Moanbaun, Athenry, Co Galway
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ATHENRY 3-1 GALWAY HIBERNIANS galway league
Athenry Senior 'A' brought down the curtain on their Galway premier league campaign with a well deserved and outstanding performance against second placed Galway Hibernians at Moanbaun on Thursday evening. The real pity is that a team that is finally finding some mojo to their latest performances have no more games to play!
From the very first minute a driving O'Donnell run at pace had Hibs scrambling to cover and an excellent Aidan Fahy cross on 10 minutes could have brought dividends if someone had connected with it. Then on 11 minutes with Athenry taking the initiative Paddy Quinn had a shot which was repulsed and Athenry attacked again this time the ball was put back into the box with Evason connecting and heading home in a crowded box to give the home side the lead on 13 minutes. And it got even better for the home side on 20 minutes when an ever confident Conor Lally found Declan Cullen with an exquisite pass who ran past the last line of the Hibs defence to finish with a sublime chip over the on rushing keeper to take Athenry 2 nil up to send the assembled crowd delirious! However this euphoria was shortlived as Hibs mounted a counter which resulted in Athenry giving away a penalty to Hibs which they scored to make it 2-1 sending keeper Murphy the wrong way in the process.
Quinn went close again when shooting wide on 25 minutes from another Athenry corner and Hibs had an excellent chance on the half hour but the forward could only skew his shot wide, the game was another good one for the spectator as the match developed with Ryan Shaugnessy having a terrific battling performance in central midfield and Kieran McCallion extremely effective at left back. Another corner for Athenry and Evason went close with a deflected header just wide then another lovely move with Lally taking his time to tee up his shot and it narrowly fizzing over the Hibs bar from some 25 yards out. It was relentless pressure with another attacking move just before half time which saw Evason receive the ball some 30 yards out and like Lally before him he balanced himself and hit a powerful drive which screamed into the net giving the Hibs keeper no chance at all to make it 3-1 and give Athenry the confidence to go again in the second half. It must be noted that for the entire first half with the digression of the penalty aside the back four of Aidan Fahy, Kineen, O'Halloran and McCallion had provided the firm foundation for the performance so far allowing the Athenry forwards and wingers to attack at will and with the ever maturing Shaughnessy like a terrier patrolling the centre and indeed bossing the visitors midfield it all looked good going into the turn around.
The second half kicked off with the two sides really going for it in attack and counter attack with the Hibs number nine going close again on 47 minutes and Shaughnessy of Athenry also just missing the target with a shot on 55 minutes, when Hibs did get in close Paddy Quinn cleared off the line and Declan Cullen was unfortunate not to get a penalty decision from the overly fussy official on 56 minutes when getting clipped in the opposition box while on another of his runs into space. With another 25 minutes remaining Athenry brought on top scorer Cathal Fahy which is an indication that Athenry seem to have uncovered a few gems this season through the necessity of blooding some players who may not have gotten their chance otherwise. On 72 minutes sub Fahy's free sailed over the bar from out wide and Hibs obliged by doing the same on 75 minutes as the game entered a quieter phase as both sides tried to save their energy for the final few minutes remaining. On 83 minutes a Gary O'Donnell chance flew just over and another sub John McGough had another chance on 85 minutes which went just wide with Dermot O'Halloran on another one of his forays forward shooting just over the bar which when your team is 3-1 up wastes a bit more time. The final few minutes saw Athenry keep possession and see out the game quite comfortabley to gain a decent win against a team that was itself having a strong push up the table in recent months.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, aidan fahy, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, kieran mccallion, patric evason, ryan shaughnessy, paddy quinn, conor lally, gary o'donnell, declan cullen Subs declan egan, mark lawless, cathal fahy, john mcgough, daragh bergin
LOUGHNANE PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF
ATHENRY 2-2 MERVUE UNITED galway league
Sometimes with the best will in the world you go into games with little or no expectation of getting a result and sometimes you just want to be competitive, it was with this latter thought in mind that most of the assembled fans approached the visit of Galway League champions Mervue United to Moanbaun. With the team set up to attack it was a bold move from the Athenry management to counter a free flowing Mervue side fresh from being crowned league winners.
With the game kicked off it was immediately apparent that this rejigged Mervue Utd side can play football and they were on the offensive straight away with an alert Darragh Murphy saving on 3 minutes and an excellent counter came on 6 minutes as Cathal Fahy laid the ball on to Lally who in turn found Quinn whose shot was saved well by the Mervue custodian, this really was end to end straight from the off with Athenry keeper Murphy tipping away another Mervue attack and with Lally going close on 11 minutes it was game on with yet another Murphy save on 13 minutes and a powerful drive from a Mervue forward which sailed over the bar. With Athenry now making maximum use of the width of the pitch Loughnane was having an altogether excellent game in midfield combining well with Evason who layed the ball into his path to get the return and set off over the half way line which was stopped by a despairing tackle from ex Athenry player Seamie Crowe to concede the free to set up another Athenry attack. Mervue knew they were in a game and their frustrations came to the fore as firstly a combination of a Murphy save and an O'Halloran clearance off the line was quickly followed by an Aidan Fahy defensive header flicked off his own Athenry bar and the follow up goal was clearly ruled offside much to the chagrin of the Mervue management.
Again the visitors attacked and should really have scored with the unfortunate Mervue striker shooting over from 10 yards and with an excellent flowing move which saw O'Halloran feeding the ball to Lally to Quinn who got his shot off on 33m the game was finely balanced and exciting for everyone watching. Then with just over 7 minutes to half time another Mervue attack saw a weighted ball into the box and as the Mervue striker went to follow up the incoming ball a push was spotted and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot with the resultant penalty taker sending Murphy the wrong way to give Mervue the lead going into half time.
Athenry came out for the second half with renewed gusto having matched the visitors so far and it was on 49 minutes with the ball being shielded by Crowe in the Mervue box that Loughnane took one 'bite' then a second and his third challenge managed to dispossess Crowe and he slotted home with a sliding challenge to enhance this young players growing reputation in recent games. With the scores now at parity Athenry kicked on again with Quinn going close with a shot across the goal on 58m and with an excellent run from substitute Shaugnessy almost latching onto a ball into the Mervue box it looked like Athenry may have a good day after all. With Quinn and Lally combining well up front it was an unfortunate set piece cheaply given away that proved the home sides undoing as Mervue took the lead 2-1 with a despairing Murphy trying to cover the free kick which in fairness was struck sweetly giving the young keeper little chance. On 75 minutes Murphy showed excellent reflex's when tipping over a good strike and launched another punt up field from his kick out, with the ball coming back almost immediately with Mervue attacking quickly the visitors got a corner and with the resultant corner cleared O'Halloran latched onto the ball and went on whats becoming a trademark 30 yard run with no Mervue player keeping up with him passing to Cathal Fahy as he ran into the oppositions penalty area and Athenry's top goalscorer slotted home amid wild celebrations from the home crowd. With the game not yet over both teams really went for it and much to Athenry's relief the post saved them on 83 minutes with the ball being cleared by a grateful defence. With the final whistle blown both teams congratulated each other on a great game of football with the technical ability on both sides clear to see, its this level of performance that Athenry showed earlier on in the season and seem to be regaining on the run in and with the new players giving a real strength in depth to the squad this correspondent is really looking forward to the last league game against Hibs on thursday.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, aidan fahy, ronan kineen, dermot o'halloran, kieran mccallion, patric evason, keith loughnane, paddy quinn, gary o'donnell, cathal fahy, conor lally, Subs- mark lawless, ryan shaughnessy, declan egan
THREE MINUTES OF MADNESS UNDO ATHENRY
ATHENRY 1-2 ST BERNARDS galway league
You can always give excuses for results of matches but Athenry should never have really lost this match with the sheer amount of possession they enjoyed especially in the second half were they really did lay siege to the St Bernards goal. With the match barely started Kieran McCallion hit the bar on 3 minutes and Declan Cullen shot wide straight after and this pressure endured until a breakaway down the centre of midfield saw a Bernards lobbed effort bypass the Athenry defence and fall into the net over Murphy's flailing arms. This setback was followed barely 2 minutes later as a clearly rocked Athenry failed to deal with another St Bernards strike which was hit through a crowded box and deflected of the unfortunate Evason to make it number two for the Abbeyknockmoy men. This galvanised Athenry who immediately went on the attack with Cullen heading over from an O'Donnell cross and culminated in Athenry getting a goal back with Cullen netting on 33 minutes to bring hope to the home side. With Athenry powering forward at every moment for the remainder of the half with their defence now standing firm it was St Bernards who were the happier side to see the half time whistle.
Second half and game on as Athenry attempted to get another goal with a Rooney inswinger flashing past the oppositions goal with no one getting on the end of it, followed by a Cullen strike which tantalisingly bounced just short of the line before being cleared to safety. On 60 minutes O'Donnell fired over the bar from sub Cathal Fahy's immaculate pass and Conor Lally's cross just eluded Mark Lawless and it continued in this vein with St Bernards packing their box, with yet another dangerous O'Donnell through ball to Lawless which ran just ahead of him only to be cleared once again. With Lally shooting wide on 77m and Dermot O'Halloran snuffing out a St Bernards counter attack with a powerful sliding challenge as the game progressed it was all Athenry. This was further emphasized with a mazy run by the aforementioned O'Halloran who went past one player then another, then another for good measure in his efforts to get a goal back. As the final minutes ticked down another shot was well held by the St Bernards keeper and the referee called time with no injury time played despite endless time wasting by the St Bernards goalkeeper who seemed to take an age retrieving the ball from behind his net despite a couple of emergency overage ball boys rectifying the situation late on in the game!
What to take from the game? Well apart from the few minutes where the visitors scored Athenry were the better team both in terms of possession and territory but this has been seen before even in the professional game where these stats dont mean you will win the game, you really need to get shots on target and get them in the onion bag!!! Athenry just didn't seem to be able to break down the St Bernards defence to put the keeper under enough pressure even though they were on top for the majority of the game. Another thing to note if your an Athenry supporter on a somewhat more positive note is that there are a lot of good young players that are vying for first team places and with players such as Murphy, O'Halloran & Evason (all under 20) with 50+ games between them this season and the likes of Shaugnessy & McCallion in the wings the real experience is being gained for next seasons push which from a personal viewpoint actually looks quite good if the nucleus of the team can be kept together.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, aidan fahy, ronan kineen, dermot o'halloran, patric evason, conor lally, gary o'donnell, kieran mccallion, damien rooney, john mcgough, declan cullen Subs declan egan, ryan shaughnessy, mark lawless, daragh bergin, cian burke
NUIG EDGE IT BUT ONLY JUST
ATHENRY 0-1 NUIG galway league
In a game that saw the unusual sight of both teams lining up on the pitch with no substitutes on a Champions League night it must be said that this game could so easily have offered Athenry the opportunity to get points to move up the table if they had a full complement to choose from.
With conditions good it was NUIG who came out of the blocks quicker and with a free kick going close they set out their intentions early on but as Athenry eased themselves into the game they became more of a threat despite their attacking edge being somewhat blunted by one of their forward line carrying a knock from a previous game. Conor Lally's thumping shot cannoned off the post from close in on 11 minutes which represented Athenry's first serious attack on goal after excellent approach play by O'Donnell and this was followed by a Paddy Quinn free which went wide on 18 minutes. Again NUIG came forward and Murphy made a good save on 26 minutes with NUIG blazing over the bar almost immediately from another attack when close in on 27 minutes when they looked certain to score. With Athenry's defence holding firm for now it was left to Declan Egan who made an excellent sliding challenge to win possession to thwart another attack but this was all undone by a moment of hesitation in the Athenry defence on 36 minutes with the resultant 'cleared' ball bobbling across the Athenry box only to be tapped into the goal by a grateful NUIG player who thought it was his birthday!
Into the second half and a disappointed Athenry attempted to get back into the game with Lally who was excelling in the centre of the park shooting from another O'Donnell pass and Quinn going close on 56 minutes, with O'Donnell going wide on 57 minutes this flurry of Athenry attacking looked like it may bring something from the game but with NUIG going close yet again it certainly looked lights out when the visitors got a penalty with another attack down the left followed by a brief altercation where yellow cards where shown to both sets of players involved in the penalty. With a well struck penalty towards the keepers bottom left of his goal it looked a goal all the way until a Murphy outstretched glove turned the ball away at the last minute to deny NUIG, an excellent save which was compounded by another excellent punch away in the 73rd minute as NUIG took the initiative once again with a clearly tiring Athenry but once again another attack was stopped as first Evason got a crunching tackle in then sent Lally on his way once more and then Kineen setting up another counter attack down the middle with a pass to a forward running Left Back Evason who passed to Lally only for the excellent NUIG keeper to save from the resultant shot from O'Donnell who once again was playing well.
With the light fading now it was all NUIG for the last 10 minutes as attack after attack was sent against the Athenry defence with Fahy being asked to do sterling work as they came down his flank again and when Athenry did attempt to break out they just couldn't keep it long enough in the last third due to tiredness and an clearly injured Declan Cullen who bravely battled on. As the game came to its final conclusion it must be noted that despite the sloppy goal conceded there really wasn't anything between these two teams on the night. Going forward Athenry were always going to struggle with the ever busy Mark Lawless having to do most of the running and Conor Lally was excellent in the middle of the park and special note must go to Declan Egan who showed technically what a good soccer player he is with some nice touches despite the physical nature of the game, but perhaps Darragh Murphy's penalty save was the defining moment of this game despite the goal conceded as it showed he is maturing as an excellent keeper for the future.
Athenry Team- darragh murphy, damien rooney, ronan kineen, aidan fahy, patric evason, conor lally, paddy quinn, declan egan, gary o'donnell, mark lawless, declan cullen
ATHENRY THROUGH IN FEISTY AFFAIR
ATHENRY 4-3 GALWAY HIBERNIANS michael byrne cup quarter final
A tense nervous game that saw Athenry go behind after only 11 seconds! Only to recover their poise and win with a Paddy Quinn goal in the final stages of the second half of extra time.
With conditions perfect for football this was always going to be a tense game with a Galway Hibernians side that has seen a significant improvement in results recently having beaten Athenry 3-1 in the league only a few weeks ago. With the game barely kicked off a lack of concentration by the home side saw Hibs go straight down the middle of the pitch through Athenry's last line of defence Darragh Murphy to slot home to give them the perfect start to this game. With this wake up call it took nine minutes for Athenry to get a Quinn header on target and with Hibs asking lots of questions on the pitch it took an organsational change on 20 minutes with both wingers swapped before Athenry really threatened the visitors goal albeit with immediate effect. With O'Donnell now wide on the right a Gary Forde run and cross was met perfectly by Cathal Fahy to slot home from just inside the box on 22 minutes to bring his tally into the 20's for the season. With the match really now becoming an end to end game a few Athenry chances came in quick succession with a Quinn long range shot sailing over the bar on 29 minutes to show that Athenry weren't afraid to shoot from range and with Darragh Murphy punching clear from a dangerous Hibs cross to send the ball upfield another Quinn shot was well saved by the Hibs keeper.
With O'Donnell shooting wide on 30 minutes another goal from either side could come at any moment and it was the home side who got that bit of luck as a quick Paddy Quinn pass to Fahy was converted as Fahy's drive went under the Hibs keeper who despite his protestations the ball had gone over the line to send Athenry 2-1 up. With the game going into injury time in the first half it was left to Athenry's custodian Murphy to deal with a succession of corners which he abley dealt with to see out the half.
The second half saw Hibs take the game to Athenry with a more physical approach and with the visitors now getting a major foothold in midfield Athenry were still able to attack with a few close efforts the game was evenly balanced and with a harsh free kick awarded against Athenry just outside their box, Hibs brought the game back to 2-2 with a floated free kick and a header on 57 minutes but just like last week a quick reply within a minute was reward for their never say die attitude. Straight from the kick off Athenry were awarded a free kick and a Forde free was flicked into the net by an excellent O'Donnell to take the lead again to 3-2. With the match once again seeing Hibs attacking and the referee finding difficulty to control the match it was former Athenry & ex Galway United player Ollie Keogh who was representing Hibs best chance of getting back into this game with two great runs only to be snuffed out by O'Halloran & Kineen. With fresh legs now on the pitch for Athenry the game ebbed and flowed now and again it was Keogh whose drive was saved by Murphy on 81 minutes and then with Murphy punching clear on 82 minutes the resultant punt back into the box saw Galway Hibs finish to equalize. With it looking like Hibs now in the driving seat to see off Athenry a late tackle saw the Hibs number 6 rightly sent off and Athenry saw out the half to get ready for extra time.
Extra time kicked off and a Forde cross on 92 minutes gave Lawless a chance to finish but it was blocked by a defender and with Hibs blazing over the bar from just outside the box the first half of extra time saw little in the way of football but more tough work for the referee. 2nd half extra time of another ten minutes began were the last half had finished with more tough challenges and chances by both sides wide or over, then with 4 minutes left before the dreaded penalties a Conor Lally pass through a crowded box saw Man Of The Match Quinn latch onto the ball to send Athenry into the semi final of the Michael Byrne Cup.
ATHENRY TEAM - darragh murphy, damien rooney, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, keith loughnane, gary o'donnell, cathal fahy, gary forde, gary o'donnell, conor lally, paddy quinn SUBS- declan cullen, mark lawless, john mcgough, patric evason, aidan fahy, declan egan, kieran mccallion
ATHENRY SENIOR 'A' WIN UGLY
EAST UNITED 2-3 ATHENRY galway premier league castle park
x1 FORDE, x1 LAWLESS, x1 O'DONNELL
Athenry played East United last Sunday at Castle Park and although missing a couple of starters a good spectacle of football was expected from the fans watching. With weather conditions perfect and the playing service in good condition it wasn't any surprise when Athenry found their feet quickly with Evason shooting wide on 2 minutes after good interplay from Cathal Fahy, Fahy then also spurned a good chance when receiving the ball from Forde but once again Athenry couldn't find the target. With the match barely 5 minutes old another decent passing move saw Cathal Fahy cross but Evason just couldn't get his head to it and with Paddy Quinn shooting wide from distance it looked odds on that Athenry would get on the scoreboard very soon, however with Athenry's initial ascendancy beginning to falter the first half began to frustrate those watching who saw lots of huff and puff but very little in the way of free flowing football other than the first 5 minutes. With too many passes over hit and too many shots wide from both sides the half came to a welcomed end with some stern talking from Athenry's management team.
Straight from the kick off East went on the attack almost breaking through but for good work from Kineen, another swift attack saw O'Donnell shoot wide when close in on 51 minutes followed by a near miss from Conor Lally. With substitute Mark Lawless coming on early in the half to shake things up a bit he was unfortunate to be flagged offside with a tap in when he looked onside and with Fahy then hitting the post it didn't look like Athenry's luck was in as they got more and more frustrated and this frustration was compounded on 65 minutes when East took the lead with a close range header from a corner that eluded the Athenry defence at the near post. Immediately from the restart a sweeping move saw a Gary Forde equalizer on 66 minutes and with Ronan Kineen holding things together at the back showing all of his experience from another East counter it was yet another annoying offside that had Athenry players and fans alike up in arms. An Athenry move began from Kineen in defence through Quinn and Fahy in midfield to find O'Donnell who was put through one on one with the East goal tender only for a very poor offside to be called by the referee yet again. This felt like a suckerpunch when East broke away yet again on 75 minutes to score with Darragh Murphy coming off his line to cut down the angle but being beaten by the East forward to score and on the balance of play probably a deserved goal. With the clock ticking down and Athenry's league campaign in danger of taking a turn for the worse it could have been much much worse if Murphy hadn't saved a sure goal on 78 minutes and it was his long punt from the resultant shot that had Lawless racing towards the home team's goal with East's defence split open by Murphy's long clearance to finish confidently to bring parity back at 2-2.
With the time running down and Athenry really needing the points to move up the table a last push in the few minutes remaining saw an excellent Gary O'Donnell run on 84 minutes bring dividends when he collected the ball and ran into the East United box shooting across the keeper to bring relief and wild celebrations from the Athenry faithful to go 3-2 up. With the game secure Athenry just needed to avoid any more breakaways to see out the game and despite a couple of nervy moments they ran out eventual winners. With East bottom of the league the visitors were very much expected to win, perhaps not easily as there are really no easy games in this division but more convincingly than they did. With East really going for it today you would hope they can give a few more performances like this and do Athenry a favour or two in the remainder of the season, Athenry however will have to raise their own game a lot if they want to finish the campaign off strongly which they are well capable of.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, aidan fahy, ronan kineen, dermot o'halloran, damien rooney, conor lally, paddy quinn, gary forde, patric evason, cathal fahy, gary o'donnell.Subs mark lawless, kieran mccallion, declan egan
A CLOSE RUN THING FOR ATHENRY
U13 DIVISION 2 CUP FINAL
ATHENRY 3-4 COIS FARRAIGE
Noel Coffeys side got off to the worst possible start by conceding a goal of the softest variety after only two mins, a defensive mix-up allowing the Cois Farraige striker to slot into an unguarded net. Considering this and the fact that Cois Farraige had beaten this team soundly in their league game you would have forgiven the lads if they had downed tools there and then. However they are made of sterner stuff and they carried the game to the opposition for the remainder of the first half. Eoin Lawless and Emmet Caulfield both had chances and the Cois Farraige keeper was kept busy with Athenry netminder Paul Fahy only involved as the half ended, saving well at his near post. If the first half start had been shaky the second half start was no better. Cois Farraige scored a classic breakaway goal after 5mins and scored another (rather soft) goal with their next attack and before Athenry had a chance to recover the Cois Faraige no 11 repeated his goal-on-the-fast-break trick and facing a 4-0 scoreline you would once again assume Athenry would fold. Again you would have been wrong. Adam Treanor capped a busy performance by scoring from close range and sub Hugh Courtney brought a good save from the keeper. From the resulting corner sub Conor Keane cleverly found the net so with only 4mins left in the game Athenry had halved the defecit. Cois Farraige continued to threaten on the break and Paul Fahy had to be brave to deny them. Deep into time added Hugh Courtney again netted from a Mike Rice corner and Cois Farraige were decidedly shaky. The final whistle saved them and both teams were applauded for a fine entertaining game.
This Athenry team (and manager) came away from this with a lot of credit. Cois Farraige won both the league and cup with what is effectively their first team, and congratulations to them. For Athenry to run them so close with their second team is no mean achievement so well done to all!
UNLUCKY ATHENRY SUCCUMB TO RENMORE BY ODD GOAL
U12 CONNACHT SHIELD SEMI FINAL
ATHENRY 1-2 RENMORE
Athenry hosted Renmore on Saturday in the u12 Connacht Shield semi-final and were decidedly unlucky not to at least bring the game to extra time. Both teams had passages of good football and this was an entertaining game of a high standard throughout. Neither team created a clear chance for the bulk of the opening half as the midfield and defenses were evenly matched. With 10 mins left in the half the Renmore winger then found himself in space just outside the 18yd box and he sent a powerful shot high into the net giving keeper Cormac Feeney no chance. Athenry committed more bodies forward and were rewarded just as the half ended when Dumebi Abili drew a good save from the Renmore keeper and Cathal Yaxley netted the rebound. Both teams introduced subs as the second half progressed and the tempo slackened somewhat. With about 12mins remaining Renmore scored a bizarre goal when a low cross along the endline came off the strikers toe and looped over Cormacs head and now Athenry had to chase the game all over again. This they did and Cathal almost equalised but John Grays cross was marginally too high and the Renmore keeper did well to keep out several Athenry shots from distance. Best for Renmore by far was Des Cuffe and this Paul Scholes look-alike is one to keep an eye on. This Athenry team did very well to get this far in this competition and it would be unfair to limit the names to those already mentioned.
Full panel: Alex Park, Conor Feeney, Cathal Yaxley, Mark Daly, James Cummins, Jack Burke, Eoin Lawless, Shay Hennessy, Ethan O'Grady, Martin O'Flaherty, Dumebi Abili, Conor Whelan, Conor Rabbitte, Matthew Brennan, Sean Forde, John Gray, James Duggan, Sean Byrne, Eoin Gavin, Harry Power, Adam Reilly and Bobby Martins.
FORDE HAT TRICK GIVES KINVARA THE BLUES michael byrne cup
ATHENRY 5 - 0 KINVARA
A win gained with a late Gary Forde treble had Athenry thinking it could be their year for silverware once again, whilst the result was never in doubt and with an expectation of a comfortable win they were made to battle in the second half especially to put this game to bed. As the season progresses it would appear that Athenry's mix of youth and experience in the team seems to be blending quite well.
As early as the first minute an Athenry break through down the middle into the box had the keepers outstretched fingertips turning away a Forde close range flick, with Cullen and Forde once again going close in the initial stages of the match it looked like a long day would be forthcoming for the visitors with further chances from Lally, Quinn and another from the ever lively Forde with only occasional Kinvara counter attacks. With Evason now marauding down the left wing it was his pinpoint cross that almost got the break through on 22 minutes as a Cullen header went close, and with a rare break down field Kinvara tested Darragh Murphy's resolve as he came out to punch away a cross to set Athenry on their way to another Athenry attack down the pitch. Kinvara were finding it difficult to cope with these as they began to look more and more desperate in their defending and it wasn't long before the first goal arrived. With Conor Lally beginning to get space on the right his superb cross was met by Evason for his first of the season who powered his header into the net to the left of the keepers despairing dive, shortly after Paddy Quinn had another drive just over the bar and with youngsters Darragh Murphy and Dermot O'Halloran imperious in defence it wasn't surprising when Declan Cullen got his just reward for all his running with the second goal of the match on 35 minutes and his second Athenry goal since his return from Craughwell United. The half ended with another Forde shot that the Kinvara keeper saved well to see the visitors going in only 2 nil down when a more emphatic scoreline wouldn't have flattered Athenry.
A quick change of kit due to a colour clash saw Athenry come out in their white change strip and they appeared to carry on where they left off with Patric Evason shooting on 50 minutes but Kinvara had other ideas and started to throw everything at Athenry to get back into the game, indeed if it wasn't for an excellent Murphy save on 51 minutes and some good defending from Damien Rooney then the deficit would have been reduced to just one. With another attack Evason turned defender heading out of danger and Kinvara threatened a fightback but once again Athenry weathered the initial storm with Aidan Fahy justifying his selection with excellent defensive work throwing his body into tackles and with Lally now having his best match for Athenry on the right wing he played in Fahy only for him to fire over the bar and with Athenry once again going on the offensive it wasn't a surprise when they gained a penalty on 77 minutes which Forde dispensed into his right hand side of the net to end the contest and to give Athenry a breather, but only for a brief moment as once again Lally's incisive pass to Cathal Fahy forced a superb save from the visitors keeper on 82 minutes and it wasn't long before another corner from Paddy Quinn saw Gary Forde head the ball unhindered into the net for a 4 nil unassailable lead and this was topped off with a free flowing move when substitute Keith Loughnane split Kinvara's last vestiges of a defence to set up Cathal Fahy again who this time played in Forde to complete his hat trick to see out the game. A game effort from Division 2's Kinvara but ultimately Athenry's extra 'know how' saw this game won at a bit of a canter, the two wingers Evason & Lally had particularly good games with Evason getting his just reward with his seasons first goal despite coming close all season and special mention to Lally who seemed to grow as the game went on for undoubtedly his best game of the season in Athenry colours (whichever they were on the day!). The match ball though must go to Forde who was excellent all game and the goals were just the icing on the cake for his all round performance today!!
Athenry team- darragh murphy, damien rooney, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, aidan fahy, patric evason, cathal fahy, gary forde, conor lally, declan cullen, paddy quinn. Subs mark lawless, keith loughnane, kieran mccallion, declan egan, john mcgough
ATHENRY GO TO UNI TO DRAW WITH STUDENTS
NUIG 1-1 ATHENRY
Athenry went to Dangan, NUIG'S sports complex to play the FAI Junior Cup Quarter Finalists in this Galway league fixture. After suffering a series of losses it really was time for Athenry to get their season back on track with a decent result and performance away from home. Facing a team with no less than six Collingwood Cup Universities players Athenry would have to be at their very best to compete with this team and compete they certainly did. After a somewhat slow start for Athenry in the first half it took a few organisational changes during the break to get the team matching their early season form and they really were very unlucky not to win this one on the number of chances and possession they had.
In the first half NUIG came out invigorated by their current FAI Junior Cup run and really brought the game to Athenry in the initial stages with a couple of Darragh Murphy saves early on in the half, the second save in the 14th minute was of particular note as a game saver. Not that it was all one way traffic with Declan Cullen following this up with a swift counter attack with Fahy feeding him on 16 minutes only for his shot to go wide and Gary Forde had a deflected shot in the 30th minute that could have brought more. With the home side shooting narrowly over the bar shortly afterwards they went ahead in the 33rd minute with a fortuitous goal that was initially blocked in the penalty area but then fell to an NUIG player who shot into the net from close in. Athenry responded with a flurry of activity towards the end of the half with an incisive Lally pass that cut through the oppositions defence with the Athenry forwards only narrowly failing to connect. Encouraging words at half time and an organisational change with Paddy Quinn swapping with Patric Evason on the left.
The second half began with the visitors this time going on the front foot and forcing NUIG to take a more defensive posture as the experience of Gary Forde, Cathal Fahy and Paddy Quinn in a reinforced midfield began to tell, this was momentarily halted as a dog held up the play on the pitch much to the amusement of the referee and the crowd. With play resumed sub Keith Loughnane once again showed his growing stature with the more game time he gets as his delivery from the right was met by a Cullen header just over the bar, again NUIG responded on the break with a header this time just wide. Then a moment of beauty on 78 minutes, which was coming for a while as another Athenry attack was repulsed only for an ever industrious Gary O'Donnell to hit a low drive from distance which flew through a crowded penalty area to fly into the net with the goalkeeper non the wiser! With more than 10 minutes left Athenry really went for the win with another Cathal Fahy mazy run nearly bringing a goal scoring opportunity and another Gary O'Donnell drive flying wide after more excellent play by Paddy Quinn holding the ball up front and bringing other team mates into play. With custodian Darragh Murphy making another fine save at the back and Aidan Fahy vocally marshalling the defence providing Athenry with the confidence to go forward it was disappointing when the referee called proceedings to a halt with the final whistle, when the game had promised more. What Athenry must take from this game is that today they played an in form team away from home and when they got going they looked like the better team for much of the game, if they can take this form into their remaining matches then a strong league finish should be forthcoming and a decent League cup run will ensue starting with the Micheal Byrne League Cup game at the weekend against Kinvara.
Athenry Team- darragh murphy, paddy quinn, dermot o'halloran, damien rooney, aidan fahy, patric evason, gary forde, cathal fahy, conor lally, declan cullen, gary o'donnell. Subs - keith loughnane, mark lawless, colm kilkelly.
U13'S DO US PROUD
ATHENRY 1-3 MOUNT MERRION
x1 Brandon Lee
The Athenry u13 team played Mount Merrion from Dublin in the last 32 of the Sfai Cup on Sunday in Moanbaun. The day was slightly overcast but was about to become very bright indeed for the large crowd present. The game itself started at a million miles an hour and never let up until the final whistle.
Both teams tore into each other initially trying to get the upper hand. Merrion had a couple of early chances with their forwards looking very dangerous. Shane Quirke in goals for Athenry stood firm, getting down low to push away and then gather the ball with great assurance.His strong presence and calmness quickly began to infect his fellow players and Athenry started to cope with everything that Merrion had to offer. The Athenry back four of Flaherty, Treacy, Donohue and Lawless caught their breath, steadied their heads and began to build the attacks from strong defence. Upfront Athenry started to threaten the Merrion back four with real menace in the form of Brandon Lee. In fairness Brandon looked dangerous every time the ball went near him. He has real pace and presence and he terrorised the Merrion back four with the able assistance of Oisin Smith, Alan Haverty and Jack Maguire. In midfield with Patrick Rabbitte and John Regan beginning to get a hold of the ball, Athenry had a few good chances to go ahead in the first half. As it was, the first half finished honours even.
Again the second half began as the first had finished. Players throwing themselves into tackles, coaches shouting encouragement and the crowds becoming ever more anxious.Before we knew it Merrion went ahead with a well worked goal. The Athenry lads had two choices and they took the one that made us proud. The Athenry management decided to go three at the back and to push an extra player into midfield. The results were almost immediate.The pressure told with an Athenry player being taken down half way between the penalty box and the centre circle. The ball was handed to Brandon. Next thing BANG! I don't believe that any goalie senior or junior would have saved it. It was just something to behold! 1-1 game on. Athenry put all the pressure on Merrion. Chances came from a number of Athenry corners with Patrick and Dean very unlucky not to score. Brian O'Cuirnin came on and narrowly missed with a header, but that was as good as it got.
Merrion got a soft free at halfway and with speed of thought got the ball into Athenry's box to score. They quickly followed that with a super goal from their left winger, who curled the ball with precision into the bottom right corner of the Athenry goal past Quirke. Athenry made a couple of changes with Michael Colman and Adam Treanor coming on. They played the rest of the game with all the pride and passion that they could muster. They created a couple of chances but it just wasn't to be this time around. The game finished with a huge round of applause from all the spectators that were lucky enough to be present.Gerry Treacy and John Donohue have a team that are a credit to them and our club. Merrion we're deserving winners on the day but our day will come.
(by The reluctant linesman)
YOU DONT WIN ANYTHING WITH KIDS,OR SO THEY SAY!
ATHENRY 'A' 1-4 ST PATRICKS
Last week it was a case of a very much changed team for Athenry Senior A squad but this week was a tale of a very much depleted team that took to the pitch against St Patricks with no less than 5 first team starters missing due to work and other commitments. That is not to make excuses for the result but to be missing that many players and to have a bench consisting of only three U17 players is a telling statistic that hopefully will be addressed next match out.
With Athenry setting out a very much attacking line up with an energetic Mark Lawless getting a rare start and an ever improving Declan Cullen to the fore it was Athenry who drew first blood with Mark Lawless running onto a through ball on 18 minutes and hitting a shot which looped of the visitors diving keeper to roll into the net. This was followed up with another good run by Lawless after being released by Lally this time to the left but good defending managed to snuff out this attack, with Athenry trying to adjust to the badly cut up pitch it was no surprise when another good move with Evason and Cathal Fahy combining well set up Cullen for another shot which went just wide this coupled with Darragh Murphy pulling off an excellent save on 30 minutes had Athenry in the driving seat and despite 2 awful offside decisions against Athenry when Athenry forwards would have been clean through it looked like Athenry would go on and add to their tally, but they were hit with a sucker punch on 43 minutes when a needless free kick just outside the box gave St Patricks a shot which cannoned off the bar and hit Murphy on his back to rebound into the net for an unfortunate own goal. Half time and despite having the best of it Athenry found themselves on parity with their visitors.
The half kicked off with St Patricks seeming to gather momentum who just seemed to be coping better with the pitch, with Athenry's midfielders Fahy & Quinn finding it difficult to play their usual passing game St Patricks hit the front and despite Athenry upping their game and going on the offensive once again they were hit with a third goal shortly afterwards, with the bench utilised fully a late rally saw Evasons speculative drive hitting the post in the 80th minute and a Lawless header cleared of the line in the 84th minute but ultimately the half limped to its inevitable conclusion with another goal conceded and a defeat.
Conclusions? Well what can you say, firstly its impossible to be missing so many of your first team starters for a match such as this to be competitive and sheer bad luck certainly played a massive part with St Patricks equalizing goal, a couple of very harsh referee called offsides and a blessed St Patricks goal, secondly the pitch has not coped well with the weather and really was a hinderance for the home side despite the argument that its the same for both teams and finally the three U17 subs who were introduced during the second half all showed they can certainly play football, really good football, which leads us to the final conclusion that Athenry do have strength coming through belieing the rather frivolous headline on this match report! And just proves the old adage that if your good enough to step up then age should not represent a hindrance to a players development. Roll on the next match please.....
Athenry Team- darragh murphy, patric evason, damien rooney, colm kilkelly, aidan fahy, paddy quinn, conor lally, cathal fahy, keith loughnane, declan cullen, mark lawless, subs- kieran mccallion, john mcgough, conor moran.
ATHENRY LOSE ON THE PLASTIC
GALWAY HIBS 3-1 ATHENRY SENIOR 'A' galway league
A much changed Athenry side took to Mervue's marvellous All Weather pitch on Sunday 2nd March, playing against an experienced Galway Hibernians team in perfect weather for football. An good start was vital and with the game barely 3 minutes old a Gary O'Donnell shot went rasping past the near post indeed it was the same player whose promising run inside 10 minutes after good work by Gary Forde should have brought more than the Hibs keeper just gathering the ball. Athenry now clearly getting a foothold in the game despite a couple of Hibs shots and some under pressure crosses abley collected by Darragh Murphy were taking the game to their opponents with a Cathal Fahy shot that the Hibs keeper did well to hold and with Patric Evason and Conor Lally working well on the left supporting forward play with a couple of incisive passes Declan Cullen was becoming a more active threat when his header thundered off the home teams crossbar after an excellent Lally cross only to see the rebound gathered safely by the Hibs keeper. The game rushed through to half time with missed chances from both sides with keeper Murphy blocking out another near post shot for a corner.
Encouraging words from the Athenry management at half time had an almost immediate effect at the turn around with a well worked goal coming on 48 minutes with Declan Cullen connecting with a pin point cross and burying his low drive into the far corner from distance. With Athenry pushing forward in search of another to stretch their lead a misplaced pass allowed Hibs to clear their lines to launch a long drive down the wing and another pass had the Athenry defence at sixes and sevens with the Galway Hibs forward powering his way through to finish neatly. The goal seemed to lift Hibs and deflate the young Athenry side who knew they were now in a game and this was confirmed when yet again another long ball over the top caught out the Athenry defence midway through the half once again and Athenry's lead had turned into a deficit with two bad goals conceded. Trying to get back into the game Athenry battled valiantly to break down the Hibs defence with Fahy and Forde pushing forward at all times but despite repeated attacks with all three subs Mark lawless, Jamie O'Driscoll and Paddy Quinn introduced at various stages of the half to bolster the team another break away was Athenry's undoing and ex Athenry player Ollie Keogh finished the game off in the last minutes of the match to put a gloss on the scoreline. Football can indeed be a cruel game especially when you know you have had the chances to put the game to bed early doors! Although the emphatic scoreline it should be noted that their were no less than 5 players 19 years of age and below in Athenry's starting line up and Keith Loughnanes performance despite being curtailed by injury was worthy of special note and shows that the younger players are certainly coming through and they are getting valuable experience as the season progresses.
Athenry Team- darragh murphy, damien rooney, packie, dermot o'halloran, patric evason, conor lally, cathal fahy, gary forde, keith loughnane, declan cullen, gary o'donnell SUBS- paddy quinn, jamie o'driscoll, colm kilkelly, aidan fahy, mark lawless
CONNACHT CUP HOPES ENDED BY LOCAL RIVALS
ATHENRY 1-3 COLEMANSTOWN UNITED connacht cup 4th round
Athenry will look back at this re-arranged 4th Round Connacht Cup game with huge disappointment as their dreams of Connacht Cup glory were extinguished for this season, in a match were they never really got going they must turn their attention to defending their Micheal Byrne League Cup title instead perhaps their best chance of silverware for this season.
With weather conditions looking a bit more settled at the kick off it was telling that Athenry's first real major threat didn't materialise until the 26th minute with O'Driscoll firing wide after good work down the middle of the park from the home team and this was quickly followed up with Brian Murphy shooting over the bar in the 27th. With Paddy Quinn getting forward regularly from his left back spot it was no surprise when he had a decent shot charged down in the box in the 35th minute with appeals for hand ball turned down by the referee, the best move of the half saw a precision pass from Mark Lawless cutting open the away teams defence through to Conor Lally who could only watch as the ball ran out of play. Despite extended periods of possession from the kick off Athenry found themselves reduced to a lot of half chances with Colemanstown content to hit the home team on the break and with the pich cutting up fairly badly due to continued rainfall you could sense from the growing number of spectators that the second half was going to be a much more fraught affair if Athenry didn't get on the scoresheet shortly.
Two minutes into the second half saw Lawless miss a chance from close in and ten minutes into the half a couple of substitutions with O'Donnell & McDonagh coming on to bolster the attacking options for Athenry. Within a minute of being introduced O'Donnell skipped down the right wing battling past 3 Colemanstown defenders to cross for McDonagh who unfortunately couldn't get his shot off. With Colemanstown now growing into the game and becoming more of a threat as the game progressed it was a breakaway which saw the visitors take the lead on 60 minutes to go one nil up with Athenry pushing forward and a mix up in the Athenry defence, this seemed to spark Athenry back into life with Forde putting through an ever busy Fahy for a long range shot in the 68th minute and another peach of a shot in the 70th which saw him claim his 19th goal of the season after his shot flew through a crowded box, however this parity was short lived as another good Colemanstown passing move saw a cross into the box elude the Athenry defence and a superb header flew past a despairing Darragh Murphy who only managed to get half a glove on it for the men in white to go in front once again. Athenry came forward again with renewed vigour with Fahy firing over and Quinn shooting wide after going up front and Athenry switching to three at the back and with another late substitution all Athenry's cards had been dealt but all to no avail as another break away from Colemanstown saw a through ball bypass the Athenry defence and their striker was taken down in the box to give away a stonewall penalty which was duly converted in the dying seconds of the match. Athenry will look forward to their next game with relish to put this result to bed and get back on track for this season.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, paddy quinn, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, damien rooney, conor lally, cathal fahy, gary forde, jamie o'driscoll, brian murphy, mark lawless.
subs - keith loughnane, aidan fahy, brian mcdonagh, packie, gary o'donnell, patric evason, colm kilkelly, mike fahy
KEEPERS HEROICS KEEP ATHENRY ON TRACK
TUAM CELTIC 1-1 a.e.t ATHENRY (C.Fahy x1)
Athenry win on penalties 3-2
Athenry Senior A went to Celtic Park with the aim of defending the Michael Byrne Cup, a game were they often found themselves under pressure from a home team who took the game to the visitors from the first minute. Athenry introduced two new signings in Conor Lally and a returning Declan Cullen into this cup tie for their season debut's with a heavy pitch and sporadic rain not helping the flow of the game.
As early as the 3rd minute a Tuam free kick smothered by Darragh Murphy set the pattern of play with Tuam settling early doors with a succession of corners, the first the Athenry keeper was able to parry and the resultant next corner was shot wide by Tuam, this Tuam pressure was broken up when Athenry forward Cullen was put through only to shoot over the bar close in. Another dangerous Tuam attack and another cross was headed over in the 13th minute and in the 18th minute Athenry responded with a Brian Murphy shot which was dragged just wide, quickly followed up by a Cathal Fahy run which saw him flagged offside somewhat fortuitously for the home team.
Just when it looked like Athenry had withstood the early pressure they were hit down the middle with a through ball and the Tuam forward was able to flick the ball past Athenry's defence and hit it on the volley to give the home team the lead on 21 minutes. Athenry tried to respond immediately with Paddy Quinn winning a free outside the Tuam box only for Forde to shoot wide from the resultant freekick with another Fahy free also going wide on 24 minutes. On 28 minutes Tuam made a another good run on the left wing and their striker was only able to scuff his shot, again under pressure Darragh Murphy made a superb save when one on one with the same striker to stop Tuam stretching their lead, the game continued to half time with Tuam in the ascendancy with Athenry trying to get a foothold in the game.
No changes at half time and Athenry began to become a more attacking threat going forward after a formation change with Brian Murphy crossing in the 47th minute only for Cullen to get a shot off which the keeper had covered, Dermot O'Halloran also unleashed a long range shot from distance to put pressure on the Tuam goal. Another couple of Tuam attacks with an ever busy Dermot O'Halloran and Ronan Kineen working hard fire fighting at the back and Athenry then replaced Cullen with Keith Loughnane going on up front. On 70 minutes an excellent Fahy run ended with him getting a free just outside the box and he put his shot just wide. Then on 78 minutes the equaliser came as a result of the best pattern of play all afternoon from Athenry when Brian Murphy collected the ball and threaded a pass to Loughnane who quickly played it to Fahy who ran through a busy Tuam penalty box to bury the ball to the keepers right to get them back into the game.
Tuam again retaliated and in the 84th minute a sweeping home attack saw another excellent one on one shot stopped by the Athenry net minder Murphy this time getting an outstretched leg to snuff out the attack. On 85 minutes a swift counter attack had calls for handball from Athenry ringing around the ground when Fahys effort was blocked on the near post by a Tuam defender and the game went into extra time which after another 20 minutes couldn't seperate the teams despite a couple more chances from each side. So into the dreaded penalty shoot out which saw Athenry outscore Tuam 3 goals to 2 with an excellent Darragh Murphy showing a cool head who saved Tuams second and third penalties to end the game as a contest and put them through to the third round. Perhaps not at their best today and its never easy to play Tuam anytime especially at Celtic Park but this was their first game after the Christmas shutdown and Athenry can only improve as they find their rythm again as the season gets underway again.
ATHENRY TEAM- DARRAGH MURPHY, DAMIEN ROONEY, DERMOT O'HALLORAN, RONAN KINEEN, PADDY QUINN, CONOR LALLY, BRIAN MURPHY, CATHAL FAHY, JAMIE O'DRISCOLL, GARY FORDE, DECLAN CULLEN.
SUBS- PATRIC EVASON, AIDAN FAHY, KEITH LOUGHNANE, COLM KILKELLY, MARK LAWLESS, MIKE FAHY.
FAHY BLITZ'S SAINTS AS O'HALLORAN SHINES
ST JOHNS ATHLETIC 2 - 8 ATHENRY
(C.FAHY x4, FORDE x2, M.FAHY, B.MURPHY)
CONNACHT CUP 3RD ROUND, LECARROW, ROSCOMMON
This was a rather one sided affair but it gave Athenry a welcome boost as they go into the holiday period for a well deserved break. Despite the weather conditions the St Johns pitch was in very good condition and the Roscommon club should be congratulated who were very welcoming to the Galway visitors who played in their change strip of black & green stripes today. Athenry went into the game looking to bounce back from the last couple of weeks disappointments and began the game with a young side who seem to be growing in confidence and stature as the season goes on.
It wasn't long before a lively Mark Lawless unleashed a shot on 10 minutes which the keeper did well and collected in the slippery conditions, then straight after the goalkeeper cleared Patric Evason given the freedom of the left wing put in an inswinger after being fed by O'Driscoll which flew narrowly past the goal with no one able to connect. On 12 minutes Brian Murphy flashed a header at goal after an excellent Cathal Fahy cross and this gave the team the impetus and drive to attack the St Johns goal at will with the marauding Cathal Fahy almost through on 14 minutes only being stopped by a robust challenge by the home goalkeeper. A long floating ball this time from O'Halloran in defence was smartly taken down and controlled by Lawless only to find himself crowded out when about to run at the defence. Then the early breakthrough on 16 minutes came when Cathal Fahy unleashed a shot from just outside the box leaving the keeper wrong footed to make it one nil to the visitors. Straight from the kick off and no let up for St Johns as Lawless collected a loose ball and fired another good effort at the keeper, with Patric Evason growing in confidence on the left he slipped a ball through the legs of a St Johns defender and crossed for Murphy only to find the keeper in good form once again. The game continued with good passing and movement from Athenry with striker Fahy having a couple of decent strikes before finally collecting yet another Evason cross which the keeper fumbled and it fell kindly for Fahy to finish with aplomb from 15 yards on 28 minutes to make it 2 nil no more than the visitors deserved for all their possession.
When St Johns did break Dermot O'Halloran was supreme in defence not only thwarting the home teams efforts but setting up Forde and O'Driscoll who were dominating the midfield, it really looks like Athenry have found a gem in this young defender. Another sweeping move saw an Evason long pass collected by Fahy who set up Murphy for yet another shot. On 32 minutes Mike Fahy found himself put through into the oppositions penalty box after another sweeping move from defence to attack and slotted home much to the delight of the Athenry bench to get Athenry's third. With Athenry now totally in the ascendancy with the two wingers getting shots off on target it wasn't surprising when a through ball was dummied by Lawless wrong footing the St Johns defence for striker Fahy to collect his hat trick on 43 minutes and Athenry's 4th in the half. The game continued with Gary Forde once again finding Murphy who was unlucky to be flagged offside when through on goal. Half time came with Colm Kilkelly replacing Mike Fahy and buoyed by the scoreline Athenry set about their business with the goal of the game coming on 49 minutes when a sweeping move saw a Brian Murphy pass across the park for Evason to slip the ball to Forde who fired home emphatically to get his deserved goal to make it 5 goals without reply. Then against the run of play a rare break away from the lively St Johns number 13 Substitute saw a cross come shot sail over a watching and under utilised Darragh Murphy straight into the net to an incredulous Athenry bench. With the goal coming against the run of play Athenry stepped it up once again and on 58 minutes Cathal Fahy was taken down in the box on another of his incisive runs and Murphy got his goal from the spot to make it 6-1, shortly followed in the 63rd minute by another when Evason won a free just outside the box with Fahy hitting the resultant trademark freekick on target to make the wall redundant once again not for the first time this season for 7-1. Not that it was all one way traffic with Athenry keeper Murphy blocking strong shots in the 67th and 69th minutes and Aidan Fahy showing all his experience in subduing the physical St Johns forward he found himself up against constantly. On 75 minutes winger Murphy passed to Forde who hit a 30 yard screamer to get his second of this rather one sided Connacht cup match to make it 8-1.
Not that it was all Athenry as a rare break from the home side on 81 minutes and as the Athenry backline waited for a flag for a blatant offside which never came St Johns got another to make it 8-2. With the pressure building on the home side it was surprising that Athenry didn't score more as another succession of chances came Athenry's way in the last few minutes with another Evason cross flying across the box, Murphy hitting the side netting, O'Driscoll blazing over and a Cathal Fahy shot just being tipped over the bar after an excellent save from the St Johns net minder. The game finally came to a close after left back Aidan Fahy's deflected shot narrowly missed the st Johns left hand post.
A good win and Athenry can expect much stronger opposition in the 4th round but if they can keep the rediscovered goal scoring form going and everyone fit then perhaps a decent run in this cup competition will be forthcoming. Special note must go to this young crop of Athenry youngsters who are getting valuable game time this season with O'Halloran showing great maturity in the centre back position today. Have a great christmas lads.
ATHENRY TEAM- darragh murphy, aidan fahy, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, mike fahy, patric evason, jamie O'driscoll, gary forde, brian murphy, mark lawless, cathal fahy. Sub- colm kilkelly
LAST MINUTE HEARTACHE IN FAHY'S FIELD
MERVUE UNITED 3 - 2 ATHENRY FC (gdsl premier league)
FAHYS FIELD x1 CATHAL FAHY
x1 MARK LAWLESS
Athenry set up the team to stem the flow from a free scoring Mervue team who sit at the top of the Galway Premier table, both teams were unbeaten so far this season and Gabriel Glavins men knew this would be a stern test of their resolve. Five minutes into the game Brian Murphy won a corner after being fed by Patric Evason and Evason an ex Mervue player was unlucky not to get on the end of a delightfully weighted set piece from Gary Forde. On 10 minutes just when it looked like Athenry were finding their feet they were caught on the break and conceded a sloppy goal. Then on 16 minutes another free kick in a dangerous position and Athenry conceded another this time from a header at the far post as the Athenry defence were caught ball watching. Two nil down and looking down the precipice it looked like a long night was in store against the league leaders. On 18 minutes Paddy Quinn driving his team on ran down the side line and whipped in a cross and Athenry shot over the bar, Gary Forde once again looking strong and full of guile and running had a header on 22 minutes just over, then the unfortunate Brian McDonagh made way with a hamstring injury for Mark Lawless who came off a threadbare Athenry bench to go upfront. On 26 minutes Brian Murphy continued his run into the box with ex Athenry keeper Andrew Walsh smothering the ball at his feet. Then on 35 minutes a Gary Forde free kick had Mervue scrambling the ball away and it looked like Athenry could get back into this game, Murphy on the right wing was now showing promise with another run and when Mervue did get another chance Darragh Murphy made another trademark point blank save this coupled with an excellent Paddy Quinn and an impressive Dermot O'Halloran kept the rest of the half scoreless despite Mervue shooting wide from a good position in the 41st minute.
Second half and game on and a rejuvenated Athenry set about their task with great vigour and determination, immediately from the restart Gary Forde had a shot after a strong run and on 50 minutes Mark Lawless went close with a powerfully driven snap shot. Cathal Fahy's strong run set up O'Driscoll for another shot and Athenry sensed they could get back into this game. On 54 minutes O'Driscoll shot wide and this was followed by an other shot on 57 minutes this time from Gary Forde who was giving a man of the match performance, the player testing Mervues Walsh who tipped over the bar from another Forde freekick. Then Athenry forced a succession of corners with strong handball claims turned down after an O'Halloran shot from just outside the box, it seemed like another refereeing decision going against the visitors. On 61 minutes Athenry gained what they deserved when a Cathal Fahy freekick low drive sailed in past a despairing keeper and when Patric Evason charged down a powerful Mervue shot in the box there looked like only one team in the ascendancy. Yet again another free and O'Halloran headed wide with Forde going close with another blocked shot and a wide. Patric Evason then broke down the left to test the Mervue goal with a shot to the near post which Walsh saved on 67 minutes.
Athenry sensing a new impetus made another change with Niall Concannon replacing a black eyed Evason on 75 minutes who had received a welcome "Mervue kiss" in the first minute of the game for his troubles. Then on 78 minutes after a good effort from O'Driscoll Mark Lawless showed some bravery when scrambling the ball over the line to get a much deserved equalizer taking a kick to the head as he ended up in the net requiring attention from Athenry's medical team who worked wonders on a poleaxed Lawless.
Aidan Fahy came on for namesake Mike Fahy in the 80th minute and a Paddy Quinn interception had Gary Forde and Niall Concannon searching for the winner with good positive runs from both of them resulting in another Forde effort flashing across the goal mouth which had Athenry celebrating momentarily, Brian Murphy followed up a few seconds later with a wide shot on 89 minutes and you had the feeling the game wasn't over yet especially when Mervue got a disputed freekick on the edge of the box in the dying seconds Mervue claiming a penalty but after consulting the linesman and Athenry's protests a free was given. The cross came in Darragh Murphy parried a shot and the rebound was slotted home from close range to break Athenry hearts and to give Mervue an unexpected and unmerited win given athenry's dominance in the second half and latter stages of the first.
A memorable performance from a depleted Athenry team that just didn't deserve to lose out in what turned out to be both a physical and attacking game of football. What can be drawn from the game? Firstly it showed this team can play serious football when the chips are down and they should take heart from the performance of all players, Ronan Kineen and Mike Fahy especially showing that experience counts in these matches, secondly in Gary Forde they have a skilled and energetic player who fully deserves his recent Oscar Traynor call up and in Cathal Fahy they have a free kick specialist who must score more than he misses from them. On the down side Athenry really must look at their off target shot count, again too many were wide or over the bar despite the many that were on target, if they can rectify it then they really would be scoring for fun. Many more good points can be drawn from the game than bad especially considering the very large player panel that is available to Mervue for selection many of them with League Of Ireland experience at all levels both senior & U19. Athenry put their recent couple of performances to bed and despite gaining nothing on the evening all supporters were in agreement that the team can be proud of their efforts and still give a good challenge on the league and will have a serious chance of cup success.
Athenry Team - darragh murphy, paddy quinn, ronan kineen, dermot o'halloran, mike fahy, patric evason, cathal fahy, gary forde, jamie o'driscoll, brian murphy, brian mcdonagh. subs - mark lawless, niall concannon, aidan fahy.
NUMBER ONE MURPHY SAVES THE DAY IN TUAM
TUAM CELTIC 0 - 0 ATHENRY FC (gdsl premier)
Another point and another unbeaten game but you get the feeling that the management team will be as frustrated as the supporters who made the trip to Tuam's Celtic Park on Sunday. Despite dominating for long spells in the possession department Athenry left their shooting boots at home and their penchant for scoring goals has worryingly dried up in the last two matches.
Paddy Quinn was first up to the plate playing in his more accustomed forward position this season with a shot in the 3rd minute, then quickly combining a few minutes later with Gary Forde whose shot was well driven over the bar, the same player also shooting wide on 23 minutes after some good approach play from defence to the forwards in a quick passing move. Tuam where getting frustrated with a lack of possession and collected a yellow card for dissent and one for time wasting as the half wore on. In the 26th minute Paddy Quinn once again was almost through with the keeper smothering the ball. At the back Dermot O'Halloran showed his growing confidence standing in for an injured Stephen Rabbitte for the second consecutive game and looked assured and composed in the position beside an excellent Ronan Kineen who bossed the defence with relative ease and headed out of defence on a number of occasions when it looked like Tuam would break through and when Tuam did have a strike an acrobatic stop from young Darragh Murphy had the photographers scrambling for their cameras. Brian Murphy on the wing had a shot parried away by the keeper in the 31st minute after being set up by Paddy Quinn and the same player returned the favour on 36 minutes when setting up Quinn for another shot but all to no avail.
Athenry for all their possession still couldn't score and when Gary Forde embarked on a mazy run only to be impeded on the edge of the Tuam box the resultant Cathal Fahy freekick was blocked, the half concluded with another couple of shots which the Tuam keeper dealt with comfortably the first a looping Cathal Fahy shot and another shot from left back Anthony Conneely.
Second half came and Athenry's wastefulness in front of goal continued with a Paddy Quinn header going wide on 48 minutes and another Paddy Quinn flick which was blocked and bobbled out off the 6 yard box but no one was following up to apply the finishing touch. Another Athenry shot went wide on 65 minutes and you sort of got the feeling this was going to be the order of the day especially when a scrambled O'Driscoll effort came back off the post and was cleared by a grateful home defence. On 72 minutes Quinn and O'Driscoll combined but the resultant effort was headed out by the Tuam centre half on the goal line. Not that it was all one way traffic as newly promoted Tuam are known for their battling capabilities having only lost once at home this season and a pitch length run by a Tuam player had Athenry scrambling to get men back to stop the runner going in on goal after leaving a couple of Athenry players for dead! Another couple of petulant yellow cards quickly followed for the home team and Athenry continued to miss chances as a Brian Murphy shot went over the bar on 75 minutes followed by a succession of Athenry wides in the last ten minutes. On 88 minutes Tuam broke past Athenry's rearguard and an energetic Darragh Murphy made a point blank save to deny the disappointed Tuam forward who couldn't believe that he hadn't won the game for the home side, but the game wasn't over and on 90 minutes Murphy once again parried another goalbound effort out from his near post much to the relief of Athenry who really should have made their possession and shots count on the day. Gary Forde was excellent on the day as were the defensive pairing of O'Halloran & Kineen but special mention to goalkeeper Darragh Murphy whose growing reputation as a goalkeeper and as Athenry's number 1 was enhanced considerably with this performance.
ATHENRY TEAM - darragh murphy, mike fahy, dermot o'halloran, ronan kineen, anthony conneely, gary forde, cathal fahy, jamie o'driscoll, brian murphy, paddy quinn, gary o'donnell Subs damien rooney, brian mcdonagh, keith loughnane, patric evason, mark lawless, aaron van niekerk, colm kilkelly, aidan fahy, niall concannon.
Colga 1-1 Athenry(U13) Date:23/11/13 Venue:Colga
Scorer: Michael Rice
At the start of the game both sides were evenly matched, a game where chances on goal were few and far between. Athenry’s goalkeeper was having a good game and he blocked or saved anything that came his way, in midfield Eoin Lawless was putting in a huge shift and he seemed to be everywhere. At the end of the first half Colga scored their first goal, with their striker latching onto a long ball the Colga forward just managed to push the ball past Henrick in the Athenry goal and evading the challenge of Aaron Jayakumar before tapping the ball into an empty net. Just before half-time Michael Rice had an opportunity to score, but his half-volley went just over the bar after a lovely through ball from Cian Coffey, the chance coming from a defensive mistake by Colga. At half time the sides were even, but Colga FC had the advantage on the scoreboard. Athenry made three substitutions, bringing on Conor Keane, Paul Fahy and Adam Treanor. Once again chances were hard to come by. Then with about a quarter of the match left, a penalty was awarded to Colga. Unfortunately for them, the ball struck the post from the kick and was cleared away. Five minutes later Michael Rice received the ball and took it around the Colga defence and finished to the corner of the net. In the end a draw was probably a fair result.
Athenry Team Goalkeeper: Henrick Cardosa Braga Defenders: Niall Dooley, Aaron Jayakumar, Conor Moran, Christopher Rabbitte Midfielders: Oisin Fox, Eoin Lawless, Emmet Ruane, Cian Coffey Forwards: Hugh Courtney, Michael Rice Subs: Ronan Cooley, Mark Moran, Cillian Flynn, Conor Keane, Paul Fahy, Oisin Dilger, Cian Kelly, Adam Treanor
Match Report By Michael Rice
SUB O'DRISCOLL INSPIRES UMBRO CUP VICTORY
ATHENRY 4 - 1 TUAM CELTIC (fai junior cup)
Athenry took on a confident Tuam Celtic who had won their last three matches in all competitions, the last meeting between the two had ended in a 0-0 stalemate in Athenry on the first day of the season. With weather conditions leaving a lot to be desired at kick off it looked like a scrappy game would ensue.
On 2 minutes with the crowd barely having settled into their seats! a quick Patric Evason throw was headed on into the path of Gary O'Donnell who in keeping with Athenry's habit of getting early goals finished slickly leaving the keeper rooted. Aaron Van Niekerk began to show what a good player he is with a shot in the 7th minute and an excellent cross which Paddy Quinn could only slice as the weather worsened. On 20 minutes Tuam forced a succession of corners which had Athenry under pressure but with the likes of Stephen Rabbitte, Gary Forde and Ronan Kineen strongly heading out of defence these were all repelled. On 28 minutes Tuam were unlucky to shoot wide after a mazy run by their striker and this coupled with a bit of Darragh Murphy magic with his feet wrong footing a Tuam forward in the process when clearing the danger snuffed out another Tuam attack. Van Niekerk's influence was growing in the game and a meandering dribble could have brought more on 35 minutes and this was followed by a passage of play that Gary Forde started and saw the same Athenry midfielder almost finishing the perfect 6 pass move when scuffing just wide of the Tuam net.
Up front Athenry's profligacy in front of goal continued for the rest of the half when Gary O'Donnell chipped the ball to Paddy Quinn whose tame header was collected by the keeper and on 39 minutes a Cathal Fahy free kick sailed over the bar. Once again another excellent chance went begging as Fahy and Forde combined exquisitely on the wing only for the attack to break down this was followed by an excellent defensive tackle by Cathal Fahy in the 42nd minute to break up a rare Tuam attack. The half ended with the promise of better weather and perhaps a few more goals from the home side.
As the second half began Darragh Murphy showed great bravery yet again belying his years in closing down another Tuam attack and on 52 minutes Van Niekerk thought he had stretched the lead but his effort was disallowed. Athenry for all their dominance in possession and chances were hit with a sucker punch when conceding to the visitors. Game on for Athenry and their management who then brought on O'Driscoll who slotted into midfield, its perhaps testament to the depth of the squad when a player of O'Driscoll's ability can be brought on like this. Almost immediately O'Halloran was able to get down the left and put in a beautiful cross which no one could get onto, then on 60 minutes the eventual breakthrough came that Athenry deserved all day when Jamie O'Driscoll fed Paddy Quinn for Athenry to re-take the lead to make it 2-1, then with O'Donnell finding an extra gear hitting the bar the follow up was slotted home from O'Driscoll from distance to make it a more comfortable 3-1 lead. O'Driscoll at this stage was bossing the midfield with his extra energy and incisive passing and he had another shot that the Tuam goal tender spilled only for it to be hacked away as Tuam knew the tide had changed. A Cathal Fahy palm stinger on 82 minutes was then followed by Athenry's fourth goal in the 86th minute when he embarked on a run were he swaggered the hips and jinked past two Tuam players and finished from 25 yards to end the game as a contest as the old cliche says this contest would have been over a long time ago if it was a boxing match.
TEAM- darragh murphy, mike fahy, ronan kineen, stephen rabbitte, patric evason, aaron van niekerk, cathal fahy, dermot o'halloran, gary forde, paddy quinn, gary o'donnell. SUBS jamie o'driscoll, mark lawless, keith loughnane, mike foran, niall concannon, aidan fahy, colm kilkelly, declan egan
FINAL SCORE..... ATHENRY 4-1 TUAM CELTIC
TOTAL SHOTS.....15 - 6
SHOTS ON TARGET......11 - 3
SHOTS OFF TARGET.....4 - 3
ST PETERS 2-5 ATHENRY(u12 Connacht Shield)
BYRNE x3, YAXLEY, ABILI
Despite fielding a strong starting eleven Athenry FC found themselves 2-0 down after 12 minutes, the first goal due to carelessness at the back and the second to a dubiously awarded penalty. However the gulf in class soon became evident with John Gray cannoning a shot off the crossbar and Sean Byrne starting to get the freedom of the left wing. A Cathal Yaxley close range finish and a Byrne angled shot restored parity by the break and Byrne scored his second immediatley from the restart. From here on the pressure on the St Peters goal was consistent and the cushion goal duly arrived via Dmebi Abili and another 6 yard box finish. Almost immediately after this St Peters were awarded an even more doubtful penalty than their first but justice was done with the shot sailing wide. Sean Forde was a colossus in midfield throughout and set Sean Byrne up for his hat-trick and indeed only for some brave goalkeeping by the St Peters net-minder the margin would have been greater at the end.
For Athenry, keeper Cormac Feeney was solid and the back four of Conor Whelan, Eoin Lawless, Shay Hennessey and Mark Daly were all dependable, Conor Rabbitte improved when moved to the right wing and Matt Brennan contributed much. Subs Alex Park, Jack Burke, Ethan O'Grady and Jason Kilkelly all played some part so this was very much a squad effort.
St Peters were very sporting in defeat and provided refreshments afterwards so well done to them and Athenrys considerable support appreciated it.
SAME SCORE DIFFERENT PERFORMANCE
CORRIB RANGERS 2-4 ATHENRY
(fahy x2, forde, o'donnell) GDSL premier
Athenry went into this game playing into the wind and proceeded to give a performance that belied the atrocious weather conditions. Athenry brought the game to Corrib Rangers from the start managing to open up the home sides defence at every opportunity with slick distribution made all the more slicker with the wet grass making for a fast paced opening.
On 10 minutes Cathal Fahy opened the scoring after Athenry had genuine calls for a penalty turned down flat, the midfielder skipping over a robust challenge ran across the top of the penalty box to finish with aplomb with a angled shot. This was a deserved start to the match with the way Athenry set about their task, on 15 minutes another breaking ball from midfield was gathered by Fahy and against the wind the shot flew in from over 30 yards to make it a brace for him. On 20 minutes a fantastic one handed diving save by Darragh Murphy from a long range effort had the keeper flying across his goal mouth, one for the camera man from a rare Corrib Ranger foray forward. It was perhaps surprising when Rangers scored a screamer of a shot again with the wind behind it just after the half hour and ten minutes later much to the chagrin of Athenry's management they scored once again in similiar circumstances to equalize the game despite Athenry's dominance.
No substitutes at half time despite the 2-2 scoreline but this time Athenry would have the wind in their favour despite them not being unduly affected by it apart from Corrib's goals. Paddy Quinn up front was busy bringing Fahy & O'Donnell into the game and was unlucky not get more from an excellent cross put into the home teams box on 50 minutes which no one could get on to. Patric Evason getting forward regularly now showed what a powerful left foot he has on him when breaking down the left and unleashed a 40 yard screamer that just passed over the bar that had the keeper sprawling on the hour mark. The pressure gradually building now saw Athenry get the lead on 63 minutes when Gary Forde twisted this way then the other to score after good work from O'Halloran and Fahy. Again Athenry's defence was supreme when the home team broke through with Patric Evason's precision challenge in the box snuffing out the danger after covering thirty yards without a hint of tiredness. Stephen Rabbitte ably assisted by Ronan Kineen who won everything all afternoon and Mike Fahy were as solid as ever, this was highlighted after another Athenry shot from Forde went over the bar and Rangers attempted to break down the middle only for Kineen to block an on target shot. Still attacking Athenry's 'peter pan of soccer' Paddy Quinn shot just wide on 82 minutes when his perseverance perhaps deserved more and this was followed by the challenge of the day as another Evason sliding tackle powered the ball out of play when Rangers where looking dangerous just outside the visitors box. Still only 3-2 overall wasn't really a true reflection of the game and it was pleasing and re-assuring when Gary O'Donnell pounced upon a goalkeeping passing error which he finished cooly. Despite going 4-2 up Athenry didn't take their foot of the gas and Fahy put Forde through only for the ball to sail over the bar from distance, once again Rangers in a final flurry to the match broke in the 89th minute and who else but Patric Evason blocked the resultant shot. To end the match with Athenry now seeing out time Corrib had a final free kick just outside the box which flew over the bar. Another 4-2 win but a more pleasing one than last week seeing it brings Athenry up to 3rd in the table and the opposition who were last season's league runners up.
Team- Darragh Murphy, Mike Fahy, Stephen Rabbitte, Ronan Kineen, Patric Evason, Aaron Van Niekerk, Cathal Fahy, Dermot O'Halloran, Gary Forde, Paddy Quinn, Gary O'Donnell.
SUBS- Mark Lawless, Aidan Fahy, Colm Kilkelly, Declan Egan, Kieran McCallion, Keith Loughnane
KEOGH GOAL PROVIDES A RAY OF HOPE
ATHENRY 1 - 4 MOYNE VILLA headford
The curse of the Under 17 A season struck again. A Thursday evening kick off under lights at Moyne Villa and 2 players injured during school on Thursday resulted in a last minute call to the under 16's to provide reinforcements.And the familiar story off the pitch was followed by the familiar story on the pitch. Athenry starting strongly, playing good football and creating the best of the early chances only to concede a soft opening goal and gradually the confidence drained from the team and the longer the game went on, the greater stranglehold Moyne Villa took on the game. Athenry produced flashes of quality, particularly through Aaron Flaherty down the right wing but it never looked enough. 2-0 down at half time and the usual collection of Athenry players checking bashed limbs to see if they would see out the second half. 4-0 during the second half and game over.
Difficult to take too many positives from this one. A slap on the back to the brave souls who battled to the end to keep the score down, chief among those Shane Kindregan, Daire Kennedy and Cian Mullen edging them out for Man of the Match. The truly bright point was Athenry’s first League goal of the season courtesy of Sean Keogh. Sean and Nico started to create a few chances late in the game and Sean deserved his goal and in truth it was a fine controlled powerful shot into the net to beat the Moyne Villa keeper. There is unfortunately no let up for Athenry to get their walking wounded back on the pitch with matches coming up in the next 2 weeks. Better things ahead we hope.
Goalkeeper - Sean Mooney
Defenders - Ryan O'Shaughnessy/Cian Mullen/Daire Kennedy/Shane Kindregan/Louis O’Hara
Mdfielders - Conor Moran/Aaron Flaherty/Kieran McCallion/John McGough/Stephen Parr
Forwards - Niko Mpweka/Jordan Lally/Sean Keogh
FAHY HATRICK SENDS EAST WEST
Athenry 4-2 East United GDSL premier league
Fahy x3, Quinn
Football is very much like a marriage, sometimes it can follow a pattern of a terrific honeymoon period where everything begins extremely well and all is going along swimmingly but then you may inadvertently forget an anniversary or a birthday even and your struggling from then on trying to get back on track but knowing in your heart of hearts that it will take an almighty effort to get back into the good books after a rocky period! Today's game of soccer between a still unbeaten Athenry team and an dogged East United team featuring former Galway United U19 players Luke Deacy & Daragh Kelly seemed to follow such a scenario.
Athenry went into the game after a period of inactivity over the last couple of weeks but it didn't seem to have affected them when a Cathal Fahy penalty after only 5 minutes settled the home team. After 8 minutes another Fahy shot from range found its target to put real daylight between each team and Athenry looked like they were on course for a rout and it could have gotten even worse for the visitors when Gary O'Donnell was unlucky to shoot wide after some good approach play by Athenry in the 15th minute despite the weather conditions deteriorating. Confirmation of Athenry's dominance came on 18 minutes when a speculative Paddy Quinn daisy cutter somehow was fumbled by the East goal tender to give a seemingly unasailable 3 nil scoreline. On 20 minutes Mike Fahy fed Brian Murphy who gave an incisive through ball for the omnipotent Cathal Fahy to run onto but he ran into a cul de sac of players and this attack was thwarted. After swapping wings Murphy & Forde began to get forward more and started to cause problems for the visitors and with another Cathal Fahy effort bouncing off the bar it looked ominous for United, in fact it was surprising that East came back into the game when they were awarded a penalty from minimal contact in the penalty area and duly scored from the spot to bring the score to 3-1 after 40 minutes.
Half time arrived and some stern warnings from the management team as the rain pelted down, 55 minutes in Gary Fordes delightful lob hit the crossbar to bounce away to safety but the high intensity of the match seemed to sap some of the maroon boys, Athenry introduced Mark Lawless up front as a replacement for a tiring Gary O'Donnell who had run himself ragged all morning. Instead of collapsing East responded and were soon back in the game on the hour mark to make it an uncomfortable 3-2 but once again Athenry were given a lifeline as a tired looking challenge on midfielder Fahy by East's left back resulted in another penalty which was calmly slotted home by the hat trick hero to restore a two goal cushion. There then followed a period of East bossing the midfield area as Athenry's defence came under a lot of pressure. As passes went astray a couple of more substitutions by the Athenry management to give a bit more energy to the proceedings seemed to get Athenry moving the ball forward again with Paddy Quinn almost releasing Patric Evason in on goal in the final few minutes the pass rather unkindly falling behind him as he made his run.
With the pitch very wet and the game taking place in almost monsoon style weather at times it wasn't surprising that the game wasn't an advert for free flowing football, yes it became scrappy after Athenry's sublime first 20 minutes, yes if East were more accomplished opposition then Athenry could have been in trouble but a win is a win and a win gives you three points regardless how it was achieved, what Athenry will attempt to do as put in the after match team talk is to play the Athenry way, a passing style that brings all players in all positions into the game, it is pleasing to the eye and excites, very much like those early years of wedded bliss!!!
TEAM- darragh murphy, dermot o'halloran, stephen rabbitte, ronan kineen, mike fahy, gary forde, cathal fahy, brian murphy, jamie o'driscoll, paddy quinn, gary o'donnell. Subs colm kilkelly, patric evason, mark lawless, declan egan, aidan fahy, kieran mccallion
MAN OF THE MATCH MOONEY CANT STEM THE FLOW
Athenry A 0-2 Colga A
What do the Athenry U17A Coaches have in common with the Real Madrid coach? They both have to make a great team out of a bunch of great players! For now, I’m afraid the Real Madrid coach is having the better luck. Colga should have been comfortable opposition, made even more so when their strongest forward talked himself off the pitch, but they were better organised than Athenry and coupled with some poor Athenry finishing enabled Colga to finish with all the points. The game started with Colga trying to get the ball quickly to their front line and Athenry also trying to cope with the Colga front line, not surprisingly on a far from perfect pitch a mistake was made by the Athenry rear guard and Colga capitalised and put the ball past an understandably frustrated Athenry goalkeeper Sean Mooney. Athenry didn’t lose heart from this and still continued to play the ball out from the back and the superiority of their play soon became evident. Athenry had a number of injury worries and only one subsitute who was used fairly early on in the game when Kieran McCallion had to kneel down by the touch line and say goodbye to his dinner! The half ended 1-0 in favour of Colga but how it did is a bit of a mystery with Athenry having a number of half chances and at least two clear cut chances, none of which resulted in even a shot on target.
The second half carried on where the first left off. Intelligent running by the wide backs Aaron Flaherty and Shane Kindregan, setting up chances and with Conor Moran, Sean Keogh, Daire Kennedy and particularly Diarmuid Newell dominating midfield Colga mainly held solid at the back and when the back line was pierced somehow the telling strike just wouldn’t come. As full time approached Athenry got more desperate and as they pushed more players forward they were caught on the break and it was game over. Athenry were so superior in almost every area of the pitch that it made this defeat that bit harder to take, but comfort can be taken from a lot of the football played, the excellent performance of Diarmuid Newell who started off very impressively in defence and took the same standards into midfield after Kieran’s departure was pipped for Man of the Match by the ever reliable Sean Mooney who didn’t put a foot wrong and could do nothing about the goals that were conceded. Sean will be entitled to expect better protection for the rest of the season.
Goal- Sean Mooney
Def- Ryan O'Shaughnessy/Cian Mullen/Aaron Flaherty/Shane Kindregan/Diarmuid Newell
Mid- Conor Moran/Daire Kennedy/Kieran McCallion/Sean Keogh
For- Cian Burke/Jordan Lally
COFFEY FAILS TO REVIVE ATHENRY
EAST UTD 2-1 ATHENRY FC
On a damp misty day in Castlepark, Athenry B's fell to a 2-1 defeat against East Utd B in very spirited display. As the team left Moanbaun for Galway the change in weather was an ominous sign that a tough day lay ahead for our team. Despite a couple of players frequenting the nightclub scene in Galway till the early hours of Saturday morning, a squad of 13 players togged out for what was hoped to be their 2nd win of the season and bring to an end a run of 2 successive defeats.
Playing in manager Roger Leggett's enforced 4-3-3 formation, Athenry dominated the early exchanges. With Neville Hynes, Dermot and Gary Coffey controlling midfield, Athenry created some early scoring opportunities. The front three of Conor O'Grady, Greg Osbourne and Adrian "Halo" Doran took the game to the East defence with Osbourne coming close to opening the scoring after 15 minutes. However for all Athenrys possession East scored direct from a free kick 30 yards from goal which deceived goalkeeper Kieran Cummins as it swerved viciously on its way to the net.
Despite being 1 nil down at half time Athenry emerged in the second half and produced some excellent passages of play. The defence of Sean Flaherty and Michael McNellis commanded both in the air and on the ground and with full backs Austin Breathnach and Damien "Halo2" providing overlaps along the wings, Athenry went in search of a much deserved equaliser. Athenry should have had a blatant penalty after "Halo" Doran was brought down in the box after a cross from O'Grady. However referee PJ Norman dismissed the claims as a "coming together" and waved play on. A header from an off-balance O'Grady nearly tied the scores but East were to pounce again and went 2-0 up shortly after.
With subs Neil Murphy and Bartley ("rolling back the years") bringing fresh legs onto the pitch Athenry were awarded a penalty after Coffey was brought down in the box and he duly dusted himself down and slotted the penalty into the bottom right hand corner. Athenry dominated the remainder of the game with East resorting to kicking balls into the corners in order to waste valuable time. Full time came too early for our lads as they dominated the final 10 minutes but an equaliser never materialised. A lot can be taken from the defeat, some good possession football and an increase in fitness levels will bring Athenry into their match next Saturday at home to West Coast Utd with some confidence.
U18 ATHENRY DEFEATED IN SCORCHING HEAT
Athenry 2-4 Salthill Devon
Athenry were defeated by 9-man Salthill Devon in the scorching heat in Raheen on Sunday. Athenry were unlucky to lose but some lapses in the defence cost them greatly.
In the first half Athenry were on top with Martin Ward having a few long range shots that troubled the Salthill goalkeeper. Martin’s persistence eventually paid off as he received the ball about 25 yards out from goal and his shot bulleted past the goalkeeper into the corner of goal. However 10 minutes later Salthill were level. The ball was whipped in from the corner and Athenry failed to clear their lines and the Salthill defender headed the ball into the roof of the net. Five minutes later Salthill were in again with the striker chipping the Athenry keeper Andrew Lynskey, he was sure he had scored but a magnificent goal line clearance by Michael McNelis kept it at 1-1. Salthill did however get their second before the break after the striker got past the defence.
In the second half the intensity of the match increased greatly. Most of the action came in the midfield area but Padraig Corcoran and Martin Ward battled brilliantly. Athenry had some great chances but the fingertips of the Salthill goalkeeper stopped Martin and Shane Ward from getting their names on the scoresheet. The killer blow was landed with 20 minutes remaining when another lapse in the Athenry defence let the Salthill winger through to place the ball into the top corner. Athenry responded well though and got a goal from a corner to keep them in the game. The ball was whipped in and Sean Stewart rose to head the ball and rattled it off the crossbar, luckily Shane Ward was there to hit in the rebound. As Athenry pressed, they were left more open at the back and were eventually punished as Salthill scored their fourth goal of the afternoon. Athenry never recovered and the game finished 4-2 to Salthill.
Report: Niall Moran
Team: Andrew Lynskey, Conor Gavin, Michael McNelis, Sean Stewart, Mark Kilkenny, Shane Ward, Martin Ward, Padraig Corcoran, Jamie Cronin, Darren Keady. Subs: Declan Egan, Niall Moran.
RONAN SEALS THE DEAL FOR U15 ATHENRY.
ATHENRY 3-2 KNOCKNACARRA
Athenry U15’s played Knocknacara today in Athenry. Knocknacara got off to a good start with the opening goal but it was not to long until Odhran Monoghan equalised it with a cracker into the bottom left corner. No further goals came and at half time the scoreline was 1-1.
Colm Brannigan got the team motivated with an inspirational speech on the sideline and the lads went out there wanting it more than Knocknacara and they played their hearts out for the half. Athenry made two substitutions, bringing on Evan Loughnane and Louis Grey for Keith Hession and Gary Moscarelli.
The lads played a good game but it was time to bring on fresh legs up front. The ball came flying in from a free kick taken by Odhran Monoghan but it was caught by the Knocknacara goalkeeper but he didn’t have it long when Louis Grey ran into the keeper knocking the ball out of his hands and into the back of the net. From then on the game was looking very one sided as there was not very much time left. Knocknacara had a lot of shots at goal in the short time but they were blocked by the excellent Athenry goalkeeper Leon DeBurca. The game was just about to end and Athenry would have had their first win of the season but a Knocknacara striker ran up the side of the pitch and rocketed the ball into the bottom left corner to keep them in the game. The referee blew the whistle signalling that it was time for extra-time.
The lads gathered around to listen to their manager and what he had to say and they refuelled themselves with their water and got back on to the pitch for extra-time. The first half of extra-time was very calm and scoreless. The referee blew his whistle after ten minutes and told the players to swap sides with no delay. It was a nail biting encounter with many chances for a goal from both sides. It was looking like penalties for sure. The referee signalled the players that there was only two minuets left. Athenry’s substitute Ronan Bergin got hold of the ball. There was 3 Knocknacara men chasing him and one defender on front. He went passed the defender and was one on one with the goalkeeper. Ronan just passed the ball into the bottom left corner to seal the deal for Athenry. It was a great first win for Athenry.
LATE EQUALIZER SCUPPERS A GRAND EVENING OUT
ST PATRICKS 1-1 ATHENRY 'A' (gdsl premier)
Athenry Senior A went to Moyne Villa's ground to play an away game under lights against St Patricks of Caherlistrane in a re-arranged venue and fixture. The match looked like it would be a good evening for Athenry when a Cathal Fahy goal inside 5 minutes seemed to set the team on its way, after good approach play by Gary Forde who sent in a cross from the left wing Fahy's close range shot was parried by the keeper back into his path and the Athenry midfielder finished with aplomb fronm the rebound. On 10 minutes a strong Paddy Quinn run down what appeared the entire right wing passing 3 defenders in the process was unlucky not to yield a better result. With 20 minutes of the match gone Athenry were in the ascendancy with O'Donnell feeding Paddy Quinn who crossed to Gary Forde who unfortunately couldn't connect with it, this was followed up by another Fahy shot that the keeper did well to hold. Not that it was all one way traffic with a brave Darragh Murphy saving from a cross when under pressure and then being saved by the woodwork when St Patricks had a good spell in the game but this spell was sandwiched between Athenry pressure that just couldn't yield a second goal. With the Athenry defence breaking up attacks it was on 40 minutes when yet another Athenry shot this time from Paddy Quinn was just wide. On 42 minutes a long ball from Gary O'Donnell gave Damien Rooney a headed chance which went over and this was followed a dangerous Gary O'Donnell cross which once again was caught by the keeper and this closed out the half with St Patricks being the more grateful for the whistle.
After the turn around on 50 minutes two quick successive shots by Gary Forde threatened to put the game to bed and coupled with good defensive work from Ronan Kineen and his back 4 it looked only a matter of time before Athenry's tally would be doubled especially after another Fahy hand stinger from short range, but St Patricks had other ideas and as the Athenry midfield begun to tire the home team sensed they could get something from the game and gained confidence from it. Indeed for much of the remainder of the half Athenry knew they now had a game on their hands and it was all hands to the pump for the last 20 minutes with St Patricks firstly missing a close range header and then on 87 minutes after another break down the visitors right wing a daisy cutter of a shot just outside the penalty box beat Murphy cannoning in of the goalkeepers near post to end a match that promised much but ultimately only delivered a single point. Positives to be taken should be that Athenry are still unbeaten so far but too many draws at this early stage of the season could be a sign that Athenry need to find a cutting edge sooner rather than later to keep touch with Mervue whom they meet next.
DARRAGH MURPHY, PATRIC EVASON, RONAN KINEEN, STEPHEN RABBITTE, MIKE FAHY, CATHAL FAHY, JAMIE O'DRISCOLL, GARY FORDE, DAMIEN ROONEY, PADDY QUINN, GARY O'DONNELL, Subs. MARK LAWLESS, NIAL CONCANNON, AIDAN FAHY, DECLAN EGAN
ITS A BREEZE FOR O'DRISCOLL IN CUP
ATHENRY SENIOR A 4-1 OUGHTERARD (FAI JUNIOR CUP 2nd Rd)
Jamie O'Driscoll x2,
Gary O'Donnell x1,
Cathal Fahy x1
Athenry Senior A continued their good run of form with a comfortable home performance at Moanbaun today, they took on a game Oughterard side who certainly showed that they can play football. With the match kicking of in breezy conditions it was Oughterard who would have the benefit of the wind to their backs in the first half. Despite this advantage it was Athenry's Jamie O'Driscoll who showed the way with the first goal on five minutes from a tenacious run and cross from Gary O'Donnell who stayed on his feet barging his way through a series of challenges as he cut in on the right wing, the cross flew into the box and past the static defence to present O'Driscoll with a sweet drive into the net. With the wind a big factor it was no surprise that Oughterard despite this early set back still showed what they were capable off with an excellent free kick which Darragh Murphy acrobatically tipped over the bar an indication of the growing confidence and stature this young keeper has. Good running and passing was still the order of the day as Athenry kept the tempo up who once again showed how tough their defence is to breach with both full backs Mike Fahy & Patric Evason stemming Oughterards attempts to get near Athenry's goal and any time they did the two centre halfs mopped up any danger at the back with consumate ease reducing the Oughterard attack to a series of set pieces and off target long range shots. Athenry went further ahead on 33 minutes when a Gary O'Donnell low header scrambled the ball into the net from a floated free kick despite the attention of the visitors defence. As the half drew to a conclusion it was O'Driscoll who once again found the net capping a great first half performance with a speculative volley from a cross from the left wing.
The second half began with much the same tempo as the first and Athenry went further ahead shortly into the half when Cathal Fahy buried a placed shot low to the keepers right to effectively end the game as a contest. As the game progressed into the 65th minute Fahy released O'Donnell but his chip over the keeper was too high and went over the bar, any complacency that may have entered into the Athenry mindset was put to one side as on 70 minutes Oughterard's No5 scampered through the Athenry backline with a mazy run only to see his shot go narrowly wide, Athenry countered and Gary O'Donnell was unlucky to see his shot drift wide after good approach play that saw both subs Mark Lawless & Aidan Fahy combine to set this chance up. Oughterard still never gave up and where rewarded with a penalty for a challenge in the box which gave them a consolation goal they deserved for their much improved second half performance. There was still time for a close range Mark Lawless shot that the keeper smothered and as the match concluded Athenry can look forward to another third round tie in this illustrious competition.
Team- Darragh Murphy, Mike Fahy, Damien Rooney, Ronan Kineen, Patric Evason, Niall Concannon, Jamie O'Driscoll, Cathal Fahy, Gary Forde, Paddy Quinn, Gary O'Donnell. Subs Aidan Fahy, Mark Lawless, Dermot O'Halloran, Kieran Barrett, Stephen Rabbitte
EMMET RUANE'S CORRIBS DAY IN ANNAGHDOWN
Corrib Celtic 0 - 3 Athenry u13B
Annaghdown..........Niall Dooley x1
.......................... .Emmet Ruane x2
It was a long drive down to Corrib Celtic on saturday but it was well worth the spin as Athenry put on a great display winning 3-0.
In the first half Athenry defended brilliantly with great performances from Conor Moran and Aaron Jayakamur while Cian Coffey and Jack Maguire were always back to help out. Corrib Celtic found it very hard to deal with Oisin Fox on the wing. Even though Athenry were playing great, the first half finished 0-0. Then Athenry grew in confidence with Emmet Ruane scoring early in the second half. Athenry brought on James Duggen, Ronan Cooely and Kilian Flynn. With the fresh legs Emmet Ruane scored another great goal chipping the keeper. The luck kept coming for Athenry, when Niall Dooley got round his man and then the goal keeper and put it in the back of the net with his left foot. Athenry closed out the game comfortably with great displays from Christopher Rabbitte, Conor Keane, Cian Kelly and a great debut from goalkeeper Henrik Cardoza, Jack Maguire could have got man of the match for his excellent all round performance on the day but it was awarded to Emmett Ruane for his two great goals.
Athenry:1.Henrik Cardoza 2.Conor Keane 3.Conor Moran 4.Aaron Jayakamar 5.Christopher Rabbitte(C) 6.Oisin Fox 7.Cian Coffey 8.Jack Maguire 9.Emmett Ruane 10.Niall Dooley 11.Cian Kelly 12.Ronan Cooley 13.Cilian Flynn 14.James Duggan Report: Cian Coffey
GABRIELS MEN GIVE LADY'S BOYS A SHOW !!!
ATHENRY 'A' 5 - 0 OUR LADYS'S BOYS CLUB (gdsl premier)
GARY O'DONNELL x2
CATHAL FAHY x3
This convincing win came as much from good solid defending as from the five goals that Athenry scored with consumate ease without reply. Indeed but for a bit more luck the scoreline would have been more flattering for the home team. The early opener courtesy of a flash of inspiration by Gary O'Donnell settled the team and was certainly scant reward for the sheer amount of possession and dominance that Athenry had as OLBC found it difficult to live with Athenrys quick passing and running game and it was surprising that Athenry's next two goals to see out the first half 3 nil came from a couple of set pieces despite the passing game that Athenry always attempt to play. These came courtesy of two superbly crafted Cathal Fahy free kicks that both passed through the opposition wall like they weren't there with the latter coming towards the end of the half.
With Fahy and Gary Forde still dominating the midfield at the turn around and the marauding Paddy Quinn operating as a true No.10 linking up play with forward Gary O'Donnell it was no surprise that Athenry extended their lead to stop any lingering doubts a dogged OLBC had of getting back into the game with a superb through ball letting Cathal Fahy cap a fine performance on the day with a well taken shot as he ran at the OLBC box whose defence opened up and failed to get in a blocking tackle. Whenever OLBC tried to get any semblance of an attack it was quickly snuffed out by the imperious Damien Rooney & Ronan Kineen and despite attempts to get around the defence both backs Mike Fahy & Patric Evason coped comfortably all match. At every opportunity Gary Forde was trying to release Athenry runners and it wasn't long before a superb through ball from Gary Forde released an energetic Gary O'Donnell to scamper into the opposition box and despite a clip from the keeper who got a yellow card for his troubles he finished superbly after rounding the keeper to complete the rout. As the game wore on to its ultimate conclusion Athenry took their foot off the gas but still threatened and again a harsh offside call stopped sub Mark Lawless from running through on goal again after some good approach play from Athenry who quickly turned defence into attack.
As the game concluded it was perhaps telling that Athenrys mixture of experience and youth seems to be starting to gel with Darragh Murphy particularly comfortable in goal this afternoon owing as much to a very strong looking back four who were supreme all game and to some profligate finishing from an Our Lady's team who have yet to register a league goal this season in competitive games, Athenry will have more difficult home games to come but a comfortable win is a good win and to remain unbeaten must give manager Gabriel Glavin a little extra spring in his step as he looks forward to the next game.
Team- Darragh Murphy, Mike Fahy, Damien Rooney, Ronan Kineen, Patric Evason, Anthony Conneelly, Gary Forde, Cathal Fahy, Niall Concannon, Paddy Quinn, Gary O'Donnell. Subs Mark Lawless, Jamie O'Driscoll, Aidan Fahy, Dara Glynn, Declan Egan, Kieran Barrett, Kieran McCallion