2021/22 SEASON MATCH REPORTS
MANAGER CROWE END OF SEASON INTERVIEW - (thu july 22nd 2021 edition)
Crowe praises Athenry's players
The full interview with Seamie Crowe is available on Galway Advertiser here
Eight wins and one draw from nine fixtures ensured Athenry were crowned worthy Western Hygiene Supplies premier division champions. For manager Seamie Crowe it was a hugely successful return to local action as Athenry’s cocktail of emerging and established players delivered.
“It is as good a blend as I've seen in a long time,” Crowe says. “We got a couple of lads in which every team has to be doing. You have got to be recruiting another couple of lads every year, adding to the squad, keeping it fresh. “Over the last couple of years we have been building, Davy Crimmins did an unreal job last year getting the lads to the semi-final of the FAI Junior Cup. “He had built a really good squad which I inherited. There is a lovely blend of experience and youth. You have young lads coming through from underage now, who are starting to come into their own which is brilliant to see.”
Crowe praised the determination of the Athenry squad. “It was a funny year for everyone with everything that has been going on for the last number of years,” he adds. “Everyone, including myself, was just delighted to get back playing, to get back out on the pitch. In fairness to our lads, they really embraced it, they came back in super shape. It stood to them then obviously getting the league title.
“When we got them back we had two or three hard sessions. Straightaway Mark Moran and I realised that they didn't need to be ran anymore, we got the footballs out, every session we did before the start of the season was with a ball. It was all just games, games, games.
“They were tough, we had big pitches with not a lot of lads on them so there was lots of running in it. You could see when it came to the games we were winning games, the games that were tight, we were winning them because we were fitter. Plus on top of that our lads are well able to play ball too.”
Crowe is adamant that the strength of the junior game in Galway is increasing once again. “I think when I started playing first it was very strong,” Crowe replies. “When I came back I remember playing Hibs up in Bohermore, there must have been 1,000 people watching the match. It was crazy, it was really popular. Then it dipped off for a few years when the A Leagues came in, a lot of good lads from Salthill and Mervue went into that. It dipped a little bit for a while, but it definitely seems to be coming back again.
“I watched a couple of games this year with Salthill, in particular, it was quality games - as good junior games I've seen in a long time with a lot of very good players on the pitch. You have to keep moving on, trying to get better. “I have to give all the credit to our players, they have been absolutely fantastic since we came back with their attitude and the way they have applied themselves during the lockdown.”
SUPERB FIRST HALF DISPLAY CAPTURES TROPHY
Match report 15/07/2021
Western Hygiene Supplies Division 3 League Champions Play-off
Athenry B 3-0 East United - Eamonn Deacy Park
A brilliant first half display from Athenry B was more than enough to see them crowned League Champions in the play-off game versus East United. Both of these teams finished, what was a short intense league season, on 29 points. This guaranteed both club teams promotion, despite who won today. This fixture was a tough one to call as the previous match up between these sides ended in a tightly contested and controversial 0-0 draw. There was a good crowd at Eamonn Deacy Park, with supporters of both teams in attendance, to witness what turned out to be a great game and wonderful occasion for Athenry B senior men's team.
Athenry B got off to a flying start with Daniel Bane forcing the East Utd goalkeeper into a sprawling save inside the first few minutes. Athenry B didn't have to wait much longer to open the scoring however, when Brian O’Curnain was hacked down just outside East Utd's box. The resulting free kick was beautifully whipped in by Sean Byrne into a dangerous area and a leaping header by Joey Burke was too powerful for the opposition Goalkeeper. 1-0 to Athenry B.
The nerves began to show in the East Utd players after going down so early, as they lost the ball from simple mistakes and couldn't progress the ball up the pitch. Athenry were full of confidence and energy however, they closed down every East Utd player in possession and worked hard as a team, with Darragh Nolan controlling the game in centre midfield. The hard work in pressing would pay off 20 minutes into the first half as Athenry B won a corner. Oliver Rabbitt stepped up to take the corner and miraculously it went over everybody and curled into the back of the net. 2 nil to Athenry B after that piece of magic.
Athenry B didn't let their 2 goal cushion curb their adventurous tactics constantly playing direct attacking football every time they won the ball back. Their left wing experienced a lot of joy as left back Sean Bynre and left winger Brian O’Curnain constantly caused a threat to East Utd's defence. And it was no surprise as Sean delivered a lofted cross that resulted in pure chaos in Utd's box. The defence could not clear the ball and Chris Burke headed home. Athenry extended their lead, 3 nil. East Utd struggled to create any attacking moments. Even when they got in behind Athenry B Captain Darragh Murphy was more than happy to play sweeper keeper and help out his centre backs Kieran McCallion & Chris Burke, clear danger.
East Utd knew they had a mountain to climb in the second half and proceeded to step up their defensive line much higher up the pitch in an attempt to get their attack going. Unfortunately for the trailing team Athenry B were happy to let their opponents have the ball as Athenry B's back 4 remained solid and soaked up all the pressure. Although it was East Utd who needed to find a way back into the game, it was Athenry who continued to create goal scoring chances as the second half went on. Sean Bynre came close with a venomous free kick that came off the crossbar. Joey Burke also came close after getting in behind but had his effort saved. Even when Athenry subbed off their tiring attackers, the replacements kept up the quick pace of the starters and constantly got in behind East Utd's defence but failed to find the net.
The referee eventually blew up for full time and Athenry B cheered as deserving winners of the fixture and as League Champions. Players, Coaching staff and Club staff can all be proud of the part they played in the very successful campaign for Athenry B senior men's team. Player/Manager Colin Bane and Assistants Sean Barrett & Tony Allen, who got everything right on the day, celebrated with their players who collected their medals after a great victors speech from Darragh Murphy. The league trophy was presented to the jubilant squad who can now look forward to an exciting new campaign in division two.
UNDERAGE ROUND UP
FIVE GOAL BLITZ HANDS CAPTAIN GORTON THE TROPHY
Barna 1-5 Athenry
Winners of the "Frank Sweeney and Co Auctioneers", GFA U15 Girls Division 1 Title.
It was winner takes all today in the top of the table clash where two unbeaten sides met in the league decider. Two early goals from Katie Noone settled the nerves of the Athenry girls and when Sophie Hogan made it three just before half time Athenry were holding all the aces. Second half goals from Sinead O'Mahoney and Mollie Noone secured the title for Athenry. Athenry were superbly led by captain Rhiannon Gorton and also good performances from Amber Higgins who always looked calm and assured in goals and Lauren Barrett in defence. Great scenes after the full time whistle when Rhiannon Gorton lifted the league trophy.
IN FORM MULLENS BRACE SECURES THE WIN
Our U15 Girls premier team had their last game of the season also and finished with a 2-0 win against Colga away. Two goals from the prolific Ruby Mullen won the match. Special thanks to Colga FC for their tremendous hospitality in providing drinks and treats after a hard fought game, very much appreciated. A season that had some brilliant team performances from this talented Athenry team. The future is bright.
McDERMOTT & CRAWFORD DEFENSIVE DISPLAY CAPS OFF DONOGHUES GOAL
AFC boys 12A played their final premier league game of the season against Salthill Devon this morning. The game ended in a one all draw in what was a super game of football. The game was played at a great pace from the first whistle and Athenry matched Salthill in every department. There were some fantastic performances across the pitch, notably in defence with captain Keelan McDermott and Devon Crawford breaking down every Salthill attack. Athenry scored a wonderful goal in the first half with a sublime pass from Fionn Brannagan finished off on the volley by Rian Donoghue. Well done to all the lads!
CAPTAIN LALLY AND HIS INVINCIBLES SEAL RUNNERS UP SPOT
Our U13 C team finished 2nd in the division going unbeaten for the season. We played out the final game against the champions Oughterard on Wednesday evening in perfect conditions. Wanting to keep their unbeaten record and finish as high as possible in the division the boys played their hearts out in Oughterard and the final result was a 3-3 draw. With fantastic performances all over the pitch these boys showed the results of a hard season of training and perseverance. Many thanks to all the players, parents, coaches and Covid officers that travelled the road together. Captain Daragh Lally, Scorers Danny Petrus, Luke Geary, Fionn Branagan.
O'DRISCOLL SCRAMBLER CANT STOP AGONY OF PENALTIES
FAIRVIEW RANGERS 2-2 aet ATHENRY (connolly, o'driscoll)
venue Fairgreen, Limerick
penalties 4-2 Fairview progress to 1st round of FAI Cup
Athenry may be sick of losing another penalty shoot out to Fairview Rangers but they will be aware that there are many more challengers to keep them occupied for the rest of the season. In many ways this game took on a similar vein to last seasons FAI Junior Cup semi final, with Athenry equalising in the last few moments of the game and once again losing a shoot out that really was in the lap of the Gods. With Athenry flying high in their domestic league competition they were well up for it as especially the second half performance showed. With both teams getting invitations to this qualifying round for the senior cup through making the last four of the FAI Junior Cup competition in 2020 this game promised to be a tense but entertaining game. It wasn't one for those of a nervous disposition!
Athenry got of to the worst possible start as they conceded after only 5 minutes but showed incredible tenacity to gain a foot hold back into the game. Once again in form goal getter Cole Connolly hit the mark on 28 minutes. This was very much against the run of play but his simple finish was reward enough for the excellent work from his team mates. With both sides thoughts perhaps drifting to what changes at half time could be made, it was Rangers who once again nipped into the lead just before the ref had time to blow his whistle to end the half and went in 2-1 up. With the pressure being ratcheted up as Athenry went in search of an equaliser it was the experience of the Athenry bench that grabbed a well deserved leveller and it was Athenry's sub Jamie O'Driscoll who scored a scrambled and much disputed goal from a last minute Athenry corner to send the game into extra time.
With both sides cancelling each other in extra time it may have been a different outcome but for an excellent save from the Fairview keeper with minutes to spare, and so we went to the dreaded penalties...... which Fairview won 4-2 with their keeper once again having an excellent game. Well Done to both sides on an enjoyable match and good luck to Fairview in their next match in this competition.
Athenry AFC Senior A -
Goal Keeper - TJ Forde
Defence - Gary O'Connell, Morgan Leggett, Declan Cullen, Adam Duffy.
Midfield - Colm O'Donovan, Garvin Broughall, Ryan Shaughnessy, Ray Moran, Gavin Gilmore.
Forward - Cole Connolly.
Subs used: Elliott Langan, Cathal Fahy, Jason Gorham, Jamie O'Driscoll, Dan Cunningham.
FINE FIONN BRACE TAKES THE POINTS FOR HOME SIDE
Athenry u13c 2-0 Colemanstown
moanbaun - saturday 3rd July 2021
Athenry U13 C team welcomed Colemanstown to Moanbaun today. We had the benefit of the dry weather for the morning which made for a very even contest. With sides level at the break Athenry came out looking for the first score and got it from direct play from the back with an excellent finish by Fionn Brannagan. But Colemanstown weren't deterred and pressed for the equaliser. With solid defending at the back by Dara Yaxley, Keelan McDermott, Cian McEneaney, Michael Flannery and keeper Padraic Sullivan Athenry kept the clean sheet and in the closing minutes of the game after some more direct play and great individual work by Fionn he bagged his second and Athenry secured the win.
Capt: Danny Petrus, MOTM; Fionn Brannagan.
NOONE DOUBLE SETS ATHENRY ON THE WAY sunday 27th june 2021
U15 Girls Division 1
Knocknacarra 0 - 4 Athenry AFC
Goals in either half by Mollie Noone with assists from Aoife Kelly and Kate Kennedy were the difference between the sides in a sun drenched Cappagh Park today. With Rhiannon Gorton and Sarah Egan outstanding at the back and Aoife Kelly pulling the strings in midfield Athenry were on top but could not break down the well organised Knocknacarra defence. The breakthrough came just before half time when Mollie Noone got on the end of a fantastic pass from Kate Kennedy to put the away side ahead. A good individual goal by Noone early in the second half put some daylight between the sides. Knocknacarra didn't let their heads drop and only for the safe hands of Amber Higgins in goal the result could have been different. Athenry struck for 2 late goals to seal the 3 points and put them back on top of the league table.
ROONEYS STOCK IS RISING
A & T Printing, Athenry. GFA U17 League
Athenry 2 - 1 St Bernards raheen, athenry - thursday 24th june 2021
x1 rooney, x1 molloy.
Our under 17 boys have had a fantastic few days. Firstly, a comprehensive 4-1 win against Moyne Villa last Thursday, with goals from Matthew Bane, Cian Newton, an own goal caused by Ben Rooney's great play and Jack Foley all in the first half settled the game and the lads got a well-deserved win against a side with some strong players (last seasons Connacht Shield winners). However, this Thursday was a different test. In wet conditions, on a muddy pitch in Raheen the lads faced St. Bernard's, they brought physicality to the game. The lads had many chances but could not convert before half time. Nevertheless, within a minute of the second half a wonderful team move resulted in a Ben Rooney goal. Bernard's responded within 10 minutes with a good finish from outside the box. It looked like it was to be one of those days, as the lads dominated possession and chances but could not find the net. Then came the breakthrough, five minutes from time, a bullet header by Adam Molloy from a Ben Rooney corner gave great relief and confidence to the lads as they recorded a hard-earned but deserved 2-1 win. The lads are on great form with two wins on the bounce and their next game is at home to Galway Hibernians in Raheen on Sunday at 6.30pm.
ICE COOL COLE WINS THE POINTS
WESTERN HYGIENE PREMIER DIVISION
Athenry 1- 0 Salthill Devon Moanbaun, wednesday 23rd june 2021
Well what a fantastic game of football, as both sides served up an enjoyable sporting encounter that we will certainly remember for this season. The shortened league format makes all points gained extra valuable and winning all 3 against one of Athenry's main rivals will go down well for the home side in what was often a committed and entertaining affair.
Cole Connolly grabbed the all important break through early in the first half through an opportunistic and cool finish when he lobbed the unfortunate Devon keeper. On the balance of play the single goal score line could and perhaps should have been more. Athenry's confidence is soaring at the moment and this win will add to their growing belief in their ability to seriously challenge once again for this seasons title.
Declan Cullen playing in defence showed what a versatile player he really is and the overall understanding between this side hasn't really diminished despite the enforced stop and start nature of the season. In actual fact it seems to be maturing into a well oiled machine under Athenry's management.
Athenry's keeper Forde was excellent between the posts showing a commanding presence with his communication with his defence in both halves and was imperious when called upon when Devon threatened. Indeed one of the Athenry stars of the FAI semi final versus Fairview last year almost came back to haunt his former team mates as Jackson De Silva went very close, only being denied by some fantastic goalkeeping agility by Forde once again.
Athenry's second half performance cemented this win as a combination of organisation, experience and youth countered anything that Devon could muster and Shaughnessy's clever wing play with Cunningham and Co launching possession based attacks made it a much more comfortable win than the score line would suggest.
BRADY DOUBLE KEEPS MOMENTUM GOING
U13 Premier League 19/06/21
Mervue United 0 - 5 Athenry FC
Brady x2, Zimmerer, Hannon, Quirke.
A smashing morning for football, where two accomplished sides made excellent efforts to play the beautiful game in the right way...... ‘on the ground'! Entertaining all through, the score line flattered the home team Athenry somewhat, …. but the victors today had a resolute defence, hardworking midfield and forwards with goals in them….Shay Brady (2) , Dara Zimmerer (1), Cian Hannon (1) and Shane Quirke (1) on the mark. All in all, a satisfactory home squad performance against gallant opposition in sunny conditions which highlighted all the finer qualities of juvenile football. Onwards and Upwards !
HONOURS EVEN AS CUNNEY SHINES
Result U15 Premier Girls - 13/06/2021 - Moanbaun, Athenry
Athenry 3 - 3 Bearna Na Forbacha
Scorers: Ruby Mullen, Tarron Kilkenny, Kerri O'Driscoll
Cracking game played in the heat at Moanbaun with some super goals from both teams. Athenry went ahead through a super cool finish from Ruby Mullen. Tarron Kilkenny doubled the lead leaving us 2-0 up at half time. Bearna came back into the game with two quick goals in the second half followed by a third later in the half. The Athenry team showed great spirit to get ahead again when Kerri O'Driscoll scored from a Ruby Mullen through ball. Athenry had a chance to snatch it at the end but a draw was probably fair at the end of the game. The back 4 of Hazel Burke, Cora Sweeney, Aine Mooney and Molly Geary were immense backed up by some outstanding saves by Ciara Cunney. The midfield of Eaodain Brannelly (C), Tarron, Alison McGreevy, Sophie Costello, Victoria Lundstrum & Sheena Powell worked tirelessly all day whilst Kerri, Ruby and Lily Warde got two goals between them and were a constant threat up front. Well done girls.
ATHENRY 3 - 1 CORRIB RANGERS
Western Hygiene Premier - moanbaun - 12th June 2021
Athenry FC 3, Corrib Rangers 1,
Scorers: Adam Duffy x2, Garvan Broughall
Assists: Adam Duffy & Dan Cunningham
Despite conceding an early goal Athenry showed their discipline as they levelled shortly afterwards through an Adam Duffy penalty. It looked like Duffy was enjoying being back on the pitch as he helped himself to another to make it 2-1 before the half time break. with Rangers looking to equalise Athenry had to dig in at times but weathered anything that Rangers threw at them and it was the home side who scored the third through Garvan Broughall to take all three points on the day to move comfortably into mid table with maximum point from their two games played.
GR8 ATHENRY COME BACK
Under 13 Boys Division 4 12/06/21
Maree/Oranmore B 2 - 8 Athenry FC
Lovely evening in Oranmore for the resumption of the U13 Division 4 season. Oranmore were out of the blocks right from the start of this encounter and aided with a fresh breeze found themselves 2 nil up within the first 10 minutes. A superb free kick by Darragh Lally got Athenry back into the game and the midfield duo of Richard Humphries & Danny Petrius then took command of the game. Two quick goals from the lighting fast Luke Geary assisted by Liam Murphy brought Athenry into the break 3-2 ahead. Another Darragh Lally goal early in the second half followed by a Jeff Ogunbayo header really put the game to bed as a contest. Despite late Oranmore pressure, the Athenry back four of Cian, Dara, Keelan, Ethan and goalkeeper Robert refused to let them pass. A late Fionn Branagan hat trick really put the icing on the cake. Great to have the lads back playing and enjoying themselves again, especially after the last number of months.
DONOGHUE & TOMAS COMBINE FOR TERRIFIC AWAY DAY WIN
Under 12A PREMIER DIVISION 12/06/21
AFC boys 12A played Premier leaders Mervue Utd yesterday morning and came away with a well deserved 1 nil win! Shane Tomas got the winner with a well worked effort combining with Rian Donoghue to stick it in the net! There were some superb performances across the entire team, notably in midfield with Cillian Smyth and Alan Duffy dictating play. The defence of Keelan McDermott, Finn O’Shea, Devon Crawford, Andrew Gill and Cian Greaney stifled Mervue's attack and let very little past them. Tireless work rate from Fionn Brannagan, Conor Hickey and Oran Greaney also. Both Athenry keepers pulled off super saves in both halves to give Athenry a great win away from home! Well done lads!