy enough to go in at half time 1-0 up after just shading things in that opening half.
The second have proved to be more difficult as Colemanstown went in search of the equaliser from the start. Their commitment and energy was beginning to cause Athenry problems but without creating any clear cut chances themselves. Although they did hit the bar with 2 well struck free kicks. Colemanstown did equalise with just under 20 min to go and it came from a free kick that was deflected onto the path of on rushing centre half who scored from close range. They now went in search of the winner and were unlucky not to score when a mix up between Packie Byrne and Andrew Walsh nearly let Colemanstown in. They will wonder how it was missed from a yard out as the tame effort hit the post.
Athenry now realised that they had to raise their game if they were going to win and advance to the semi final. This they duly did,
with the 90min nearly up Cathal Fahy got his head to a free kick and headed the ball back across goal where Packie Byrne was on hand to head in the winner. Athenry held on for a 2-1 win but not before they lost Gary Forde to a second yellow as the played out the remaining time with 10 men. Colemanstown may feel that they deserved to bring the game to extra time but in fairness to Athenry they dug deep when the need was greatest and had enough resolve to find the winner.
Athenry now turn their attention to their most important game for many a season as they face Corrib Rangers next Sunday morning in what should be a title decider in Millars Lane.
UNLUCKY YOUTHS DESERVE MUCH MORE
Galway Hibs came to Athenry Sunday to maintain their challenge for the top spot in the Youth Premier League. Hibs started well, as Athenry seemed somewhat nervous in possession for the first few minutes. Athenry gradually improved over the first half, defending well, particularly from corners, and the teams ended the half evenly matched. Unfortunately, a needlessly conceded free kick early in the second half provided Hibs the opportunity to lob the ball to the far post where the advancing winger kneed it into the Athenry net. Athenry heads did not drop, and the team played all the football in the remainder of the second half, with Hibs trying to spoil the Athenry link play.
The good effort by John McGough and Paddy Briggs in midfield and the wing play on the left by Kieran Fox did not however get rewarded. Athenry created several excellent goal opportunities, with Sean Fitzsimmons dragging a shot across the goal from the right, a shot from the left by Kieran Fox saved by the keeper, and a delightful cross from the left, again by Kieran resulting in a flicked header by Ryan Shaughnessy in front of goal that crept wide. Hibs held on to steal the victory when a draw was the least Athenry deserved.
Athenry Team: Sean Mooney GK, Defenders: Aaron Flaherty, Darragh Bergin, Kieran McCallion, Jack Leech,
Midfielders: John McGough, Paddy Briggs, Ryan Shaughnessy, Kieran Fox Forwards: Dean McCann, Nico Mpekoa
Subs: Sean Fitsimmons for Nico and Eoghan Keane for Aaron.
25th April 2015 - Athenry U13b 3 – 3 Barna U 13B
A pulsating finish to the season for Athenry’s U13’s.
Athenry played host on a fresh April morning to a resurgent Barna team who, after a poor start to the season had secured 4 points from their previous two games. Athenry’s confidence was justifiably high also, with the team unbeaten on the field of play since November.
Barna started on the front foot with early pressure coming on the Athenry back four. Alex Keogh twice saved the home team in the opening five minutes, with his usual excellent reading of the game putting him in the right place at the right time. Captain Bobby Martins however began to lead the fight to Barna, with two shots on target, and generally was creating havoc in the Barna midfield and defence. Halfway through the first half, excellent defending from Colm Sweeney found John Ward, who in turn dinked a ball over the top for Patrick Cronnelly to run onto. Cool as you like, he slotted past the Barna ‘keeper to give Athenry the lead. Barna were not lying down though and began to exert some pressure once more on the home team. Terrific defending from Cathal Flanagan and Gavin Lydon in the corners kept Barna out for a while, but persistence eventually paid off, and when a deflected clearance found itself in the path of the incoming Barna midfielder, he made no mistake with a low hard shot from the edge of the box. Half time, and two well matched teams were level.
Athenry started the second half visibly looking for three points, and with Ian O’Halloran tracking the game well, sending probing passes through to Martin Fahy, and Kieran Dumper, Athenry once more tested the Barna defence. One of Athenry’s many corner’s paid dividends when O’Halloran dispatched to the back post, and a classy finish from Andrew Coffey gave Athenry a deserved lead. Barna held firm however for the next 5 minutes and then began another fight back. Heroic defending from Jack Burke and Colm Sweeney in the heart of the defence was keeping Barna out, but some neat and fast interplay caught the home team out, and Barna were again level. John Ward had been pulling the strings for Athenry all day, and in a frantic passage of play he had the ball in the Barna net a split second after the ref had blown for a penalty for Athenry. With five minutes left on the clock and the noise levels in Moanbaun rising, John ‘Zinedine’ Ward calmly chipped the keeper to huge cheers from the home support. Christian Firlay played his part by keeping the away defenders busy in the final minutes, but a brave Barna refused to lie down, and a cross from the edge of the box was met with a tremendous header to the roof of the net, giving the keeper no chance. An end to end game, played in good spirits, which neither team deserved to lose.
1. Alex Keogh 2. Gavin Lydon 3. Jack Burke 4. Colm Sweeney 5. Cathal Flannagan 6. Bobby Martins 7. Patrick Cronnelly 8. Ian O’Halloran 9. Kieran Dumper 10. John Ward 11. Martin Fahy
Subs: 12. Andrew Coffey 13. Kristian Firlay 14. Evan Williams
Athenry goals: Patrick Cronnelly, Andrew Coffey, John Ward
Man of the match: John Ward
BATTLING YOUTHS GIVE THEIR ALL
Athenry Youth A travelled to Mervue for the first meeting of these teams this season, with Mervue strengthened by the return of their U19 players to the squad. Athenry were fastest out of the blocks with Adam Murphy scoring within 2 minutes of kick-off, from a good move down the left by Jack Leech. Mervue pulled the goal back after 15 minutes, but Athenry went ahead again on 30 minutes when Kieran McCallion scored, having just come on as a sub for Eoghan Keane. Disappointingly Mervue pegged an undeserved equaliser on the stroke of half time. Mervue started the second half strongly, scoring two goals in quick succession, supplemented by a converted penalty on 60 minutes and a further goal on 70 minutes to take control of the tie 6-2.
Athenry heads didn't drop however, with Dean McCann harrying the Mervue defensive line, and John McGough, on as a sub for Niko Mpekoa, and Ryan Shaughnessy doing well in midfield.
After several missed opportunities by both sides Adam Murphy stole the ball from the Mervue centre back and slotted it home. Soon after, an excellent cross by Sean Fitzsimmons, on for the tiring but hardworking Paddy Briggs, led to a Ryan Shaughnessy goal and a 6-4 score line. Athenry battled valiantly for the remaining 10 minutes, but were caught by perhaps the best taken goal of the game, a looping shot from the left-side outside the box into the bottom right corner of Sean Mooney, the Athenry keeper's goal. It finished 7-4 to Mervue, with excellent football by both sides.
DEPLETED ATHENRY DOWN TO BUSINESS END OF SEASON
COROFIN 0-2 ATHENRY
Athenry won their penultimate game in the Western Hygiene Supplies Premier League with a comfortable 2-0 win away to Corofin Utd on Sunday morning.Athenry knew this was a must win game and had to start without Colm O'Donovan who was suspended,Cathal Fahy who was injured and Brian Carrigg due to work commitments. From early on it was obvious that Corofin were going to try and contain Athenry by having 10 men behind the ball at all times. Athenry found themselves with most of the ball early on trying to pick openings in the home defence. The first couple of chances fell to Brian Murphy who had the beating of his man all day.The better of the chances came when he drew a decent save from the home keeper as he cut inside and got a decent shot away. The home side were beginning to drop deeper as the half went on and Athenry's pressure eventually told when Seamie Crowe(who was having his first start in 5 months) played a lovely through ball to Anthony Connolly who played the ball across the box and turned into his own net by the Corofin defender.Athenry saw out the remainder of the first half in control without creating too many clear cut chances.
The second half began along similar veins with Athenry pressing ,looking for the second goal that would make the game safe. Within 10 min the second goal did arrive when Brian Murphy had an excellent effort that the goalkeeper could only parry and Gary Forde was on hand to hammer the ball home from a tight angle.Corofin now had to change tactics and push on a little more, this allowed Athenry to get in behind them and gave them more time on the ball creating additional chances. With 20 min left Athenry won a penalty when Dan Cunningham beat two Corofin defenders with ease and cut into the box before being taken down.Unfortunately for Dan who took the penalty himself it was well saved by the home keeper. Athenry were able to see out the remaining time in comfort with Corofin only creating one half chance that was deflected over the bar.Declan Cullen had a goal disallowed for offside and Alan Harty had a fine effort saved as the game went into injury time.
The win sees Athenry going into their final game away to Corrib Rangers knowing a point will be good enough to see them win the title.
Attention now turns to the 1/4 final of the Connaught Cup and a difficult assignment away to local neighbours Colemanstown next Sunday.
Results Sunday 12th of April: Connacht Junior Cup – Last 16
Real Tubber 2, Athenry FC 3,
(Scorers: Colm O Donovan, Dan Cunningham & Declan Cullen)
Athenry advanced to the last 8 of the Connaught Cup this afternoon after a hard fought victory over a determined and physical home side.On a pitch that wasn't conducive to good flowing football, Athenry started well and went ahead with in the first couple of minutes when Dan Cunningham got on the end of a good move involving Alan Harty and Brian Murphy to head Athenry in front. Real Tubber gradually got to grips Athenry's movement, playing with a strong breeze and the hill behind them they began to create chances. Tubber equalised direct from a free kick that Andrew Walsh will have been disappointed to let slip under his body.Both sides would have been satisfied with the 1-1 half time score which was a fair reflection on their efforts. With Athenry's best chance falling to Packie Byrne whose header shaved the post as the first half came to an end.
The second half began with both teams giving as good as they got with the referee becoming more lenient with the home sides challenges. He then awarded Tubber a dubious free kick which was excellently struck home into the top corner giving Andrew Walsh no chance.With the home side now 2-1 up 30mins remaining, Athenry had to up the tempo and not panic. They now started controlling matters and creating chances with the best ones falling to Colm O'Donovan and Paddy Quinn but they were cleared off the line.With 20mins left to go Athenry equalised with a brilliant strike from the aforementioned Colm O'Donovan who scored with a stunning effort into the bottom corner.
At this stage it was all Athenry and the winner came with time running out. A cross from the left was met by a Declan Cullen diving header at the back post.Athenry were now in a position to see out the game controlling the ball and not giving Real Tubber any opportunity to create any chances.This was an excellent and deserved win for Athenry who showed the kind of experience and calmness needed in situations like they found themselves in today. They now progress to a quarter final against Colemanstown in a couple of weeks as the climax to the season builds.But before that game they have the vital penultimate league game against Corofin next Sunday.
GFA U16 Division 2
Knocknacarra B 0, Athenry B 7,
(Scorers: Morgan Leggett x4, Szymon Slokiek x2 & Ronan Bergin)
Man of the match: Morgan Leggett.
Athenry started with a 4-2-1-3 formation, it seemed to suit the players with plenty of attacking play but also remained solid a back. Athenry got the first goal of the match when David Gilhooley put in a long pass into the box which was headed on from Ronan Bergin and then the ball fell to the feet of Morgan who scored his first goal of the game. Athenry got their second of the match 10 mins before half time, once again Morgan getting the goal. No changes at half time, Athenry continue to play well going forward with very little for the defence to do. Darren Jennings came on for Ronan Leahy who had a solid game in midfield for one of his first games back in a couple of weeks due to injury. Athenry added more goals from Morgan x2, Szymon x2 and Ronan Bergin with a lovely chip over the keeper after excellent team play in the build-up, later Darren got a lovely assist with a low through ball for Morgan and Szymon with a good solo goal it was a good attacking performance from the lads. Elliott Langan, Nathan Healy came on for Cyprian and Morgan, both of the subs did well when they came on, Nathan unlucky not to score and Elliot was solid in front of the backline, also well done to the backline of Brian, Ryan, Liam, Daniel and Diarmuid for their second clean sheet in the last three games. Overall a good day for the lads, it was hard to pick a man of the match, with good performances from Szymon, David (unlucky not to score in 1st half but good performance in midfield with plenty of decent passes and good tackles) and Ronan to name just a few but it was given to Morgan for his 4 goals.
Team: Diarmuid Somers, Brian Mentane, Ryan McNeilis, Liam Egan, Daniel Kinneen, David Gilhooley, Ronan Leahy, Szymon Slokiek, Cyprian Drozdol, Morgan Leggett and Ronan Bergin. Subs Elliott Langan, Nathan Healy and Darren Jennings.
Kevin Power U11 Cup – Round 2
Colga FC 0, Athenry 5,
(Scorers: Colm Sweeney, Eoghan Burke, Thomas Carr & Daire McCarthy x2)
Athenry A played Colga A on a fantastic new pitch at Colga in the second round of the Kevin Power U11 Cup, the bad weather held off for the game to make for great playing conditions. Athenry won the match 5-0 captained by keeper Matthew Feeney and progress to the next round. There were goals from Colm Sweeney, Eoghan Burke, Thomas Carr and Daire McCarthy got one in either half including a bullet header from an Eoghan Burke corner. Very happy with the result but further improvement will be needed if we are to progress further in this competition. A few lads would be nominees for man of the match including Daire McCarthy, Darragh McNeilis and Eoghan Burke. To the referee's credit he took the time and effort with both teams in explaining beforehand what he wanted from them in the game. The kids took all this on board and respected any decision he made making for a free flowing game. On we go to the next round.
Lee Brothers Youth Premier
Bearna Na Forbacha 1, Athenry 0,
Athenry Youth A travelled to Barna for a league game, having beaten the same opposition in the Connacht Shield the week before. Unfortunately Athenry came away with a reverse of last week's result: a 0-1 loss to a sloppy goal in the second half against the run of play. Athenry again played most of the football, and despite a diminished squad should have had a win, as the Barna keeper made several good saves, in particular from a shot by John McGough and a Kieran Fox free kick. Dean McCann had the ball in the Barna net but the goal did not count because of a ball-to-hand ruled as handball by the referee. Kudos goes to Darragh Bergin for playing as keeper. Athenry focus turns now to an away game Tuesday against Craughwell.
Sunday 5th of April: Western Hygiene Junior Premier Division
Galway Hibs 0, Athenry FC 2, (Scorers: Dan Cunningham & Seamie Crowe)
This was a must win game for Athenry if they had any designs on winning the Premier Division title. In complete contrast to the Mervue game they started excellently and played in a confident manner. Athenry had the first chance of the game inside the first couple of minutes when the cross bar came to Hibs rescue after a lovely move involving six players. It was a game that was played in beautiful morning sunshine in Bohermore both teams played an attractive style of football with Athenry forcing the issue from early on. Chances continued to come and go as Brian Murphy, Cathal Fahy, Gary Forde and Alan Harty all had chances to give Athenry the lead but due to some wayward shooting and excellent goalkeeping from John Cotter in the Hibs goal Athenry couldn't find the breakthrough. Hibs did have one or two half chances of their own that were dealt comfortable by Andrew Walsh in the Athenry goal. Athenry had most of the play during the first half and were disappointed to go in all square at half time.
The second half started in similar vein with Athenry moving the ball quickly and continuously switching the play keeping Hibs on the back foot. The pace of the game never let up as both sides went in search of the opening goal. Cathal Fahy (who worked tirelessly throughout) had another couple of chances that went a begging before Andrew Walsh was called into action and reacted brilliantly to get a strong hand to a Hibs effort that was goal bound. As the 70th minute approached Athenry won a free kick and introduced Dan Cunningham for Brian Murphy who had run himself into the ground. Dan’s first task was to take the free kick which he duly struck beautifully into the bottom left hand corner to give Athenry a deserved 1-0 lead. Hibs now had to push on and this created gaps that Athenry were trying to capitalise on. Seamie Crowe had just replaced Colm O'Donovan (who had caused Hibs no end of trouble all day) when after another flowing move the ball fell to Seamie on the edge of the 18 yard box who used all his guile and technique to stroke the ball home and put Athenry in a comfortable position. Athenry were able to close out the game and record a very important win that now sees them back on top of the Premier Division with 3 very difficult games remaining.
This was a very pleasing performance and the players knew themselves that they had to respond positively after the loss to Mervue two weeks previously. It was an all-round great team effort with Athenry strong at the back, full of energy and commitment in midfield and always creating chances up front, it also shows the strength and depth of the squad which will be again called upon on Thursday evening when they play St Bernard’s in the last home game of the season.
Sunday 5th of April: Connacht U18 Shield, Semi-final.
Bearna Na Forbacha 0 Athenry 1, (Scorer: Colm Flynn)
Athenry Youth A team travelled to Furbo for an Easter Sunday semi-final in the Connacht Shield against Barna. Although the game was played in glorious sunshine the quality of football was not helped by Barna high-ball tactics. Athenry were playing most of the football, controlling the midfield battle through Ryan Shaughnessy and Colm Flynn in the opening half, and got their reward through a headed goal by Flynn from a Kieran Fox corner after a stunning shot by Adam Murphy had been partied wide by the Barna keeper. Football quality in the second half degenerated somewhat as Barna pushed on to try equalise, with a strong wind in their favour. Athenry held on gallantly to secure victory, with a strong defensive performance by Kieran McCallion, Darragh Bergin, Jack Leech and Aaron Flaherty.
The final is to be played on the May bank holiday in Strandhill against local rivals Craughwell.
Athenry Senior B’s 5 V 0 Colemanstown
Date: 04/04/15 Venue: Colemanstown
Scorers: Joey Burke, Colin Bane, Oliver Rabbitt, Aidan Fahy (Pen) & Kevin Culkin
Athenry Senior B Team
Goalkeeper: Niall Cannon
Defenders: Aiden Fahy, Damien Sweeney, Dermot Parker, Conor Gavin
Midfielders: Mark Lawless, Colin Bane, Barclay Healey,
Strikers: Joey Burke, Martin Ward, Kevin Culkin
Subs: Diarmuid Flaherty, Oliver Rabbitt, Jamie Cronin
"Never gona be a B team without me, never gona be a B team without me Aido, Aido, Aido, Aido, Aido."
Athenry B’s last game of the season and what a game to watch, a five goal thriller from the lads. The match didn’t kick off until 5pm in Colemanstown. After the home win last week the lads were looking to make it two in a row. Coach Roger Leggett went with the same formation (4-3-3) as last week which worked well.
As the first half kicked off there was some good one and two touch football being played by the lads, you could see the improvement over the last few weeks, whatever their coach is doing in training it’s paying off. Some chances wide of the post for Joey Burke, and a great shot just wide for Mark Lawless, with excellent crosses in from Damien Sweeney and Martin Ward Athenry were unlucky not to be two or three up in the first half. Roger having decided to give all the lads on the bench a run out today being their last game of the season he decided to make his first change quickly into the second half with swapping Martin Ward for Diarmuid Flaherty, this change worked well from the off with Athenry trying to break down Colemanstown defence the break through finally came with their first goal from their number one striker Joey “Billy Elliott” Burke. It wasn’t long before the second goal came from one of their midfielder’s Colin Bane, with a good piece of play down the wing Kevin Culkin’s shot hit the back of Joey Burke (who was on the floor injured) and Colin inside the six yard box poked the ball into the back of the net.
Athenry had Colemanstown on the back foot having all of the play pushing up and looking for more goals. A second substitution for Roger’s lads Colin off and Olli Rabbitt on playing down the wing, a great cross from Kevin Culkin into the six yard box saw Joey just get a touch with his head only for the ball to fall down to young Oliver at the back post slotting the ball home with his first touch three up for Athenry. Conor Gavin was awarded a penalty having being taken out inside the 18 yard box Aiden Fahy stepped up to take it, Roger Leggett nervously looking on from the side-line as Aiden was looking to redeem himself having missed the last penalty a few week back. But Aiden stepped up and fired the ball straight down the middle fooling their keeper who dived to the left. Athenry’s third and final sub was Mark Lawless coming off and Jamie Cronin coming on, playing up front alongside Joey and Kevin, it wasn’t long after Jamie coming on he was putting plenty of crosses into the box with some great play from the lads in the middle of the park getting the ball out wide. This gave Joey and Kevin plenty of chances not long before goal number five came from an excellent cross from Jamie down the right hand side into the six yard box only for Kevin to tap home with Colemanstown nowhere to be seen. This was the first clean sheet of the season and a special mention to Niall Cannon in goal as the seventeen year old down very well when called upon during the first half and one excellent save late on ensured nothing got past him.
It was an excellent performance to end Athenry B’s season with five goals in the second half. Plenty of names in the hat for man of the match but Roger Leggett gave it to their striker Joey Burke who had an excellent game running all over the park, putting in some crunching tackles and tracking back into his defensive duties when required.
Good luck for season 2015/2016 lads.
None scoring but high quality fare in Raheen
U13 Div 2 Athenry FC 0 - 0 Colemanstown Utd
A warm April afternoon saw Colemanstown Utd visit Raheen hoping to remain in the hunt for top of the table honours, while Athenry were looking to continue a very impressive run of form since February. The away team started the brightest, putting Athenry under some early pressure. Colemanstown's danger women, who bagged a hat trick in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season, was closely watched by Athenry's commanding centre back pairing of Martin O'Flaherty and Jack Burke. Captain Gavin Lydon led by example by laying down some early markers to keep the initial threats at bay. The initial Colemanstown threats were failing to penetrate Athenry's defence, and their attacking set up was exploited by a superb through ball from Ronan Jennings. Kelvin Langan appeared to be well onside when he dispatched the ball to the net, but was ruled offside by the ref. Half time and the teams were level.
Both teams lined out for the second half as they had finished the first, but now it was the home team that set the pace, pressing hard for that elusive goal. Wonderful link up play from Ian O'Halloran and Dara McCarthy put Kelvin through once more, but the left footed volley shot just over the crossbar. Andrew Coffey was leading the line well, keeping 3 defenders busy, and clever play from John Ward put Andrew through on goal and his shot was unlucky not to hit the target. As the second half progressed, Colemanstown began to dominate possession and went in search of the goal that would keep them in the hunt for the league title. Ivan Power was not to passed though and his along with many other crucial tackles kept a lid on the huge pressure being applied by Colemanstown. While the vocal away support and unceasing wave of attacks added to the pressure, goalkeeper Alex Keogh kept his cool throughout, and was always well positioned to deal with any threats. Martin Fahy came on and gave everything for the last 15 minutes.
The whistle blew to hand a fair result to both sides, but this Athenry team are fast building a reputation as the hardest working team in the league.
1 - Alex Keogh 2 - Jack Burke 3 - Martin O'Flaherty 4 - Gavin Lydon 5 - Ivan Power 6 - Ronan Jennings 7 - Ian O'Halloran 8 - Dara McCarthy 9 - Kelvin Langan 10 - John Ward 11 - Andrew Coffey Subs 12 - Martin Fahy for Andrew Coffey 13 - Colin Williams 14 - Bobby Martins 15 - Aaron Cunningham
TIRELESS LAWLESS HELPS GET THE WIN Saturday 28th of March
Western Hygiene Junior Division 4 - Athenry B 3-1 Kilshanvey Utd
(Scorers: Martin Ward & Joey Burke x2)
Having been disappointed to come away with no points against Cregmore last weekend Roger’s men were out to prove a point. Athenry started the game well with three strikers pressing, Kilshanvey’s only option was to play the ball long although the wind didn’t help in that regard. After 10mins Mark Lawless flicked a ball over the defence straight to Martins feet and he coolly placed the ball around the keeper into the back of the net. As play resumed Athenry kept control of the game. 25mins gone and saw the referee produce two red cards as two players got into a scuffle resulting in both lads going off for violent conduct. After that the game became more open in midfield with Mark dropping back behind the strikers. Athenry had a few more chances before the break but couldn’t put them away. Half-time came and Niall Cannon who was in goal had to go and with no sub keeper Kieran McCallion put on the gloves, Oliver Rabbitt filled in at left back.
The second half started and Kilshanvey looked a lot more lively putting three up front. With both teams going at it, it was not long before Joey got his first of the game with another assist by Mark. Great work by Oliver down the left hand side finding Barclay Healey before Mark set up Joey. Five minutes later McCallion was judged to have kicked the ball out from outside the box free kick to Kilshanvey who were denied by the out stretched keeper. With legs beginning to get tired the game was getting more stretched Colin Bane played in a great ball to Martin only to see his shot blocked with the rebound falling to Joey who stroke the ball perfectly to make it three nil. Kilshanvey got one back with after some bad defending. On the day Athenry could have had more but overall a decent performance. Their last game of the season is this Saturday away to Colemanstown at 5pm.
ITS STILL UP FOR GRABS DESPITE RESULT
Western Hygiene Supplies Junior Premier Division
Mervue Utd 3 Athenry FC 0
Athenry's unbeaten run came to an abrupt end Sunday morning in Mervue when they were comprehensively beaten by a strong Mervue side. Athenry who hadn't lost a league game since the opening game of the season came into today's game full of confidence on the back of the recent run which had seen them join Mervue at the top with a game in hand.
Athenry fielded the same side that had beaten Team Celtic 6-0 the previous week in the hope and expectation that it would be good enough on the day. As early as the 4th minute Athenry had conceded the opener when they failed to deal with a long ball from Mervue that was allowed to bounce inside their half and a subsequent ball over the defence was struck home by Alex Lee under the body of Athenry's keeper Andrew Walsh.
Athenry continued to struggle to get a foothold in the game as Mervue extended their advantage midway through the first half. Lee again was on hand to stroke the ball home from inside the six yard box after good work on the right and a high cross eluded the Athenry rear-guard. Athenry went in at the break 2-0 down and brought on Gary Forde and Paddy Quinn at the beginning of the second half in an effort to get back into the game. However things got worse within five minutes of the restart when Barry Moran received the ball inside the Athenry box turned and got his shot away that beat Andrew Walsh at the near post.
It was always going to be an uphill battle from here and to Athenry's credit they battled to get themselves back into the game. Colm O'Donovan was fouled inside the Mervue half and from the resulting free kick Cathal Fahy played in Paddy Quinn whose attempted cross was handled by the home defence. Unfortunately for Athenry Cathal Fahy's penalty was well saved by John Egan in the Mervue goal.
Other chances fell to Paddy Quinn, Brian Carrigg and another good chance for Cathal that all went a begging to prove this was just not going to be Athenry's day. Mervue had chances of their own as Athenry pushed forward but the game finished on a score line of Mervue 3-0 Athenry.
A very disappointing performance will have to be put behind Athenry immediately as they play their game in hand next Sunday. The league remains in their own hands with five games remaining.
Athenry Senior B’s 2 V 2 Galway Bohs
Date: 14/03/15 Venue: Raheen, Athenry
Scorers: Joey Burke, Kieran McCallion
Athenry Senior B Team
Goalkeeper: Jason Ollernshaw
Defenders: Aidan Fahy, Damien Sweeney, Martin Ward, Conor Gavin
Midfielders: Mark Lawless, Colin Bane, Diarmuid Flaherty, Daniel Bane, Michael O’ Halloran
Strikers: Joey Burke,
Subs: Niall Cannon, Kieran Barrett, Kieran McCallion, Niko Mpekoa
Well what a complete turn round within a week for the Senior B’s, straight from the kick off Athenry had Galway Bohs on the back foot with at least five chances on goal within 20mins for their striker Joey Burke but due to the lack of service to their front man this season he was unable to finish them, sometimes being caught offside or firing over the crossbar but plenty of vocal encouragement from the side-line. Athenry’s Coach Roger Leggett must have worked miracles in the training sessions this week as the team seemed to be playing some excellent football again passing with one and two touch as shown at the start of the season.
A welcome sight back for one of their midfielder’s Daniel Bane after serving a two match ban. Daniel had plenty of pace and was turning Bohs defence inside out, he was very unlucky not to put away his two chances that he made with some darting runs down the left wing, firing the ball straight across the goal mouth.
A straight 50/50 ball played into the path of Mark Lawless saw him get a yellow card for a foul on the Bohs keeper. Diarmuid Flaherty had a goal disaqllowed as it was deemed not to have crossed the line with Joey Burke firing the ball back into the Bohs net in celebration only for the ref to ruke out the goal saying Joey was offside & that Diarmuid’s shot had not crossed the line.
After these scare’s for Galway Bohs the game seemed to turn into a battle in midfield for both sides with Bohs coming out the victor as they made some good passes working the ball from left to right putting the ball into the path of their striker who buried the ball into the back of the net. Bohs kept the pressure on Athenry and again a chance came to score with good play down the right hand side and a perfectly weighted cross onto the head of their striker. It was two-nil down in the space of a few minutes and against the run of play for the B’s. Athenry were very quiet but were awarded a free kick just inside Bohs half, with Athenry pushing up their lads into the box Mick O’Halloran took the free kick, floating a ball straight onto the Bohs keeper, with Joey Burke coming in on it and headed into the back of Bohs net. Half Time.
Bohs tried a sneaky shot from the kick-off not fooling Athenry’s keeper Jason Ollernshaw who had it well covered. A few harsh tackles started going in from Bohs with Athenry keeping their heads the ref started dishing out some yellow cards. You could see Athenry pushing for the equaliser as Bohs seemed to be running out of steam. A heavy tackle from Boh’s forced Athenry’s coach Roger Leggett to make a change with only 12mins left, Kieran McCallion coming on for Damien Sweeney (Knee). Two minutes later Kieran Barrett came on for Diarmuid Flaherty and Niko Mpekoa on for Mark Lawless. A little team shuffle as Barrett played LB, McCallion played CB pushing Martin Ward up front who had a solid game playing CB. The changes worked straight away with Niko playing off the shoulder of Joey up front and missing out on a goal with the ball passing the wrong side of the framework. Plenty of pace from this youngster down the right caused problems for Bohs. The ref then blew for a blatant foul on Niko who was taken out by a Boh’s defender and he was sent off for a second bookable offence. Mick O’Halloran took the free kick as before drifting a quality ball in on the Boh’s goalkeeper with Joey Burke rising between two defenders to nod it down taking the defenders with him in the process, Kieran McCallion took advantage of the loose ball burying the ball into the net making the score line two each. The Ref blew for full time
A point shared between them but had Athenry finished their chances the score line could have been a lot different. You can see some of the improvement’s showing within the team but sometimes a lack of players discipline not listening to their coach’s instructions and being more composed in front of goal they can do a lot better.
Western Hygiene Supplies Junior Division 4
Athenry B 1, Galway Hibs B 2
Date: 07/03/15 Venue: Crestwood
Scorers: Conor Gavin
Athenry Senior B Team Goalkeeper: Jason Ollernshaw, Defenders: Aidan Fahy, Damien Sweeney, Dermot Parker, Conor Gavin, Midfielders: Mark Lawless, Colin Bane, Diarmuid Flaherty, Kieran Barrett, Barclay Healey (C), Striker: Joey Burke, Subs: Martin Ward (70min), Kevin Culkin (55min), Alberto Cadiz.(70min)
Once the ref confirmed that the game was going ahead due to the amount of sand dumped on approx ½ of the 18yrd box thanks to the Galway Corporation, the game kicked off in very blustery conditions with the wind against Athenry B’s in the first half.
A steady start to the game by both teams due to the weather conditions, Athenry’s goalkeeper had trouble with the goal kicks as the wind was just pulling the ball back towards his own 18yrd box, this gave Hibs a big advantage on Athenry as they were pushed up high upon them. A few heavy tackles flying in on the Athenry lads as in their previous meeting with Hibs at the home game a couple of weeks ago, costing Hibs with some yellow cards from the ref. Hibs could have had a player sent off for simulation which should have been his 2nd yellow but the ref decided just to have a quiet word.
This was a day for some good basic football to be seen with plenty of accurate passing between players on the ground, & not a day for the “long ball” tactics which does not suit Athenry’s game anyway. Mark Lawless & Joey Burke both had a couple of shots towards the Hibs goal but nothing to trouble the Hibs keeper. Hibs went one up due to an error on Athenry’s right hand side as their right back got caught pushing up from a Hibs throw in leaving space which Hibs took advantage of & scored.
Halftime came with a team talk from their coach Roger Leggett it was now Athenry’s advantage for 45mins with the wind behind them. Not long after the restart Hibs gave away a free kick just inside the halfway line on the right hand side. Athenry’s right back Conor Gavin stepped up to take the free having been told to hit the six yard box the wind had an assist as the ball beat the Hibs goalkeeper & ending up in the back of the net “GOAL” Athenry levelled it up.
After the restart Athenry seemed to switch off for 5mins as in other matches this season allowing Hibs to have the ball & not closing them down quick enough, this usually ends up with the opposition coming close with efforts on goal or scoring. It was not long before Hibs striker was one on one with Athenry’s Aiden Fahy & was brought down outside the 18yrd box, what should have been a blatant free kick was seen by the ref as a penalty. Athenry protested with the referee showing him the big tuft of grass that had been dug up three feet out due to the tackle but he was not persuaded (Conor Gavin booked in the process) & Hibs stepped up to score their second.
With about 20 mins left Roger Leggett decided to take off Kieran Barrett & Diarmuid Flaherty for Alberto Cadiz & Martin Ward hoping that an additional striker would help them take something from the game. There had been chances toward the end of the match but none clear cut as the attackers were not decisive enough and lacked any real creativity. Full time came, as before this would seem like more points dropped on what has to be a pretty disappointing season for the Senior B Team.
"THE TOSS OF A COIN".......
'Athenry 3-4 Tuam 7/3/15
Sometimes in sport, the toss of the coin before the commencement of a match can have a big part to play in the outcome. With the wind blowing strongly toward the clubhouse at Moanbaun Eoin Lawless knew, as captain, that if Athenry were to win the toss, he would choose to play with the wind. Tuam Celtic won the toss and decided likewise. The wind did indeed have a part to play in the match especially in the first half. Long balls from the Tuam half put early pressure on the Athenry back four. And after a difficult ball, made more difficult by the driving wind, which was tough to contain by Paul Mooney in the Athenry goal it rebounded back into the path of the oncoming Tuam attack. Three mins gone and Tuam are a goal up.
There were a further number of difficult balls to contend with by the Athenry back four, before the team as a whole began to respond in a more positive manner. Dumebi Abeli up front, collected some clever balls from Conor Whelan on the right side of midfield only to have their efforts snuffed out by a dogged Tuam defence. At nine minutes Athenry crafted an equaliser as Sean Byrne connected at close range with a well placed cross from the boot of Eoin Gavin, 1:1. A minute later it was 2:1 to Tuam. Two mins after the restart Tuam were ahead once more, with further assistance from the wind at their backs 3:1 up. Athenry were responsive and didn't let their heads drop and constructed some forays into the Tuam half and were nearly rewarded for their efforts when John Gray brought the ball from a wide right position and fashioned a superb cross to the feet of Dumebi, only for the attempt to clear the cross bar and miss the target. Eoin Lawless joined the defence from midfield to shore things up. On 22 mins Tuam found the net again with a scramble in the Athenry box they were first to react and there seemed no way back for the home team. A little respite was welcome for the boys in maroon when Tuam were disallowed a goal which the ref deemed to be offside.
At half time Athenry had only to look at what was ahead of them in a positive way and try and put the first half behind them. 4:1 down. They did just that and controlled the second half from the off and could have cut the deficit earlier. Eoin Lawless was moved back into a centre back position and Cathal Yaxley was moved up to assume a striker's role. After 16mins Cathal struck the ball from inside the Tuam box after receiving the ball from the persistent John Gray. With great defensive play again from James Cummins and Mathew Brennan it seemed that something could be salvaged from the game. Eoin Lawless and Conor Rabbitt added to the now quite solid back four, with Conor pushing more into the midfield area. When a free kick was awarded on 24mins ten meters inside the Tuam half, Eoin Lawless sent the ball high into the penalty box and Conor Rabbitt turned to meet the ball on the volley and beat the impressive Tuam goal keeper. 3:4. Athenry could have found the net on several occasions more with their positive play. The ref blew the whistle to end the come back prematurely. The wind and the toss of a coin.
MIDFIELD GENERAL EMMA BOSSES THE GAME
Girls U10 Premier League
Athenry A 6-0 Maree/Oranmore A
(Scorers: Nina Bodamer, Alannah Sweeney, Emma Fitzgerald, Ruby Mullen, Aine Hardiman, Leah Joyce)
In very blustery conditions Athenry controlled the match right from the start not letting Maree/Oranmore settle into their game. Emma Fitzgerald got the break through with a fine strike to settle us down. Nina Bodamer got the second after that the goals kept coming. Emma Fitzgerald had a great game today she controlled the midfield and never stopped running all day well done. The girls had a great day and all of the squad played very well keep up the good work.
LEE SHOWS THE WAY
U14 GFA Cup – Round 3 - Ramblers 1-2 Athenry FC
(Scorer: Brandon Lee x2)
Athenry had a lively start in their first Cup game down in Leitrim, on the 20min mark Ramblers went one goal up through an own goal after their first attack on goal. Athenry recovered well and were rewarded with a goal from Brandon on 25min. The inform ramblers keeper kept the scores level when the half time whistle blew. In the second half Athenry maintained their attacking form finding it hard to break through the Ramblers defence. Midway through the second half Brandon again found the net for the second time and the game finished 2-1 to Athenry. This was a well-deserved win.
TEAM PERFORMANCE HELPS McNEILIS TO A HAT TRICK
Kevin Power U11 Cup – Round 1- Athenry 5-1 Colga C
(Scorers: Daragh McNeilis x3, Eoghan Burke, Adam Molloy)
It was an easier day at the office for the lads with a win in the first round of the Cup. Athenry played fluently from the start, which was rewarded with four quick goals in succession inside 10 minutes, this saw off a gallant Colga side. In a day of an abundance of goals Daragh McNeilis, Eoghan Burke and Adam Molloy excelled assisted admirably by Colin Jordan, Shane Fox, Thomas Fleet, Shane Quinn and Thomas Carr. Well done to the lads as they progress to round two.
ATHENRY A WIN DESPITE B'S EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE
Youths 17/18 GFA Cup – Round 2,
Athenry A: 1, Athenry B: 1 - After Extra Time: 2 – 1
(A: Scorers: Colm Flynn 1, Paddy Briggs 1 B: Scorer: Matthew Treacy 1).
The moment both teams became aware
of this fixture there was an air of unprecedented excitement. This was not only an important cup game but it was also a local derby. The winners of this match would undoubtedly
gain bragging rights over their respected opponents. Their positions in their leagues of both these teams went out the window for this game effectively as this would surely be a classic cup affair.
Friday morning arrived, the day of the match. Both teams set to meet at 2.30 pm. The niceties would be exchanged here, for now both sets of players could converse with each other. As kick off became ever closer though the friendships would have to be suspended as on the pitch in a few moments would be simply two teams vying to be in the next round of this all important cup. Crowds began to gather as this game had been advertised rightly as a worthy fixture to attend. Just as both teams neared the end of their pre match routine the referee sounded his whistle. Both teams gathered around the centre circle, trying not to crack a smile as they knew now was game time and they had to be focused on the task which lay before them.
At around 3.30 the game was underway. The conditions were ideal for this encounter, the wind and rain had died down, the pitch had been rolled shortly before kick-off. Athenry Youth A’s wearing the maroon home strip while the Athenry Youth B’s donned their green second kit. The game began slowly, both teams attempting to feel their way into the contest. The pressure was more on the A’s I would feel as they were favoured being in the premier division and how they were playing at the moment. As I said before however this was a cup game and all form guides went out the window from the start.
The intensity which the B’s showed seemed to surprise the A’s as they were forced into making errors. Their intent epitomised early on by Phillip Brennan as he stuck vigorously to Ryan Shox forcing him to make a few errors. Chances were at a premium however. After four minutes the A’s has a header just over the bar. Shortly after, the ball came through to Adam Murphy who's shot was just wide of the left bottom corner. Fifteen minutes in came the first opportunity for the B’s and how they did take that opportunity! Good work down their right flank led to a corner. Odhran Monaghan swung in the ball and his corner was met perfectly by the head of Matthew Treacy. It’s difficult to say that they didn’t deserve the lead as they defended well and when one chance arrived it was duly dispatched. The effect of this goal could be felt all around the pitch. The manager of the A’s clearly outraged by the surprise yet deserved lead ordered his subs to warm up.
The A’s sensing the enormity of the task ahead coupled with the immense support for the B’s began to play proper football. The ball was worked well through the middle of the pitch through the feet of Colm Flynn and Ryan Shox. Spurred on by the words of Aaron Flaherty they began to keep the tempo to the levels which had been expected of them from the outset. Just before the end of the half Dean McCann beat two players to put himself through on goal only to hit the woodwork. The half time whistle came at the most inconvenient time for the A’s as they began to build up ahead of steam. Contrastingly it came at the most welcome time for the B’s as they needed to regroup and come back stronger in the second half.
Some harsh words were said by the Athenry A’s manager as their performance up until this point was less than satisfactory. They made two changes as well. Kieran McCallion came in for Darragh Bergin and Kieran Fox also entered the fray as a substitute for Eoghan Kane. No changes from the other side under the management of Colin Bane and his assistant Mark Lawless however. With the changes seen to by the referee both sides were hyped up once more and the second half was underway.
The second half started in an altogether different vain to the first. The A’s knew how much of a disappointing result this would be from their perspective and had added impotence as a result of this incentive. The B’s however were valiant in their attempts at retaining this one goal lead. Particularly Liam Moran and Declan Joyce who were partnered at centre back. With the A’s pushing for that equaliser they were left susceptible to the counter attack as the B’s utilised the pace of Matthew Deacon to great effect at times. With the game being so tight it wouldn’t be long before the ref showed a yellow card as McCallion controversially appeared to elbow Deacon in the face, two more yellows followed but the game didn’t get out of control as both were looking to go through. The pressure was beginning to show however.
The A’s had an abundance of corners at this point in the tie and eventually they were going to come good. This proved the case as Ryan Shox played in a ball which was flicked on, it seemed to be going too far before Kieran McCallion steered it into the box once more where Colm Flynn poked it home. Relief more than anything was felt from all those supporting the A’s. Patryk Woleniuk came off the bench for an injured Odhran Monaghan followed by Liam Moran having to come off in place of Jack Roche due to cramp, telling signs of the performance the captain had put in. An excellent solo effort from Aaron Leggett beating five players before being foiled by Sean Mooney in goals was the last chance of normal time as the referee blew the full time whistle.
Extra time and maybe more was on the cards. A quick pep talk from both management teams before the action resumed. The B’s had a very good chance as Oisin Geoghegan raced through only to be stopped just before he could pull the trigger. End to end this game became as Kieran fox had a rasping drive come off the crossbar. Chances were now coming from either side and the question on everybody’s lips was who would have the nerve to take them. Niko Mpekoa came on for the A’s as, Keith Hardiman was summoned to try and swing the tie the way of the Youth B’s. Their attempts fell on deaf ears however as the A’s went in front. A slick corner routine from two of the subs Kieran McCallion and Kieran Fox led to the ball being poked home once more this time from the right peg of Paddy Briggs. Paddy had worked exceptionally hard throughout the game and undoubtedly deserved this credit. The B’s gave their all in the minutes that were remaining. The score line stayed the same however as the A’s came through a tough match in the end.
The match proved an excellent spectacle as the B’s put up an inspiring performance which does not reflect their position in their league. They proved very stubborn opposition as they made life extremely difficult for their counter parts, narrowly avoiding victory on this special day of football. As for the A’s they will know that they could have made life easier for themselves today. Maybe this was due to their lack of game time at the moment or how the B’s set up for the game. No one is to know but they know now that they have to up their level if they want to achieve the league position they feel they are capable of. Man of the Match goes to Matthew Treacy not just for breaking the deadlock but his all-round display at left back. Let’s hope the A team can now go on and lift the Cup.
KIERAN'S FIRST HALF TREBLE HELPS DUMP THE VILLA
ATHENRY 3-2 MOYNE VILLA (u13B gdsl)
A hat trick from Kieran Dumper helped Athenry U13b's on their way to collecting 3 points at home against Moyne Villa on Sat morning 21st Feb.
Heavy rain the previous night made for a heavy pitch for both sets of players, but Athenry started the brighter, with Aaron Cunningham and Martin Fahy combining well to put the Headford team on the back foot. The early pressure led to a corner, which Ian O'Halloran dispatched accurately to the danger area and while the keeper got a touch, Kieran Dumper was on hand to head the ball to the net.
Any breaks from Moyne Villa were dealt with by a composed back four marshalled by the excellent centre pairing of Martin O'Flaherty and Evan Williams. With players from both sides struggling in the conditions, Dumper collected the ball in his own half, went past two and sped down the sideline. Making his way to the box and passing a third, Kieran's initial clever shot was blocked by the keeper, but quick as a flash he returned it to the net. A super individual goal Messi would have been proud of. Moyne villa pressed hard to get back into the game for the final minutes of the first half, but Athenry bravely held on for a 2-0 lead at the break.
Headford brought on 5 subs at half time, and the fresh legs began to count with continued pressure on Athenry. Alex Keogh kept the home team in the game with several excellent saves, while Gavin Lydon and Andrew Coffey worked tirelessly getting a hold of the game in midfield. A good ball up the line from Jack Burke lead to a hat trick from Kieran Dumper and Athenry appeared comfortable and certain of 3 points. However the heavy pitch, an increasing wind and Moyne Villa's bench all conspired to put the home team under considerable pressure for the final 15 minutes. A super goal from the edge of the box brought Headford back into the game and with 3 minutes to go they added a second. There was no third goal though and brave defending from Cathal Flanagan and Bobby Martins along with great holding play from Matthew Bane helped Athenry to all 3 points after a tense finish.
Athenry Team: 1) Alex Keogh 2) Jack Burke 3) Evan Williams 4) Cathal Flannagan 5) Martin O'Flaherty 6) Kieran Dumper 7) Ian O' Halloran 8) Andrew Coffey 9) Gavin Lydon 10) Aaron Cunningham 11) Martin Fahy Subs Matthew Bane for Aaron Cunningham (40')
Bobby Martins for Kieran Dumper ('45)
ATHENRY JOINT TOP AFTER CONVINCING WIN
TUAM CELTIC 0-4 ATHENRY (Senior A)
Athenry joined Mervue at the top of the Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Tuam Celtic in Tuam this morning. Athenry started brightly and created a couple of decent chances prior to taking the lead. The first goal came after 15min when the excellent Cathal Fahy created the opening for Alan Harty who continued his excellent goal scoring form with a lovely finish into the top corner. Athenry continued to push on and were denied their second goal a number of occasions by good goal keeping and last ditch defending.
Athenry eventually got the games second but not before Andrew Walsh made a point blank save from Tuam's best move of the game.The second goal came from excellent work down Athenry's right between Dermot O Halloran and Anthony Connolly who played in Cathal Fahy who again set up Alan Harty to score.Athenry were now in control and put the game to bed shortly before half time when Jamie O'Driscoll scored from close range after a move involving Cathal Fahy and Alan Harty. Tuam were finding it increasingly difficult to come to terms with the movement of Athenry's front two and it was Jamie who was on hand to score after the ball got stuck under Alan's feet as he attempted to complete his hat trick.
The second half was just a matter of controlling the tempo for Athenry and not giving the home side any opportunities to get back in the game. This was achieved by and large thanks to the defence remaining compact and organised and with Brian Carrigg controlling matters in front of them. The final goal of the game came by way of an og. A Dan Cunningham corner was headed past his own keeper by Tuam's centre half under pressure from Paddy Quinn.
This was an excellent performance from Athenry who now sit along side Mervue at the top. The coming few weeks sees them play Mervue away and the 4th Round of the Connaught cup. Games will come thick and fast now and Athenry are well prepared for the final third of the season. Special mention to Colm O'Donovan and Andrew Walsh who were part of the Galway District League side that were beaten last night by Wexford. Colm playing the full game plus extra time.
ATHENRY TEAM PERFORMANCE SHINES THROUGH
Athenry through to next round of U13 GFA Cup
The fine weather in Carraroe added to the spectacle of some great phases of play as Athenry shone in their U13 GFA Cup encounter away to Cois Fharraige last Saturday. Athenry who were captained by Conor Whelan controlled the game from the off and their incisive passing play was difficult for Cois Fharraige to contain. With some early penetrating incursions into their opponents penalty area, Athenry started the game with real intent. This early pressure paid off when Eoin Gavin received a ball back from Sean Byrne just outside the box to lob the ball high over the Cois Fharraige goalie, 12 minutes gone. Athenry began to feel this may be their day.
Cois Fharraige responded with a number of telling balls hit over the Athenry back line but James Cummins and Eoin Lawless combined well to see out some threatening breaks. Athenry's positive play was again rewarded by another great goal as Eoin Gavin's sweetly lobbed shot found the net once more. John Gray was proving to be a handful for the Carraroe backs and made many darting runs with the ball at his feet. At 26 minutes Athenry were rewarded another corner on the right and Eoin Lawless positioned himself perfectly to receive the corner ball and drill a powerful and accurate shot clear through a congested Cois Fharraige goal mouth. Athenry enjoyed their oranges at halftime leading the fixture 3-0 up.
It was evident in the first few minutes of the second half that Cois Fharraige were determined to try and get something out of this match. They broke deep into Athenry's half on a few occasions. They got a goal back within 8 minutes of the restart. Athenry were not going to let this one slip and collectively combined to tackle well and push forward with growing regularity. In the 49th minute John Gray found himself in the box and threaded a well placed ball beneath the diving Cois Fharraige goalie, 4-1. Cormac Feeney replaced an effective Paul Mooney in the Athenry goal, and Cormac proceeded to pull off a fantastic save to keep the commanding score line intact. Save of the season!
Mathew Brennan and Conor Rabbitt played great and added to a the solid Athenry back line, Harry Power fitted in very well too. Cathal Yaxley and Dumebi combined excellently with good interlinking play. Another forward move resulted in a penalty with so much growing pressure from Sean Forde and Alex Park proving too much for Cois Fharraige. Conor Rabbitt took responsibility for the spot kick and his self belief was backed up by a well taken side footed shot that found the net for the fifth time.
Athenry enjoyed the journey home though the Connemara countryside reflecting on a great team performance that provided their best win this season. Cois Fharraige 1 Athenry 5
ATHENRY FINISH SEASON STRONGLY
GFA U12 Division 4
Athenry C 2 vs. Cregmore/Claregalway FC C 0
Scorers: Finian Coughlan & Adam Molloy.
It was just not to be, as Loughrea took the league title by two points after the final game of the season. An early score by Finian Coughlan, which was followed by a second by Adam Molloy secured all three points in a hard fought and well earned victory. Daire McCarthy, Eoin Burke, Colm Sweeney and Daire McNeilis all played excellent. This has been a great campaign for a young side, and it looks very positive for their future development. Big Cup game against Furbo next week, fingers crossed for a positive result! Onwards and upwards.
IT'S GR8 FOR ATHENRY U16'S
GFA U16 Division 2
Oughterard 0 vs. Athenry B 8
Scorers: Nathan Healey x4, Szymon Slowiek x2, Daniel Kinneen & Darren Jennings.
Athenry started the game very well, good passing and pressing and were unlucky not to open the scoring earlier, the first came came from Szymon. There was very little trouble for the Athenry defence in the 1st half. Athenry got their second after Nathan Healey got his first of the day. In the second half Athenry continued to dominate the possession with further goals in this half by Darren, Nathan (3) Szymon and a wonder goal by Daniel Kinneen.
A well deserved result, for all the hard work and teamwork put in the game. Big win for the team and great to get a clean sheet thanks to a strong defensive unit.
Team: Morgan Leggett, Christopher Bruke, Liam Egan, Diarmuid Somers, Daniel Kinneen, David Gilhooley, Elliott Langan, Shane Kelly, Nathan Healey, Darren Jennings and Syzmon Slowiek
U10A GIRLS SHOW FOURTITUDE TO WIN
Girls U10 Premier League
Athenry FC 4 vs. Corrib Rangers 1
Scorers: Nina Bodamer x2, Alannah Sweeney x1, Sadbh Brady x1
An excellent performance from all of the team today it was a nervy start but as the game went on they got more into it.
TREBLE FROM BLATHNAID GETS GIRLS UP AND RUNNING
Girls U10 Championship
Athenry B 3 vs. Cregmore/Claregalway FC B 2
Scorer: Blathnaid O'Mahony x3
A good team show today from all of the squad, a hard fought game which could have gone either way. A great win and fantastic start to their league campaign.
U13B UPSET LOCALS IN DROM!
GFA Under 13 Division 2
Salthill Devon B 0 vs. Athenry B 1
Scorer: Colm Sweeney
A gritty display of spirit and determination saw Athenry squeeze out a hard earned victory in Drom. Well on top in the first half, chances fell to Ronan Jennings and Daire McCarthy but none hit the onion bag. Nil all at half time.
Early pressure in the second half with Ian O'Halloran, Ivan Williams and Martin Flaherty controlling things down the middle. It wasn't until the man of the moment Colm Sweeney strike from 25 yards to the top corner that the deadlock was broken. Some stalwart defending in the latter stages from Ivan Power secured the points for Athenry. Good performances by all concerned, a great team win in a place that it is not easy to get a result!
OLD BOYS HIT COROFIN FOR SIX
Athenry 6-1 Corofin galway league
As happens so many times in leagues all over the world and the Galway Premier league is no different, we regularly see players coming back to haunt their former Clubs. On Saturday in Athenry it was the turn of former Corofin players Alan Harty and Colm O'Donovan to turn the screw and send Corofin deeper into relegation trouble. On a day not conducive to playing any kind of attractive football, Athenry started brightly and took the lead inside the first 5 minutes when Gary Forde pounced on a poor kick-out to set up Alan Harty for the opener. Gary Forde injured himself in the build up to that goal and had to be replaced by Cathal Fahy who didn't start due to attending a family christening.
Corofin, to their credit, fought back and got themselves an equaliser when a free kick was headed on behind the home defence and a shot was slotted away nicely past Andrew Walsh in the Athenry goal. Athenry were finding it difficult to create clear cut chances and it took a great Cathal Fahy run to set up Colm O'Donovan to score his first for the club and give the home side a 2-1 advantage at the break. The game was put to bed early in the second half as Cathal Fahy scored two goals in quick succession. The first from a lovely through ball from Paddy Quinn that split the home defence allowing Cathal to round the keeper to slot home. His second came from a penalty after Dermot O'Halloran was pulled back inside the area. Athenry at this stage had brought on Declan Cullen and Brian Murphy as they continued to pile the pressure on the visiting defence. The fifth goal was scored by Alan Harty as he dribbled his way into the area and tucked a lovely effort into the bottom corner. Alan completed his hat-trick and the scoring for the day when he followed a long ball over the top from Packie Byrne to round the keeper and finish off a great days work.
Athenry can be well pleased with the performance and now see themselves within touching distance at the top of the table. Special mention to Tommy Fahy and Pete Gilhooley whose tireless work on the pitch ensured the game went ahead.
FAHY HAT TRICK CLOSES GAP TO THE TOP
ATHENRY 3-2 CORRIB CELTIC Galway League
A Cathal Fahy hat-trick ensured Athenry maintained their charge towards the top of the table. Athenry closed the gap on those above them after a tough but deserving victory over a well organised Corrib Celtic outfit last Sunday afternoon. On a day when playing conditions were difficult with the heavy pitch both teams adapted themselves well creating early chances. Athenry created their first chance within the first minute when good work between Gary Forde and the returning Colm O'Donovan set up Cathal Fahy who shot over from close range. Corrib Celtic took the kick out quickly and broke up the field to win a corner. From the resulting corner they took the lead as the centre half rose unmarked at the back post to put the away side 1 up.
Athenry tried to get back in the game and two excellent Colm O'Donovan efforts drew great saves from the visiting keeper. As the half time whistle approached Athenry were awarded a penalty. A free kick was swung into the box and Colm was man handled to the ground and the spot kick was awarded. Cathal Fahy duly stepped up and scored. It was a welcome break for the home side who went in level at half time.
Athenry went in front early in the second half when they won a corner on the right hand side. Colm O'Donovan put in a lovely ball that was met by a stooping header from Cathal. Athenry were now 2-1 on front but we're unable to hold on to the lead for too long as a lapse in concentration at the back allowed Corrib Celtic to take a quick free kick which was crossed in and tucked away well from close range. Both teams continued to probe looking for a winner and while Athenry were the more composed team on the ball they found it difficult to break down the Celtic rearguard. The winner and fifth set piece goal of the day came from another corner when the recently introduced Dan Cunningham swung in another corner from the right that Cathal Fahy thankfully bundled over the line. From here to the finish Athenry controlled matters as the midfield worked tirelessly to keep the home side pressed on. Cathal was withdrawn and replaced by Keith Loughnane to add an extra body to the midfield. While a 4th goal was disallowed late on, thankfully it wasn't needed as Athenry won 3-2.
This was a very pleasing result for Athenry as they quietly close in on those above them in the table. They know that if they can sort out one or two defensive issues they can look forward to the challenge of Corofin next Saturday.
DUMEBI GETS THE BALL ROLLING IN THE CUP
U13 GFA Cup
Athenry A 3-0 Cregmore/Claregalway
On a relatively mild and calm morning Athenry u13's stepped out onto a heavy underfoot pitch that was in good condition thanks to Tommy and Peter and all the lads who week in week out ensure the pitches are presented as best they can be and especially so in the middle of winter.
Athenry were able to field a strong team, which was complimented by a strong bench.
The game started with intent and Athenry asserted themselves on the opposition by threading through some well linked up play from midfield to forward positions. The combination of Eoin Gavin (capt) and Dumebi Abeli in centre midfield proved a handful for Cregmore and the ball was frequently moved forward in a positive manner to Cathal Yaxley who had a number of chances early in the game but failed to convert. Cregmore did settle into the game and caused some concern to the Athenry back four, but any developing threats were dealt with in a very composed manner collectively by the Athenry defence. Mathew Brennan was outstanding on the left side and positioned himself superbly to deny any possible incursions down the left side. This robust defending was mirrored by the centre back pairing of James Cummins and Eoin Lawless, Eoin was welcomed back by his team mates for his first competitive game of the season, and has not lost any of the skills and natural ability he possesses that were very evident last season. Conor Rabbitt deserves a mention too for his disciplined performance on the right. Conor Whelan also was beginning to assert himself down the right flank and made some penetrating runs and crosses. John Gray and Sean Byrne on the left side linked up well and Byrne made some telling crosses into the box that began to pile the pressure on Cregmore.
The breakthrough came with some tight control and possession between Dumebi and Eion Gavin, which resulted in Dumbei finding himself in an advanced position and moving forward with pace, he seized the opportunity and drilled the ball into the roof of the net from 20 yards out beating the keeper to the right. 1-0 at half time.
Cregmore had some chances early in the second half. 10 minutes in Cathal Yaxley struck the ball low just inside the box and found the net beyond the stretched Cregmore goalie. 2-0. Sean Forde came off the bench and slotted in very well to the pace of the game and the positive attitude of the Athenry team, Fordie converted at close range to see Athenry go three up. Athenry deserved their win and a great team effort was reflected in the final score. Alex Park and Harry Power proved very effective off the bench and the team was solid throughout. A great result and hopefully a lasting run in the Cup.
HAZELS BRACE LIFTS ATHENRY GIRLS
U16 GIRLS LEAGUE
CRAUGHWELL 1-3 ATHENRY
x1 Anna x2 Hazel
The 1st game of 2015 saw a mighty start for our young u16 girls away to Craughwell. These girls are slowly getting to know each other over the last few years and there certainly was a buzz of comeradery between the two sides. With what had to be the most beautiful crisp afternoon in the last few weeks the girls took to the rather slippery heavy surface full of nervous energy. With a few different events clashing with the game Athenry had to rely on numbers from our u14 girls. Stephanie donned the new goalie gloves ready for action and lucky to be in the end goal with her back to the sun for the first half. Yes I wrote sun! it shone strong and at low eye level for the girls for the entire match.
The game started with a strong attack from Craughwell but was shortly counteracted by Athenry. The pace of the game was slow due to slippery conditions underfoot. It is fair to say that both teams were very evenly matched with nothing to separate them. A lot of centre field action before our right wing broke free, Hazel took the ball and crossed it into Anna McCoy who controlled the ball and continued on through to goal where it was blocked but then taken back again by Anna who eventually kicked the ball into the back of the net. A wonderful goal for the most deserving of new players to the team. The game took a big lift and Craughwell started to attack hard and definitely took their defending up a notch also following Anna’s Goal. It was not long before Craughwell equalised with a super shot chipping our keeper. The girls came in at half time with a pleased and genuine relief that they were in control of the game. Roger just asked them to keep doing what they were doing and score another goal. The mood was enthuastic before heading out for the second half.
Now Athenry had that hard glaring sun in their eyes and had to work hard talking to support each other. It really was a 50/50 game until about 20 minutes in when Hazel intercepted an out going pass by Craughwell in the middle of the park and sailed past two defenders to find herself in front of goal taking a strong strike to the opposite post hitting the back of the net. The girls were delighted and were quick to recover to take on the strong Craughwell’s girls who were well schooled in set plays from kick off. Thankfully it was roll on roll off subs so we could benefit from using fresh legs continuously. Ailsling Sheehan went in backs for Nessa and as she walked in to support and watch the remaining few minutes of the game she said that the back line were under intense pressure with Craughwell throwing everything they had at the Athenry team. Could we really hold out for a win was another comment from the side line but the game was so well matched it was hard to say.
The referee let the girls know there were 2 minutes left and Craughwell dug deep to get the ball down to their end but a strike off the ball hit an Athenry player causing the Athenry girls to gain possession with a minute to go and all of a sudden the ball was passed and it flowed back towards the Craughwell goal, once again with Hazel in full stride with the ball who took a shot on the run and hit the back of the net for the second time in less than 5 minutes. Full time and Athenry were victorious 1-3.
A delighted team took to the dressing room to count up 3 more points to their already existing 5. Not bad for a team that are using this u16 year as their preparation for full u16 next season. 2 wins 1 draw and a mighty loss keeps this team happy to play another league match.
COMFORTABLE WIN SENDS ATHENRY UP THE TABLE
Western Hygiene Supplies Junior Premier Division
St. Patricks 0 Athenry FC 3
Venue: Caherlistrane Scorers: Cathal Fahy x2 Alan Harty x1
Athenry continued their climb up the Premier Division table with a comfortable 3-0 victory over St Pats in Caherlistrane. Athenry were forced to make 3 changes from their emphatic win over Corrib Rangers 2 weeks previous.Declan Cullen, Dan Cunningham and Brian Murphy came in for Packie Byrne, Dermot O'Halloran and Brian Carrigg who were all unavailable this weekend. Athenry pressed well from the start and had created good chances through Brian Murphy, Cathal Fahy and Dan Cunninghamwithout making a break through. Shortly after surviving a scare at the other end when a speculative long range shot sailed just the wrong side of the post, Athenry went ahead when Cathal got on the end of an excellent move involving Paddy Quinn, Alan Harty and Brian Murphy. Fahy going in bravely between the out rushing keeper and the centre half to score and put Athenry deservedly ahead.
Athenry doubled their lead shortly after the interval. Gary Forde got on the ball and took on the home defence, he evaded the first couple of tackles before being clinically taken down as he was about to score. Thankfully Cathal Fahy tucked away the resulting spot kick to score his 6th goal of the season and put Athenry 2-0 up. Athenry ensured that there was no let up in pressure as Gary O'Donnell, Seamie Crowe and Conor Lally entered the game early in the second half. While they continued to control the game the 3rd goal didn't arrive until the final quarter when a lovely move down the right involving Tony O'Conghaile and Brian Murphy resulted in a beautiful strike from Alan. Athenry had to survive a scare at the other end as Andrew Walsh lost his footing when he was clearing a back pass before recovering excellently to make a fine save and ensuring the 1st clean sheet of the season.
This was a vital 3 points on what was a difficult pitch against a team fighting for survival. The winensures Athenry keep in touch with the leaders as they look forward to next weekend and the clash with NUIG.
SENIOR A HIT LEAGUE LEADERS FOR SIX
Athenry 6-1 Corrib Rangers
x1 fahy, x2 carrigg, x1 o'donnell, x1 o'halloran, x1 o'conghaile
Athenry got their league campaign up and running in no uncertain terms this morning with a comprehensive victory over the current league leaders Corrib Rangers. In what has been a tough start to the campaign Athenry today laid down a marker to the other sides who have ideas on claiming the title. In a frantic opening Athenry could have fallen behind early but for the alertness of goalkeeper Andrew Walsh who came to the home sides rescue with a brave save to deny Rangers early on. (He later brilliantly saved a penalty with the score at 3-1). Corrib Rangers did go ahead when a long ball direct from their keeper beat the home defence and was tucked away neatly to put the away side deservedly ahead. Athenry responded well to going behind and were back on level terms within 2 minutes when Cathal Fahy got on the end of a good cross after good work from Gary Forde and Paddy Quinn. The home side then went ahead when Brian Carrigg neatly tucked away what was his first goal for the club. Athenry doubled their lead close to half time when that man again Brian Carrigg reacted quickest in the box to turn and shoot after the Corrib Rangers keeper had failed to collect a cross.
Athenry went in 3-1 up at the break and soon after the restart went further ahead when they broke quickly and Cathal Fahy crossed for Jamie O'Driscoll who with one touch killed the ball then swivelled to shoot into the corner of the net for a sublime goal. At this stage Rangers were pushing forward and leaving gaps that Athenry were exploiting at will. Another Athenry break away saw the home side score their 5th. Dermot O'Halloran picked the ball up in his own half and raced forward with the ball at his feet. He looked up and with little else on he decided to have a shot at goal which sailed into the roof of the net for a goal worthy of any occasion.Athenry had at this stage had emptied the bench with Dan Cunningham, Gary O'Donnell and Seamie Crowe coming on to ensure there was no let up in pressure on the Rangers rearguard.
Athenry finally got their 6th and final goal of the game through Tony O'Conghaile. They had passed up a few earlier efforts before Tony got to the end of a beautifully struck free kick from Paddy Quinn to hit a first time shot to the back of the net. This was an all round great team performance and showed those that were there the quality and work rate that this squad of players are capable of. Athenry now need to build on this result and win their games in hand to bring them into contention comeChristmas.
MURPHY CAPS OFF SUBLIME PERFORMANCE WITH A BRACE
Athenry FC 3-1 Swinford
This was a game Athenry had to win following their loss to Galway Hibs on their last outing. Everyone around the team had been saying that they were playing well enough to win but the results had not been going their way thus far.The game in prospect was one against Swinford in the Connaught Shield. Athenry made the trek of around an hour and a half to this desolate spot in the heart of Mayo. There was an air of expectancy to be felt as the Athenry team strutted onto the pitch to warm up before the game. They knew their fortunes were soon to turn and why not today of all days. With both teams focused on the task in mind hoping to win this imperative cup game and progress to the next round we were set for quite an encounter.
The referee called over both captains for the toss and from this moment on the players expressions became stern and determined, both sides were eager to kick off this game. Swinford won the toss and chose to take tip. The game kicked off with both sides probing and prodding, attemping to find a weakness in their opponents armour. The opening encounters were cagey, for this reason neither team were able to retain any significant possession of the ball. Swinford were the first team to mount any kind of attack, the ball easily collected though by the Athenry goalie Sean Mooney on around 10 minutes. This seemed to awaken something inside both teams as they began to play some nice football there after. Athenry were finding some joy down the left side as Kieran Fox had the beating of his man all day long. From a seemingly passive attack Swinford won a corner, this corner should have been dealt with properly but a momentary lapse in concentration on behalf of the Athenry players resulted in Swinfords captain hammering the ball into the back of the net. 1-0 Swinford.
Athenry kept their heads up though knowing that the majority of this game was still to play, plenty of time to swing the momentum in their favour and this was the case as the first half progressed. Ryan Shaughnessy found more possession of the ball and began linking up well with Adam Murphy. Athenry launched another counter attack with the ball ending up on the left wing. Kieran Fox swung in a delicious ball which was headed just over by John McGough. This was a signal of better things to come. Adam and Ryan linked up well again and this time Adam shot just over the bar. With that the first half was upon us, Athenry ended the stronger of the teams but still a goal behind.
Spurred on by a late flurry of good play Athenry looked determined at the start of the second half. Their captain Kieran McCallion got his troops pumped up as they needed an impressive second half to overturn this deficit. And they started off in that fashion it has to be said. They piled on the early pressure and great solo work from Kieran down the left as he beat his man once again and fired a missile of a shot into the top corner. 1-1, game on!! Athenry had the bit between their teeth now and showed the type of football they were capable of. Swinford had very little of the ball in this phase of the game as Athenry looked by far the more threatening of the two teams. The ball came infield to Ryan once more who fed Adam Murphy who casually took the ball around the goalkeeper before dispatching into an empty net on the hour mark. 2-1 Athenry, finally their dominance was showing.
It was essential now that they not get complacent and finish off this game properly. They needed the likes of Aaron Flaherty and Cathal Moran to continue being sturdy at the back as they had been all game. Despite Athenry's best efforts Swinford looked like getting back in the game as it dawned on them the task which was now in front of them. They began to get their key players more in the game as their right winger was a tricky customer and showed this as he made an impressive run only to strike the post. Athenry had 15 minutes to hold out and needed to plumb the depths of their resevoirs to kill off this entertaining encounter. With Swinford looking dangerous it was essential that Athenry kept the ball at this stage when they had it.
They did this as Adam Murphy capped off a sublime performance as he received the ball just inside Swinford's half and powered past several defenders before cleverly lifting the ball over the helpless goalie. 3-1 Athenry. Surely this would be the final result and as it happened it was as the referee sounded the final whistle to joyous scenes from both players and everyone connected to this Athenry team. Quite an eventful but ultimately successful away day for Athenry it can be said.
REFEREE DOESN'T DO ATHENRY ANY FAVOURS IN DRAW
Athenry Senior B’s 1 - 1 Kinvara
Date: 15/11/14 Venue: Kinvara
Scorer: Joey Burke
Athenry Senior B Team
Goalkeeper: Niall Cannon
Defenders: Aidan Fahy, Damien Sweeney, Dermot Parker, Jamie Cronin
Midfielders: Daniel Bane, Colin Bane, Michael McNeilis, Conor Gavin, Barclay Healey
Strikers: Joey Burke
Subs: Martin Ward, Mark Lawless, Oliver Rabbitte, Subomi Etti
Athenry’s Senior B’s eighth league game of the season & a must win for the lads to carry over the momentum of their last win but with having a 3 week break it was a big ask. Again a great start by the lads as in their previous games playing flowing football, outplaying their opponents. Playing out from the back it was good to see the team playing the ball through the centre & down the wings with accurate passing. With some very early chances by Michael McNeilis & Joey Burke just wide of the goal, the goal the team had been pushing for finally came to the head of Joey Burke. With a great piece of play involving Michael McNeilis chancing down a ball down the wing & a floating ball into the box from Damien Sweeney saw Joey Burke rise above his marker & headed the ball into Kinvara’s net, one up for the lads.
After a positive team talk by their coach Roger Leggett the second half kicked off. Not long into this half Athenry were awarded several free kicks as the game became a little dirty with some heavy tackles from Kinvara. The ref didn’t seem to get control of them game as the tackles were coming in thick & fast by both teams now as Athenry were hard done by with some of the decisions that went against them. It wasn’t long until Kinvara equalised from a corner that they bundled into the Athenry goal by fouling Athenry’s young keeper but again the ref decided no foul & the goal stood. Unfortunately for Athenry it seemed as in other games I’ve watched that when the other team score their heads drop.
Roger Leggett decided to make changes to the team by taking off Daniel Bane swapping him for Mark Lawless. Athenry were pushing for the winner but this just didn’t come. Having to make two more changes due to injuries to Michael McNeilis (hamstring) & Jamie Cronin (ankle) Subomi Etti & Martin Ward came on. There was not enough time left for the 2 lads to make a real impact on the game. It should have been another win for Athenry for the performance of the team but as in previous games they let it slip.
ITS ALL WHYTE FOR ATHENRY GIRLS
ATHENRY 1-1 COLGA u16 Girls Galway League
Sunday 2nd November saw the start of the u16 girls league and the first game of the season for our girls took place in testing conditions and against a very experienced Colga side. The games 12 O'clock kick off was delayed to accommodate a bad passing shower leaving the ground heavy and slippy underfoot. Colga kicked off and it was clear that they were well schooled in play from the off and the Athenry girls had to work hard in defence but were most definitely up for the challenge. They worked well together and communication and support was strong throughout the team.
Goalkeeper Stephanie Quinn was on the ball and pulled off two amazing saves to keep Athenry in the game. The girls were making some good advances in attack and with 20 minutes gone a chance came for Lauren Whyte to penetrate the Colga defensive line and take a shot at goal, their goalkeeper got her finger tips to it and it rolled off her fingers and slowly over the goal line giving a 1-0 score line to an ecstatic Athenry side and a totally shocked Colga team. Tension mounted from the side line as Colga struggled with Athenry's super strong defence. Aishling Sheehan gave her player no room to use the wings to advance attacks for Colga with our girls enjoying the game and they came in at the half time whistle up a goal. It was great to see them start to believe in themselves. Anna McCoy who had an unbelievable game took a break at this stage and Leah Morrissey took her role.
The 2nd half showed a determined group of girls working hard to hold possession but 10 minutes into the half Colga got the equaliser. Relief was the emotion showed by Colga at this time but Athenry held their heads and stayed working hard at defending. Two more chances for both sides were denied by the great work of both keepers and the match ended in a 1-1 draw. To Colga pure frustration but to Athenry the first point on the board for this young side. For the management team for Athenry this match showed the bright future this team has. The u16 girls league will be a challenge for this young side but they are well used to hard work. Congratulations Girls a well hard earned point for Athenry AFC.
DEPLETED ATHENRY SHOW THEIR METTLE IN DRAW
Athenry 2 - 2 Corrib Celtic galway league
x1 Alan Harty
x1 Gary Forde
Athenry came from two goals down to rescue a deserved point against Corrib Celtic this morning in an entertaining encounter. It was a fixture that was only made last week resulting in half the squad being unavailable due to prearranged commitments. Athenry had only 13 players available today as the plea's to The Galway FA to re-arrange the game fell on deaf ears and Athenry were forced to fulfill the fixture.
Athenry started well and should have been 2 up within the first 15 minutes. Both chances fell to Declan Cullen, the first after good pressure from Athenry led to a Gary O'Donnell effort that was saved, the rebound falling to Declan Cullen but he shot over with the goal at his mercy. The second came after good work between Jamie O'Driscoll and Alan Harty led to Declan being put through again, he did well to hold off the defence but again shot over. Athenry were to pay for those misses shortly after when Corrib Celtic won the ball off Billy Lane and broke quickly to score and put the home side 1-0 up. Athenry pressed hard for the equaliser and created chances through Gary Forde and Damien Rooney but still went in 1-0 down at the break.
Worse was to follow early in the second half when Corrib Celtic doubled their lead from a throw in, the ball was headed on at the near post to the on rushing striker who hit it first time to score. Athenry proved they were up for a battle as they immediately put Corrib Celtic under increased pressure creating chance after chance. The comeback was on after a superb free kick from Alan Harty found the back of the net. Athenry continued to press and with 15 minutes left equalised when Anthony Conneelly sent Billy Lane away down the right who beat his man with ease and put in a delightful cross that was met by Gary Forde at the back post to bring the sides level. Athenry were unable to find a winner but will be happy with the spirit they showed coming from two down to rescue a point in a game where they saw the strength and depth of the squad tested to the limits.
BATTLE IN THE SWAMP
Athenry Senior B’s 2 - 1 Galway Bohs B's
Date: 25/10/14 Venue: The Swamp, Galway - Athenry Scorers: Sean O’Halloran, Conor Gavin
Athenry Senior B Team
Goalkeeper: Jason Ollernshaw
Defenders: Aidan Fahy, Kevin Culkin, Dermot Parker, Keith Doyle
Midfielders: Daniel Bane, Colin Bane, Neil Murphy, Damien Sweeney, Conor Gavin
Strikers: Sean O'Halloran
Subs: Niall Canon, Kieran McCallion, Martin Ward, Mark Lawless, Oliver Rabbitte, Michael McNeilis
Galway Bohs had lost home advantage due to some issues so the game was played at the SWAMP. Athenry Senior B’s seventh league game of the season & what a turn around on the pitch, Jason’s goal mouth had a 1ft hole in it approx 6ft from his goal line, with gale force conditions & the rain lashing down this was not the start the team wanted just before kickoff. I was looking forward to watching a good game with a team that were 2 positions above Athenry in the table, how wrong was I! At one point I thought I was at a Kung Fu competition with high flying tackles from Bohs in from all over the pitch, some well worth a sending into Helen & Max @ Soccer AM for next week’s show.
Athenry settled down well with the rain & gale force winds playing into their faces, strong accurate passing was an essential for the team due to the conditions knowing that a weak pass could fall to the opposition with the wind in their favour could leave Athenry chasing the game as the ball was flying around all over the place in the air, Jason has to be on his game this week. Like in previous weeks that I’ve watched there was some good football at times, with on a few occasions the odd bad pass or long ball over the top. It was very tough for the lads this week due to the conditions but as usual from nowhere Colin Bane teaming up with Damien Sweeney with a neat one two to assist Sean O’Halloran having had the only chance on goal with the Bohs keeper just beating him to it. Athenry’s only chance in the first half. A few yellow cards to both teams as things were getting a little heated out there but lucky enough half time couldn’t have came any quicker.
After the teams half time talk with Roger Leggett the lads were looking forward to getting out for the 2nd half now with the wind in their favour.Not to be disappointed an opportunity came along after Daniel Bane crossed the ball from the wing for their striker Sean O’Halloran who headed the ball into the back of the net to make it 1 up to Athenry. Athenry had the Bohs rattled as they started arguing amongst themselves giving Athenry an advantage in which they wasted no time adding another goal from once again Daniel Bane crossing the ball in from near the corner flag having taken another late tackle from Bohs players. This time the ball went into the back of the net from one of their up & coming younger players Conor Gavin who worked hard out on the wing all game. A well deserved reward for the youngster.
With Roger making the difficult decision each week of whom to substitute this week it was Neil Murphy & Keith Doyle substituted for Mark Lawless & Martin Ward. With fresh legs on the pitch the 2 lads worked hard for the last 20 minutes or so with Mark playing as an attacking midfield & Martin up front as a lone striker. Within no time at all Martin made a couple of chances which was very promising to see from him. With Mark taking a few heavy challenges from Bohs players (one of them taking him cleanly out with a very late tackle) you could see the team pushing for another goal. With Colin Bane having worked relentlessly again in the middle of the park this week a free was given against Athenry whilst Colin needed attention having taken a heavy tackle. The Bohs then pulled one back with only 7 minutes left of the game left but Athenry held out in a somewhat ill tempered game at times to win.
A well deserved victory from the lads, a hard battled game with more to come from the team before the end of the season. Only 3 games away from the top of the table lads keep it going we want promotion for 2015/2016.
FAHY FINDS FORM IN WINDSWEPT ABBEY
ST BERNARDS 2 -3 ATHENRY FC galway league
Athenry got their first league win of the season on Sunday morning after a hard fought but deserved 3-2 win over St Bernard's.
Athenry took the lead within the first minute when the first attack of the game led to a corner. Packie Byrne met the corner with a well won header that fell to Cathal Fahy who turned well to finish and put Athenry 1-0 ahead. On what was a very blustery morning, St Bernard's responded well and with the wind at their backs put the Athenry defence under pressure. They equalised with a goal direct from a free kick that beat the despairing dive of Andrew Walsh. The goal shook Athenry and it took them a few minutes to compose themselves but when they did they began to play the kind of football they are well capable of. Athenry deservedley re-took the lead when great work from Alan Harty set up Cathal Fahy, who crossed for Declan Cullen who tucked away a lovely finish to put Athenry 2-1 up. The half time whistle blew with Athenry well on top and disappointed not to have added to their lead.
The second half started with St Bernard's making a couple of changes and they equalised again with one of their first attacks when a ball crossed from the left was met by the sub that was introduced who finished well to level things up at 2-2. The second half continued with both sides giving as good as they got but Athenry looking the more composed and the ones more likely to find another goal. The fifth goal of the game and what proved to be the winner for Athenry came when Cathal Fahy met an excellently delivered Dermot O'Halloran free kick to head Athenry into the lead for the third time. Athenry lost both Jamie O Driscoll and Gary Forde to injury during the second half and with the introduction of Brian Murphy, Gary O'Donnell together wiith Conor Lally Athenry continued to press on looking for a fourth. Thankfully another goal wasn't required as the Athenry defence dealt with whatever threat St Bernard's posed and the game finished with Athenry gaining a valuable 3 points and their 1st win of the campaign.
Onwards and upwards..
Athenry Senior B’s 2 - 2 Colemanstown
Date: 18/10/14 Venue: Raheen Pitch Athenry
Scorers: Sean O’Halloran, Daniel Bane.
Athenry Senior B Team
Goalkeeper: Jason Ollernshaw
Defenders: Kevin Culkin, Kieran McCallion, Keith Doyle, Aidan Fahy.
Midfielders: Barclay Healey, Colin Bane, Daniel Bane.
Strikers: Kieran Barrett, Sean O'Halloran, Joe Burke.
Subs: Martin Ward, Diarmuid Flaherty, Conor Gavin, Mark Lawless, John McGough, Neil Murphy.
Match Report Kieran Barrett’s testimonial........
Athenry Senior B’s again had a great start as in their previous games that I’ve watched playing sharp passing football outplaying their opponents in key areas of the pitch. Playing from the back the team played the ball through the centre sometimes with accurate passing, balls were also being played down the wings sometimes with no-one there chasing towards the oppositions goal.
Athenry were very unlucky with an unfortunate back pass to their keeper that was underweighted allowing Colemanstown to take advantage burying the ball in the back of the net to take the lead.
Athenry then got one back from Sean O’Halloran, after Joey Burke missed out in front of goal 2 or 3 times with Colin Bane having a great chance, first saved by their goalkeeper only to put the rebound over the bar as it came back to him quickly. Athenry’s Captain Barclay shortly afterwards was substituted for Diarmuid Flaherty due to a pulled hamstring. A solid performance overall for half time.
Roger Leggett gave the half time team talk as the heavens opened as the 2nd half kicked off about 10 minutes late. Not long into this half you could see that both teams were trying to get the winning goal which fell to Colemanstown due to a defensive error for Kieran McCallion just outside their 18 yard box, 2-1 to Colemanstown and game on.
Athenry were awarded a free kick which Joey Burke stepped up to take with a well placed ball into the box but no-one was there to finish it as all around the 6 yard box was crowded.Substitute Diarmuid Flaherty had been playing with a knock on his ankle but couldn’t run it off and was then substituted himself for Neil Murphy in a defensive midfield role.
Eventually the goal came for Athenry that they had been chasing for a long time through Daniel Bane. Having picked the ball up with a direct pass into the oppositions half from Colin Bane & with what we all know he can do when in space a launching left foot shot 30 yards out fired the ball into the top left cornergiving Colemanstown's keeper no chance of stopping it.
Manager Leggett decided to make changes looking for the 3 points with 10 minutes left of the 2nd half by substituting Kieran Barrett for John McGough. Kieran having a very good final game running his little legs off for Athenry B’s.
Both teams chased for the winner but overall I think 2-2 draw was a fair result, as Athenry just couldn’t finish their chances.An enjoyable game with Athenry playing some attractive football on the floor, the long ball over the top doesn’t work for them!
Good luck Kieran from all the senior B team.
AWAY DAY CUP HEARTACHE FOR ATHENRY U18'S
GALWAY HIBERNIANS A 3-2 ATHENRY A Connacht Cup u18
x1 Kieran Fox
Defenders-Cathal Moran/Darragh Bergin/Kieran McCallion/Eoghan Keane/Aaron Flaherty/Jack Leech
Midfielders-Sean Fitzsimmons/Ryan O’Shaughnessy/Patrick Briggs/John McGough/Colm Flynn
Forwards-Adam Murphy/John Ward/Kieran Fox/Sean Keogh
The grass was moist,the atmosphere tense and the 2 teams were ready. Both teams were on the pitch for the scheduled 11 o'clock kick off, ironing out any kinks to execute a flawless performance in this important cup tie. Athenry captain, Kieran McCallion won the toss and chose to kick off.The referee blew his whistle and the mind games were over as the real game began.
The opening minutes were cagey with neither side able to gain substantial possession of the ball. Hibs began to string a few passes together and had the first goal attempt in the 7th minute. From then, both sides settled down and found the required composure. With Aaron Flaherty leading from the back, the pendulum swung in Athenry’s favour. Athenry had a few half chances but the chance that broke the deadlock wasn’t far away.
Athenry were keeping possession well around the centre of the pitch when the ball came to Ryan O’Shaughnessy. With the vision we are accustomed to seeing from him, he pinged an inch perfect ball across the pitch.The ball was met with impeccable timing by John McGough who converted into an empty net. John collided with the keeper in the process and lay on the ground for a few moments with Athenry players looking on anxiously. Thankfully he was able to continue and he was pivotal again as Athenry extended their lead.
A perfect through ball down the right channel by Adam Murphy picked John out and he found the head of Kieran Fox who made it 2-0 with the last meaningful play of the first half.
The second half began much the same as the first with both sides feeling their way into the contest.For Athenry it was essential to maintain their high tempo and keep their 2 goal advantage but Hibs had a renewed hunger and the home fans were restless. The game opened up and both sides had chances. On the hour mark Athenry had a warning as a goalbound shot from a corner was deflected on to the post.Time was pressing but Hibs were progressively more dominant and with 10 minutes left a half-clearance from another corner fell to the Hibs forward who rifled the ball home.
The dying minutes were tense and Athenry were putting themselves under pressure as they failed to retain possession. In hindsight, they lacked the guile to take the ball into safe areas of the pitch. With 3 minutes left, Hibs were awarded another free in a dangerous area. A quality delivery allowed the tallest Hibs forward to power in a header at the back post. Athenry were visibly deflated as their 2 goal lead had evaporated before their eyes. Onwards and upwards, extra time was upon us and both teams had a point to prove.
Athenry had to find reserves of energy from somewhere. Disaster!! Another controversial refereeing decision resulted in a Hibs goal. Athenry didn’t roll over though and tried to find an equaliser.They created chances with Kieran McCallion’s “hand of god” goal rewarded with only a yellow card. This epitomised Athenry’s desperate attempts to salvage the game which came to nothing when the final whistle went. The end result was not a reflection on the game as a whole. Hibs were the winners today but on a different day the result could have gone the other way.
The signs are very promising for Athenry based on this performance and if they continue like this the results will follow.
WALSH DENIES CHAMPIONS AT MOANBAUN
ATHENRY 2-2 MERVUE UNITED galway senior premier division
Athenry drew 2-2 with Mervue on Saturday in their 3rd league game of the season. Despite starting confidently Athenry went behind when Mervue opened the scoring in the 1st half with a goal from a header at the back post after a cross into the box from Barry Moran. While both teams continued to play attractive football chances were at a premium for the remainder of the 1st half with defences on top.
Athenry lost Seamie Crowe to injury shortly before half time and he was replaced by Gary Forde. Forde drew Athenry level shortly after the break after Dermot O'Hallorans initial shot fell to Gary who scored from a wonderful strike from outside the box. Athenry were now on top and pushing for a second when Mervue broke well and scored their second despite a hint of offside.
Athenry responded well to going behind and continued to create chances with Gary Forde and Billy Lane going close before being awarded a penalty when Jamie O'Driscoll was tripped inside the box. Cathal Fahy stepped up and confidently scored to tie up the game at 2-2.
Both teams continued to push for a winner and Mervue were awarded a dubious penalty when Paddy Quinn was adjudged to have handled the ball with the game going into injury time. Barry Moran took the spot kick but justice was done as Andrew Walsh dived to his right to make a fantastic full length save.
The final chance of the game fell to Athenry and Declan Cullen. After good work from Willie Carr, Cathal Fahy crossed for Declan who rose above the defence but unfortunately he was unable to hit the target from 6 yards.
ATHENRY SUCCUMB DESPITE BARCLAYS PERFORMANCE
Athenry Senior B’s 2 - 4 Cregmore/Claregalway
Date: 20/09/14 Venue: Raheen Pitch Athenry
Scorers: Colin Bane, Submoi Etti
Athenry Senior B Team Line Up
Goalkeeper: Jason Ollernshaw
Defenders: Conor O'Grady, Niall Tomas, Aidan Fahy, Jamie Cronin
Midfielders: Barclay Healey, Diarmuid Flaherty, Colin Bane
Strikers: Daniel Bane, Sean O'Halloran, Joe Burke
Subs: Kieran Barrett, Alberto Cadiz, Stephen Callanan, Kevin Culkin, Subomi Etti, Kieran McCallion, Martin Ward
Athenry’s Senior B’s fourth league game of the season and again a great start by the lads as in their previous games playing flowing football, sharp passes and outplaying their opponents. Playing out from the back it was entertaining to see the team playing the ball through the centre & down the wings with accurate passing just missing out in front of goal 2 or 3 times. The only 2 chances their opponents had from set play were cleared of the line by Jamie Cronin. A solid performance overall as the whistle blows up for half time. After a team talk by their coach Roger Leggett the second half kicked off. Not long into this half Athenry were awarded a free kick just outside their opponent’s 18 yard box. Joey Burke stepped up with a well placed free kick, bang on target with plenty of power behind it causing their keeper trouble, which Colin Bane raced into the loose ball to bury it into the goal, Athenry 1 up.
Unfortunately for Athenry within the re-start 2 easy goals were scored by their opponents in quick succession, it seemed as if Athenry had switched off. The coach decided to make changes 10 minutes into the second half by 2 sub’s Sean O'Halloran & Jamie Cronin off &
Kevin Culkin & Subomi Etti on. These changes seemed to work for a while as Athenry were pressing their opponents back into their own half. With a cracking piece of play from Barclay Healey & Colin Bane rewarding Athenry with their equaliser with a tap in from Subomi Etti making the score line 2 all.Athenry’s captain Barclay Healey rallied the team for the winner but unfortunately an opposing fluke goal via a deflection from their opponents beat Athenry’s goalie only just into the top corner of Athenry goal.
Athenry seemed then to have their heads down after this for the last 10 minutes of the game which gave Cregmore/Claregalway the opportunity to score an easy fourth. A number of individual solid performances in goal, midfield & forward, the oldest player on the pitch Barclay Healey worked hard to win the ball back when he lost it & ran his socks off until the final whistle. Overall an enjoyable game, Athenry played some attractive football on the floor, the long ball over the top doesn’t seem to work for them. I'm sure a few more games under their belt & the winning streak will return to the Senior B’s.
Good luck for the rest of the season lads.
HOSPITALITY NOT EXTENDED TO PITCH
ST PETERS 3-1 ATHENRY (x1 O'Driscoll)
McCarthy Park Athlone (pre season friendly)
Athenry Seniors played St Peters of Athlone in an afternoon friendly at McCarthy Park on Sunday 10th August and despite a torrential downpour just before kick off the pitch was in ideal shape for the ensuing game.
With Athenry beginning the game with wing backs it was St Peters boasting a host of League of Ireland experience in their starting XI and management team who took the initiative and powered into a two nil lead with the extended pre season that the hosts have been undergoing bringing dividends as Athenry's defence came under increasing pressure as the game went on and St Peters fitness and physicality began to show.
Despite this Athenry hit back with an opportunistic goal from Jamie O'Driscoll to bring the deficit back to one and it was perhaps no wonder that the Athenry management team protested the St Peters next goal of the day in the first half as it looked a very easy offside to call as the referee incredulously pointed to the centre circle as the hosts went 3-1 up.
With an unchanged Athenry side going out for the second half it took a while for the visitors to find their feet as once again St Peters came forward with young Danny Campion of St Peters (ex SD Galway) almost capping off a mazy dribble with a superb goal that would have been applauded by both sides had it gone in.
With Paddy Quinn & Brian Murphy starting to make things happen on the pitch for Athenry in the last quarter of the game, the visitors began to exert their influence more and more as the game entered its latter stages and play more cohesively as a unit and create more chances before the referee blew the final whistle to end a game that will have given the Athenry management a few more pointers to how their season will progress.
Athenry perhaps wont face this quality of opposition week in week out in the Galway League but it was an excellent test for them and although it took a while for Athenry to get going in Paddy Quinn they have a player who never stops running, never stops imparting advice to players around him and never gives up on the pitch even when things are going against the team. We look forward to the next match.
Athenry Team- darragh murphy, packie byrne, damien rooney, dermot o'halloran, conor lally, brian murphy, ryan shaughnessy, seamie crowe, jamie o'driscoll, paddy quinn, declan cullen Subs- gary o'donnell, patric evason, martin ward, aidan fahy