ATHENRY FC MATCH REPORTS 2019/20 SEASON
In a very disjointed season that was stopped in its tracks by a world pandemic Covid 19 (coronavirus) it was testament to the club and its players and supporters (who couldn't attend live games) to carry on regardless!
Below are the match reports from the year and anyone reading these in years to come may not be fully aware of the impact that this virus caused around the globe. But Athenry AFC battled through to an FAI Junior Cup semi final and had their season curtailed as they were poised to make a serious challenge for the title once again.
Underage soccer was also affected massively with whole seasons and cup competitions just cancelled. So with this in mind we keep these reports as a lasting history and chronicle of what the club has done over the years especially on the pitch. So read for posterity and a bit of nostalgia and let us think about the 2019/2020 and realise that yes football is important, but life is also and remember we got through it and will come out of the tunnel stronger as a result.
O'DONOVAN'S INJURY TIME ELATION NOT ENOUGH
FAI NEW BALANCE JUNIOR CUP
semi final 22nd aug 2020
Fairview Rangers 1-1 Athenry AFC
x1 Clyde O'Connell x1 Colm O'Donovan
(Fairview win 5-3 on pens aet)
Athenry exited the FAI Junior Cup at the semi final stage as they succumbed to the lottery that is penalties at The Fairgreen, Limerick. Due to Coronavirus restrictions attendance was not allowed for supporters, although the full match and build up was available on both clubs social media pages courtesy of Full Time Productions and the FAI. With Fairview Rangers having home advantage it was no surprise as they adjusted much more quickly and came out of the blocks speedily. Their visitors Athenry took a while longer to become accustomed to the pitch and conditions as the match progressed.
With the impetus very much with Fairview in the early stages Athenry were once again grateful to their hero of the quarter final Jackson De Silva as his sheer strength and skilful tackling saw off a challenge for Athenry in the first few minutes. With Healy's nerves tested by Fairviews Clyde O'Connell's shot, there was no let up from the home side as they probed Athenry's defensive capabilities. James Healy once again was called into action to block another chance as Athenry started to grow into the game as the first half progressed. Strong tackling was the order of the day with no quarter asked from each side as the game continued. Athenry kept working away and they were almost rewarded when O’Donovan went close with his effort just inches over.
This game was becoming a battle as another vital De Silva interception broke up play once again, this time out muscling Fairview's Ross Mann after a promising attack from the home side. Then a moment of concern as a clash of heads between Athenry's Nathan Ward and Aaron Leggett leaving Leggett needing treatment. Then another move by Fairviews Mullane once again thwarted by De Silva's timely block and pass away from danger. The nature of this scrappy game was confirmed when Duffy went down under a crunching and late tackle from Fairview's O'Connell who could be forgiven as it was a full blooded challenge by both players. The referee preferred to talk to the player and not show a card for the moment.
The first half was turning into a messy affair with most of Athenry's half chances being built from their defensive foundations and at times being put under pressure from the Limerick team which they weathered well. Athenry's midfield worked tirelessly to make openings and use all of the pitch to fashion an opener.
Another well placed pass from Athenry on the half hour from O'Donovan to Fahy promised much more but it ran to safety. Athenry were still defensively sound though and this was confirmed as Healy's excellent diving save on 35 minutes kept the ball out of the net for the visitors as the half time whistle would give Athenry's manager Dave Crimmins plenty to think about. With chances limited for Athenry's attack the industry from Shaugnessy on the wing as well as Fahy and Moran trying to break down Fairviews defence would hopefully reap rewards in the second half.
Second half and no changes but this was an improved Athenry performance as the half began with Fahy working hard in tandem with O'Donovan to find a break through. 60 minutes in and a great chance as a Healy long punt found Duffy whose strong strike was acrobatically saved one handed by Aaron Savage, the Fairview keeper who kept the score at 0-0 and this was followed up as a Garvan Broughall strike was safely gathered up by Savage once again into his midriff. This was a much better second half from the Galway side as a Duffy free kick made Savage work once more.
Fairview were still very much a danger as they worked the wings putting pressure on Gary O'Connell whose work rate was admirable and very much on display. Athenry coped well as the pressure increasingly rose as the seconds ticked by. No break in the deadlock from either side as it looked like extra time beckoned. Then a disputed moment as Duffy went sliding into a challenge on Fairview Rangers Number 9 Ross Mann which the referee deemed was inside the box. He pointed to the spot which Clyde O'Connell duly dispatched with aplomb, sending Healy the wrong way to give Fairview what looked like their passage into the FAI Junior Cup final on 89 minutes.
With time almost out Athenry sent the ball forward once again to the left. Not for the first time Duffy found himself in possession, laying the ball off to Leggett from the wing. Leggetts fleetness of foot saw his accurate cross find De Silva in an advanced role in the penalty area and his chested lay off saw O'Donovan unleash a superb shot which rolled down his shin before connecting with his foot for a sublime finish. Cue Athenry relief and jubilation from the bench and on the pitch.
A lifeline for Athenry with this goal as the final whistle sounded and extra time got underway. This time it was Athenry on the front foot as O'Donovan after just two minutes was through on goal with just the keeper ahead only to be stopped for an offside flag that caused consternation on the maroon bench as play was called back. With so much at stake it was no surprise that the game reverted back to a cagey affair and with ten minutes a half being played in extra time it was skirmish after skirmish all over the pitch and with the two sides unable to be separated by any more goals it was onto the lottery of penalties.
Penalties are a test of skill and a game of chance all at the same time and Fairview Rangers have had their fair share of penalty dramas recently as 3 of their last 4 matches have been decided by them. With this recent experience they came out on top 5-3 on the day with over 1800 people watching the shoot out online. We are grateful to the FAI and Full Time Productions for their work here which showed the match in its entirety.
This campaign will be remembered fondly for this run in the FAI Cup competition by Athenry as much as for what may have been in other competitions. We really do wish Fairview Rangers, with their proud history in the competition, all the best and will be watching the final with one eye on the excellent teams that will be involved and perhaps with one eye on the trophy.
A cliche we know but 'Onwards and Upwards' and roll on next season which is just around the corner. To ALL football teams across the county and country we salute you for the enjoyment you have given to us this season and for the fortitude shown by ALL players, & supporters. It is certain, for sure, that we will remember this very strange and convoluted 2019/20 campaign for a long, long time.
Athenry- James Healy, Gary O'Connell, Aaron Leggett, Jackson De Silva, Nathan Ward, Ray Moran, Ryan Shaughnessy, Garvan Broughall, Colm Fahy, Colm O'Donovan, Adam Duffy.
Subs: Cole Connolly, Declan Cullen, Paddy Quinn, Jamie O'Driscoll, Lucas De Paula,
Fairview Rangers- Aaron Savage, Shane Costello, Jamie Enright, Mark Slattery, Clyde O'Connell, John Mullane, Steven Bradley, Jeffery Judge, Conor Keane, Adam Frahill, Ross Mann.
Subs: Robbie Kelleher, James Fitzgerald, Liam Byrnes, Eddie Byrnes
ITS A RUSH TO THE SEMI FINALS FOR ATHENRY
ATHENRY 3-2 RUSH ATHLETIC
FAI JUNIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL, moanbaun, athenry.
x1 O'Donovan, x1 Adam Duffy, x1 Nathan Ward
Athenry advanced to a mouth watering semi final in this blue riband of events that is the FAI Junior Cup. They will be up against 8 times winners Fairview Rangers of Limerick. Despite the swirling wind and rain that threatened this FAI Junior Cup Quarter final at Moanbaun, it was a testament to the club and its hard working members that the pitch was in excellent condition as the game kicked off and what a start it was. With the wind affecting both sides, precision passing in the initial stages was at a premium, but with the referee playing advantage and letting play run smoothly it was a long range Colm O'Donovan shot that flew into the net leaving the Rush goalkeeper leaping after thin air after only 7 minutes. This gave the home side the confidence to start opening up the game and shortly afterwards a penalty was superbly slotted home by Adam Duffy to put further daylight between the two sides. With Rush gaining ground as the half progressed, it was Da Silva who stood firm in the Athenry back line to show what a growing reputation the Brazilian has, as he gave a no holds barred lesson in how to defend. With the visitors profligate with their set pieces in the first half the ascendancy became Athenry's as a Nathan Ward opportunistic header was directed home, after some head tennis in the Rush box gave the men from Galway County a third. If Athenry were in any doubt about the resilience of their County Dublin visitors then this was put to the test as they grabbed a penalty to put themselves back into the game just before half time. With an expected onslaught to come at the turnaround, it was a real show of character from both sides, as the game created chances for the watching crowd and the many more viewing online. With Rush Athletic tightening up on their set pieces, this time another penalty scored put the game back in the balance, but with more resolute defending and excellent workrate from Ray Moran and Garvan Broughall in Athenrys midfield the home side cruised into the semi finals.
ATHENRY MADE TO WORK HARD FOR AWAY WIN
SFAI Sketchers National Cup U16 - Last 32
In Carrowbunnaun, Co. Sligo
Strand Celtic 0, Athenry FC 3,
Scorers: Finnian Coughlin, Conor Wilson & Liam Mulveen
Athenry made the trip to Sligo for a tough encounter with Strand Celtic in the U16 SFAI National Cup last 32. The game started lively enough with Athenry playing up the hill and against the wind, the Athenry boys started well with Finnian Coughlan causing trouble down the left wing and only a good save by the keeper kept him out. On 15 minutes a super move saw Liam Mulveen release Conor Wilson down the right, Conor powered past the the full back and delivered a great ball for the inrushing Dara McCartin who was pulled to the ground and Athenry were awarded a penalty. Finnian buried the resulting penalty to the roof of the net for a great start for the away side. Athenry had to withstand some serious pressure for the remainder of the half, the back four led by Cian Flannery withstood everything the home side could throw at them.
Strand started the second half brightly and had a glorious chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty only to see it come back off the post, which the ever alert Eoghan Burke cleared out of danger. Dara Fahy and Thomas Fleet began to take control in the centre of the park with Athenry starting to turn the screw and with 20 minutes remaining the impressive Conor Wilson got the vital second goal, having followed up his own shot off the crossbar to put the ball past the keeper. Five minutes later the game was put beyond doubt when Liam Mulveen headed home a Coughlan corner.
A great result and a great effort from all the lads for Athenry who now face Cherry Orchard from Dublin in the last 16.
VICTORY BUILT ON ROCK SOLID DISPLAY BY ASAFA & THE BOYS
26/01/20 Athenry B 2-1 Oranmore B (Youth)
Athenry Team: Goalkeeper-Alan Kelly, Defenders-James Melia, David Asafa, Jack Burke, Nathan Jarvis, Colm Moran, Midfielders-Conor Trehy, Matthew Moloney, Eoin Lydon, Paddy Loughrane, Tomas Murphy, Conor Forde, Forwards-Richard Stoker, Callum Carroll.
The first 20 minutes of this match saw Athenry getting used to playing together again after a 2 month break and their new winter break signings settling into the team, and the signs were good with all players putting in a lot of effort on a soft pitch. Chances were at a premium but Athenry definitely edged the half with a number of half chances being created but not taken and an incredible 30 yard strike from Conor Trehy cannoning off the bar. Richard, Callum and Matthew were starting to put moves together and opening up the Oranmore defence but most credit in the first half went to the Athenry defensive unit which saw Eoin, Jack, Colm and Paddy tying up the flanks and Conor Trehy, David and Nathan proving impassable down the middle, and when Oranmore attempted to go long to make something happen Athenry's 'stand in' keeper proved to be not just a safe pair of hands but also brave and fast off his line as and when required. Half time came with a predictable 0–0 scoreline but with an acknowledgement that it was the best defensive performance of the season.
The second half saw Oranmore pick up the intensity but Athenry were still able to handle everything that was thrown at them. Which was not to say that Athenry weren’t also causing the Oranmore defence problems as well. Callum was being pushed and pulled as Oranmore struggled to contain him and Richard was, as usual, constantly looking for the right ball which was exactly what happened about 20 minutes in when he outpaced the defender to hit a sweet half-volley from just outside the box into the roof of the net.
And they say that you are at your most vulnerable just after you have scored and so it proved as the next 10-15 minutes saw Oranmore have their most dominant period of the match. Alan , David, Nathan, Jack, Colm and Conor continued to battle against a rising tide of free kicks, corners and stronger and stronger tackling from both teams and at last, they cracked and the Oranmore right wing found himself free and able to fire a cross shot into the corner of the net.
The fear was that Oranmore would push on but the introduction of the fresh legs of Tomas and Conor Forde into midfield and James into the backline saw Athenry regain a foothold in the game. Athenry saw a great effort deflected away from the Oranmore keeper and looking goalbound but the keeper stretched out an arm and kept the ball out. This was looking to be the last best chance of the match and despite both sides pushing for the winner, it was looking like a draw but in the final minute, the continuous probing through balls from Conor at last paid off with Callum latching onto a pass just as the Oranmore keeper came out, he was able to put the keeper under enough pressure to see the ball bobble out to Richard and Richard was able to out muscle 2 Oranmore defenders to get the ball over the line for a victory that Athenry marginally deserved.
Athenry have much to work on after this but the effort and improving teamwork shown in this match gives great hope for the rest of the season. Goals win games but defenders get the most plaudits for this one and while special credit must be given to Alan for stepping in as keeper at short notice and giving a strong performance, it was David who proved to be Man of the Match as he was the rock against which the Oranmore attacking tide crashed time and time again.
NINE GOAL THRILLER SEES ATHENRY PROGRESS
FAI New Balance Junior Cup - Last 32
Sunday 12th Jan, 2020 in Carramore, Castlebar
Manulla FC 4, Athenry FC 5, after extra time
Scorers: Adam Duffy, Colm O'Donovan, Nathan Ward & Cathal Fahy x2
Assists: Adam Duffy x2 & Ray Moran x2
If the creator of 'Roy of the Rovers' came up with the story of the FAI Irish Junior Cup match at Manulla on Sunday, his editor would probably have turned it down as being too far-fetched! 9 goals with the winner coming in the last minute of extra-time. In a 11-minute nightmare between the 14th and 25th minute, Athenry were hit with two brilliant long-range goals from Gerry Canavan and Mattie Nolan and sandwiched between them was a tap-in by Chris Maughan following a simple goalkeeping error. Added to the disappointment was the fact that the linesman flagged the third goal as offside but changed his mind having spoken to the referee. Towards the end of the first half, a neat chip from Aaron Leggett seemed to have crossed the Manulla goal-line but it hadn't and was cleared to safety.
A lesser group of footballers might have given up at this point but the opposite was the case. Athenry came out for the second half full of belief in themselves and were on top throughout the half. Five minutes in, left-back Aaron Leggett was upended as he was through on goal and Adam Duffy stepped up to take the penalty. His effort hit the Manulla net but Mayo referee Dermot McGrath had seen an infringement and ordered the kick to be re-taken. Same kicker, same result - Manulla: 3, Athenry: 1. Still on top throughout the field, Colm O'Donovan ran on to a through-ball from Ray Moran and slotted home Athenry's second in the 65th minute. Still a goal behind, who but Captain Fantastic, Cathal Fahy, rounded the keeper eight minutes later to hit the equaliser. The large travelling support went wild but the drama was far from over.
With seven minutes of normal time remaining, former Galway United player Jesse Devers struck from the edge of the box. At first, it seemed that the ball had gone wide but in fact it had gone through a hole in the net. Manulla: 4, Athenry: 3. Then, when Athenry midfielder Ryan Shaughnessy broke through but with only the goalkeeper to beat, sliced his shot wide of the post, it seemed that Athenry's chance had gone but no - within a minute, Athenry were awarded their second penalty! Could this be the equaliser? No, an incredible double-save by Matty Flanagan, first from the penalty, then from the rebound and it looked as if Manulla had braved the onslaught.
Wrong! In the last minute of added time, centre-half Nathan Ward got his toe to the ball in a crowded goalmouth and Athenry were back on level terms. Extra-time. Athenry had introduced substitutes Jamie O'Driscoll, Jason Gorham, Lucas de Paulo and Nathan Healy. Goalkeeper James Healy had a shoulder injury but decided to play on. No score in the first half of extra-time and everyone was resigned to a penalty shoot-out when up pops Cathal Fahy and with a deft close-in header from Adam Duffy's corner, sent Athenry into the last 16 of the Irish Junior Cup. Following this display, Athenry FC should fear no opposition when the 5th round draw is made on Wednesday.
FOURMIDABLE HANNON SUPREME IN CONNACHT CUP
Connacht FA Cup U12 In Moanbaun
Athenry FC 7-3 Carrick Town (Leitrim)
Scorers: Cian Hannon x4, Eoin Doyle, Eoghan Cooley & Senan McDonnell
Everyone was back today after the Festivities on a damp day in Moanbaun! Carrick Town having travelled a long distance met a team this afternoon not in the mood for mediocrity. Fast paced, quick passing and a fair degree of determination saw Athenry in a commanding 4-1 lead at half time. To their credit Carrick Town showed renewed vigor after half time, came into the game, and scored a deserved second goal. Tick for tack for the rest of the game with Athenry coming out 7-3 winners. Scorers today Eoghan Cooley, Cian Hannon, Senan Mc Donnell and Eoin Doyle. Thanks to all who provided refreshments afterwards for Carrick Town much appreciated by home and away supporters, and a special word of thanks to our groundsmen Pete and Tommy, not easy manage pitches this time of year . Onwards and upwards !
TOP SPOT FOR MAROON GIRLS
GFA Girls U13 Premier Sunday 15th December.
Salthill Devon 3-7 Athenry FC
Scorers: Kerri O'Driscoll x5 & Molly Noone x2
This was a superb game of good football, goals and a determination from both sides to entertain. The weather was so cold for those watching that the excitement on the pitch would surely have warmed the viewing spectators on the sidelines.
With Athenry in the ascendancy from the off it was Kerri O'Driscoll and Molly Noone who found their feet quickly and their finishing was superb as the home side couldn't live with their pace, fortitude and finishing, indeed Athenry's team display was pleasing for the management as they strongly defended and as Devon just couldn't break through they were able to spray the ball around at will as possession was dominated by the visitors.
Four nil up at half time Athenry seemed to relax at the turn around allowing their hosts to storm back to a nail biting 4-3 scoreline. With team captain Aine Mooney rallying the troops on the pitch for an extra push and extra effort Athenry still had enough in the tank to redouble their efforts as they pushed on, with the team gelling once again they scored another three goals to put some distance between the teams as they romped home......eventually. They stormed to the top of the table for the Christmas break in emphatic style.
Well Done to this young side and especially to all the parents/guardians who turned out in very poor conditions to support by sides, thank you to Salthill Devon for their hospitality on the day.
LATE RALLY SCUPPERS ATHENRY
Galway FA U15 Division 1 Raheen, Athenry
Athenry B 2-3 Cregmore Claregalway FC B
Scorer: Liam Shaw x2 Ref: Ger Cahill
Match Report :
It was another disappointing Saturday for Athenry U15B at home to Cregmore. The boys threw away a 2-1 lead with 5 minutes to play and ended up losing 2-3.
Athenry started the game well in the first half dominating the ball without really creating much. They had a few shots on target but failed to follow up on goalkeeper errors or getting into the box in good positions to finish. Late on in the first half Cregmore chipped over the Athenry defense and they brilliantly finished to make it 0-1. Moments later they had another great chance to score inside the box but it was ruled offside.
At the break Athenry felt hard done by to be one goal behind after some good passages of play in the first half from the home side. They made some changes before the restart, pushing Liam and Finn into the front positions and Sam coming into the back four. Straight away Athenry looked a real threat up front with Liam crashing over the bar. They didn’t have long to wait for their reward and it came from neat work between Ben and Finn before the ball landed at the feet of Liam who passed it by the keeper to make it 1-1 with a sublime finish.
Athenry dominated the next 20 minutes and came close once again with a fantastic effort from Finn and they took the lead with a superb counter attack. Finn was set loose on the right, he cut it across the box to an unmarked Liam who smashed it home to make it a very much deserved 2-1 scoreline. Athenry went to see the match out but with 5 minutes to play lost control of the game with some bad decision making and got punished twice with their center backs out of position and Cregmore took full advantage with two good finishes to finish the game 2-3 winners.
A somewhat disappointing result for the Athenry lads who must continue playing for the full 70 minutes in terms of concentration and endeavour. With another double from in form Shaw and other notable displays Man of the Match for the Athenry boys on the day went to Killian Smyth for his performance on the day.
TOWERING MEEHAN HEADER ENOUGH TO EDGE IT
SFAI Sketchers Cup U12 - Regional semi final. Sat 14th Dec, in Oranmore
Maree Oranmore 0-0 Athenry FC Scorer: Cian Meehan
Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! A festive tone, but it was anything but festive, 'baltic' it was in Oranmore this morning! However our 12's did what was required with a perfect soccer score....
1-0, all players sticking to their job.
A number of casualties through the flu and injury today, but that did not curb the boys enthusiasm for the mission. A brilliant Eoghan Cooley run down the right wing, with an accomplished cross to the back post which was headed powerfully to the net by our own 'Peter Crouch' aka Cian Meehan! A competitive game in cold conditions, with little between the sides, saw Athenry take the spoils on this occasion. Onwards and upwards. Ref: Jennifer Fri
Maree Oranmore and Athenry FC meet again in the last 32 of the National Cup on the weekend of Jan 25th/26th.
MEHDI SHINES AS HOGAN SCORES
Galway FA U13 Championship In Moanbaun, Athenry
Athenry FC 1-1 Craughwell United Scorer: Ronan Hogan
Report: Great team performance by the whole squad, Athenry had most of the possession in the first half in windy conditions, restricting the league leaders Craughwell to only one chance in the first half, the lads put in some serious effort in the second half, this time against the wind and they got their reward going one nil up. Craughwell scored ten minutes from time, through a somewhat controversial offside decision, it was unlucky but we will go again. MotM: Mehdi Moulaoui
Ref: Ger Cahill
SHAW DOUBLE NOT ENOUGH TO STEM THE FLOW
Galway FA U15 Division 1 In Moanbaun
Athenry B 4, Knocknacarra B 9,
Scorers: Cillian Lally, Colm Leahy & Liam Shaw x2
Ref: Vincent Carew
It was another very frustrating Saturday for the Athenry U15B side against league leaders Knocknacarra. Once again this team produced two very different displays first and second half in an encounter that had plenty of entertainment and goals.
The boys started off very well and were on game from the first whistle creating three excellent chances in the first 15 minutes. Liam Shaw, Cillian Lahy, Ben Shiels all having chances to open the scoring but failed to work the keeper. Against the run of play Knocknacarra took the lead from the wide left position, getting in behind the defence and slotting by Gavin Lane in goals. It wouldn’t be the first ball he was to take out of the net on a busy day in the sticks.
It wasn’t long before Athenry leveled with good work from Lally and Shiels and then eventually it was slid across to Colm Leahy to tap in for a well deserved equalizer. Knocknacarra came forward again in the wide left position and made it 2-1 with almost half an hour played. Once again the lead lasted minutes as a brilliant solo effort from Liam Shaw placed him one on one with the keeper and he passed it in to make the score 2-2 at the break. Over the run of play Athenry will feel as if they should have been ahead on the number of chances created.
The second half started very scrappily by Athenry and they lost the battle in the middle which that they had won in the first half. Knocknacarra were dangerous on both flanks all game and switched attacks down the right. This resulted in two quick goals to make it 4-2. A 5th and 6th followed fairly quickly afterwards as Athenrys full backs came up against quality pacers by attackers on the opposition side. Athenry pulled one back through a well taken finish by a busy Cillian Lally to make it 6-3 with 20 minutes to play. That hope for Athenry soon faded as a couple of more well taken pacey attacks opened up the Athenry back four a number of times to make the score 8-3.
Liam Shaw came back into the game for Athenry to show more hunger and grabbed his second and Athenry's fourth with a rebound shot off the cross bar falling back to him to tuck home. With the score at 8-4 the boys continued to work hard but had endured a very tough second half and eventually conceded a 9th with a soft penalty. The final score ended 4-9 in favour of a good Knocknacarra side but on the first half display from Athenry this should have been a much closer game. Liam Shaw had a good game, along with Ben Shiels and Athenry's man of the match performance went to Cillian Lally .
EIGHT CARAT GOLD PERFORMANCE
GFA U18 Championship In Moanbaun, Athenry
Athenry FC 8, Knocknacarra FC 0,
Scorers: Liam Kelly x2, John Gray x2, Sean Forde & Gavin Gilmore x3
Ref: Martin Conneely
U18 Championship Athenry v Knocknacarra Sun 17th Nov
A cold and at times breezy sunny Sunday afternoon served up a feast of goals for the home side in Moanbaun. To use the old phrase it was a game of two halves. John Gray put Athenry ahead with a wonderful curling shot from 25 yards that found the top right hand side of the goal on 3 minutes. That should have settled down the team in maroon, but Knocknacarra had other ideas and were stubborn, yet at times creative with the ball and could have had an equaliser with a number of opportunities.
Conditions underfoot were challenging and it didn't make for pretty football. The visitors didn't convert their chances. Athenry doubled their lead when Liam Kelly added another goal with a well taken penalty on 32 minutes after he was fouled by the out stretched hands of the visitors goalie. Both sides had chances before the break, and though Eoin Gavin played some incisive passing football, Athenry couldn't add to their two goal tally.
The football was better from Athenry in the second half and Knocknacarra found the pressure unrelenting, this culminated in another goal from Johnny Gray from an acute angle close to the end line to bring the scoreline to 3-0 after 50 minutes. With Gavin Gilmore having switched from right back to left midfield at half time he grew in stature and was a handful for their defenders. He soon netted the ball. The home team were cruising, when Sean Forde seized his opportunity on the hour mark. Special mention to Cathal Yaxley who stood in for the injured Cormac Feeney between the posts and his quick reflexes kept the visitors at arms length. Liam added another goal for his brace with 20 minutes to go.
Athenry were now very composed at the back, and dealt easily with any threats from Knocknacarra. Gavin Gilmore completed his hat-trick with well taken goals in the 82nd and 88th minute, he could have had a few more, along with chances from his team mates, with the post and crossbar being hit from several long range strikes. Cian Carmen was welcomed back as captain, and proved again his strengths and tenacity in central defence alongside the resolute Jack Dillane. Josh Brennan went about his business in his usual composed manner at left back adding to the back four and Cathal keeping a clean sheet. 8-0 it finished. Three wins from three in the Championship.
DANIELS HEROICS CANT STOP DEVON ON THE PLASTIC PITCH
17/11/19 Salthill B 4-2 Athenry B
Athenry Team: Goalkeeper Daniel Glynn, Defenders James Melia, David Asafa, Jack Burke, Alan Kelly, Keith Giblin, Colm Moran, Midfielders Conor Trehy, Nathan Jarvis, Mika Harun, Eoin Lydon, Paddy Loughnane, Tomas Murphy, Darragh Fahy, Forwards Richard Stoker
Salthill hit Athenry like a train on their new long, wide 4g Astroturf pitch and it took Athenry most of the first half to get used to a game that stretched the back four constantly. Athenry defenders didn't drop their heads though and James, Jack, David and Alan were always prepared to make last ditch saving tackles which were needed to keep Athenry in the game. Assisted by a battling midfield where Conor, Nathan ,Mika and Paddy were providing resilient support.
Nevertheless Daniel was regularly called upon and he kept Salthill out with a string of fine saves which have become his trademark.There was nothing he could do about Salthill’s sole goal on the half hour mark which was a header from 6 yards out which he still managed to make a block bravely but that wasn’t enough to prevent the ball spiralling into the roof of the net.
Athenry started getting into the game as the half came to an end and Eoin, Conor, Mika and Nathan were starting to find and support Richard while Paddy minded the fort. Richard had a couple of opportunities and it looked like Athenry were going to get to the break 1-0 down and with the improving team having the advantage of a decent carrying wind in the second half but just before half time, Salthill had a corner and in the melee in the box, the Salthill centre forward managed to spin and fire the ball into the roof of the net.
Athenry hit the second half determined to get a goal back and Richard was working hard to find space and test the keeper. It seemed to be only a matter of time before Athenry halved the deficit but Salthill hit them on the break and the third goal looked decisive. Athenry could have been forgiven for dropping their heads but instead they got even stronger , helped by the introduction of Keith, Tomas and Darragh. A through ball from Nathan sent Richard through one on one with the Keeper and with the form Richard is in these days, there was only one result.
This galvanised Athenry to greater efforts and in an about turn to the first half, it was the Salthill defence that found themselves stretched to prevent further goals with Richard and Tomas in particular seeing good chances being blocked. As is often the case, Athenry’s best chance to make it 3-2 was kept out and Salthill, almost immediately, went to the other end of the pitch to make it 4-2 against a defence caught up the pitch.
Still Athenry pressed and in an almost carbon-copy of their first goal, Nathan sent a through ball for Conor to sprint past the Salthill defence and show that Richard wasn’t the only Athenry player who could finish confidently. Athenry continued to create good half chances but time was against them and Salthill saw the game out .
Pluses and minuses in the Athenry performance, at times they played like a team that was still learning to play together and as this was only their second proper game, that was understandable but the game also highlighted the ability of the players and their will to fight for a result so the future looks promising.
AWSOME TEAM DISPLAY CAPPED OFF BY CONOR HAT TRICK
Galway FA U15 Championship In Mervue
Mervue Utd B 4-5 Athenry FC
Scorers: Conor Lawless x3, Alex Howard & Ciaran Brown
Ref: Mikey Walsh
Team: jack (gk), calum,cathal,dion,william (back line) alex,mark,adam,matt (center) ciaran and nathan (front)
Athenry came up against Mervue B in their second league game of the season as the boys went out this morning in a very frosty morning. Athenry got tip off and were underway at Mervues ground. The lads started off very strongly and it was just a matter of time until they scored. About 5 minutes into the game the ball fell kindly to Ciaran after a very strong but what was deemed a fair challenge by Adam Casey and Ciaran with a one v one slotted the ball into the top left hand corner to much celebration. So now with a confident Athenry having the lead at 1-0 it was only upwards from now with great play down the left hand side between Nathan and Alex with Alex grabbing his opportunity to unleash a rocket of a strike to make it 2-0. At this point we must mention Ciaran's good play on spreading the play to get it out to Nathan in the first place to set up the move that led to the goal. With strong defending from the back line keeping Mervue at bay Athenry showed signs of pulling back a bit during the end of the first half and they got punished with a simple finish into the near corner as Mervue took advantage and suddenly all of Athenry's hard work now let the home side back into the game... HT
Athenry, despite conceding were still confident of going into the break with a one goal lead away from their home pitch. So the second half started and Conor came on alongside Adam Lavelle. With a superb intelligent pass by Mark to Conor he was left one on one v the keeper once again and the composed Athenry player rounded the keeper with ease and slotted the ball into an empty net to make it 3-1 Athenry. Mervue quickly closed the gap by making it 3-2 shortly afterwards as concentration lapsed once more. But Athenry responded very well by yet another smart passage of play as a one two combination between Conor and Callum saw Conor get into a great position in the box and headed it into the net past the helpless keeper. Then when you thought it couldn't get much better super play by Callum and an excellent delivery into the box saw it 4-2 to Athenry.
Unfortunately Athenry made it difficult for themselves and did not keep that 2 goal cushion for very long as Mervue scored another one to make it 4-3 and make it a very exciting game! Athenry's response was absolutely top class with something you don't see very often which is a hat trick for Conor! An absolutely outstanding finish by him. Smashing it into the top corner on a hard angle to give an unassailable 5-3 lead, or so the visitors thought as Mervue got a free kick about 30 yards out and with probably the best strike of the game it was buried into the far top corner. 5-4. With nerves jangling a resolute Athenry defended well for the last final plays of the game and won it. Amazing performance by everyone involved with both teams. Honourable mentions must go to the whole team who played an amazing game of soccer. Well done lads you not only did yourselves and the Club proud but also us as coaches. Fantastic away win.
ATHENRY DESERVE MORE AS MULLINS IMPRESSES
Galway FA U15 Division 1 In Maree
Maree/Oranmore B 3-1 Athenry B Scorer: Cillian Lally
Ref: Lukasz Szkwarek
This was the fourth game of the season for the U15 Athenry B team in perfect conditions at a cold Maree. The squad continue to be hampered by long term injuries but were boosted with the return of Mark Cummins to the defence. The game started well for the Athenry boys and they had a lot of possession especially down the left wing by the hard working David Mullins and Cillian Lally. Ornamore always looked dangerous from deep positions through their number 11 and took the lead against the run of play with a long ball over the top which caused confusion in the Athenry back line. The attacking midfielder used his power to get on the end of it and beat an unfortunate Gavin Lane in goal. Athenry settled back into the game and Killian Smyth and Ben Shields started to dominate the middle of the park as the game wore on. The maroon boys hard work was eventually rewarded on the half hour mark from an excellent kick out from Lane and intelligent work by Lally to win the punt who latched onto his own header before passing the ball by the opposing flailing keeper. At the break the boys felt they should of been leading but at 1-1 this represented a decent score line.
In the second half it took ten minutes for the game to settle down with Oranmore applying plenty of pressure. Athenry made the changes with Daniel Tear and Bailey Goodfellow coming on to get their chance to impress. Within minutes Tear had played Ben Shields through with a well worked move and the attacking midfielder shot across the keeper with power, that should of been the second but just off target. Minutes later Lally went through again and hit his shot straight down the middle forcing a good save, with Athenry now on top with 25 minutes to play. But it wasn’t long before the tide turned against the run of play. With Oranmore winning a dubious corner, it ended up with a scramble on the goal line and it snuck in to give them a very fortunate 2-1 lead. Athenry continued to push on and made further changes from the side to freshen it up. They just couldn’t find the equalizer and with less than 8 minutes to play Oranmore grabbed a third after a great save initially by Lane fell back to the feet of the Oranmore striker who made it 3-1 . The Athenry boys to their credit kept going to the end and the game finished up Oranmore 3-1 Athenry. This is a match Athenry felt over the 70 minutes they should of won with a reverse scoreline. Football can be cruel at times and today was one of them games. Great performance from all the boys with a man of the match performance from David Mullins.
HEROIC STOKERS HAT TRICK CAN'T STOP LOSS
Galway FA U18 Div 2 In Raheen
Athenry B 3 - 6 Bearna Na Forbacha Aontaithe B
Scorer: Richard Stoker x3 Ref: Martin Conneely
A depleted Youth B squad faced top of the table Bearna B in very cold conditions today. The team fielded the bare eleven, with help from U16 Callum Stewart and U15 Marc Byrne. Bearna created more of the opening chances, and Athenry could only respond to the visitors positive play and did well to keep it scoreless after 20 mins. However Bearna used their possession advantage to net the ball in the 21st and 34th minutes and went in at the break two goals up. Some reorganisation at half time gave Athenry a foothold in the game with some good football being played in the centre of midfield by Mika Harum, along with solid defending by the two centre backs Conor Trehy and David Ajsafe. Against this more determined effort, Bearna put two more goals past the agile replacement goalie Alan Kelly, who pulled off some great saves during the game. That did not deter Athenry, who got a goal back via the boot of Richard Stoker. 1-4 on 62 minutes. There were another four goals scored in the remaining 11mins; two more for Richard for his hat-trick and two for the visitors. The game finished 3-6. But that did not reflect the overall closeness of the match. Athenry deserved to get something from the game, and on another day with a full strength team, the result may well have been in favour of the home side. #athenry_afc
ATHENRY'S ORAN KEEPS NERVE IN PENALTY SHOOT OUT
SFAI Skechers Cup U12 - In Taughmaconnell, Roscommon
Skyvalley Rovers 1, Athenry Football Club 1 (Shay Brady)
Athenry won 3-1 on penalties Scorers Niall McCarthy, Shay Brady & Josh Kearns
Athenry advance to last 32 of the SFAI u12 National Cup. A game with plenty of twists and turns. Athenry just about deserved their victory at Taughmaconnell today. Athenry controlled matters early on, but a clever break away and a cool lobbed finish by Skyvalley opened their account. Athenry attacked and attacked and eventually saw their reward with a headed goal from Shay Brady. Controversy then struck as Skyvalley denying a certain Athenry goal with a defender handling the ball on the line and seeing a red card! Athenry missed the penalty!
It was still 1-1, game on. Skyvalley had no option but to defend and that’s what they did bravely and valiantly until full time and extra time despite numerous Athenry assaults. Up stepped man of the moment goalkeeper Oran O'Shaughnessy stopping three penalties! Scorers for Athenry in the shootout Niall McCarthy, Shay Brady and Josh Kearns. Overall, a highly competitive game, with little between the teams. We meet this team again! Thanks to Skyvalley for their hospitality. A great boost for our u12 group. Onwards and Upwards
Hopefully the National draw will be good to us with a home fixture.!!
BAD DAY BUT GREAT RESULT AS ATHENRY HIT FIVE
ATHENRY 5-1 CORRIB CELTIC U15 FAI Sketchers Cup.
Team :- Dillion Quirke (GK), Callum, Senan, Conor, William (defence line) Adam L, Cahal (x1), Adam, Jack (x1) (center), Ciaran and Nathan (up front)
Subs- Alex (x3), Dion, Mark and Matt.
Today's match saw the boys play against a strong Corrib Celtic side in horrific weather conditions. Athenry were slow to get started and it took a while for them to get into the game and it was the visitors Corrib Celtic who pounced first with a strong attack and got their reward for it after only 5 minutes into the game when a cross was lifted into the Athenry box and Corrib got a somewhat lucky goal with a few deflections from the home team. Our lads were on the back foot after this but showed great endeavour to get back into the game and never gave up.
With strong passing from the midfield Athenry started to put pressure on the away team, and once they found their range and rhythm Athenry proceeded to get better through the first half as it progressed. Putting pressure on Corrib's two center backs they finally got their own reward with a good lay off from Adam Lavelle who set it up for a smashing strike by Cathal Lally, which took a slight deflection but none the less a fabulous bit of play between them both 1-1.
Going into halftime Athenry looked strong and the home side made a few changes with substitutes as Dion, Alex, Matt and Mark all came on. Athenry came out with fire in them and stronger with a confident glow as they had the slight advantage with the hill on their side. With this renewed vigour, despite the weather Athenry took full advantage with one twos by Nathan, Adam Casey and Matt who opened up a great amount of space for Ciaran to run into. Ciaran received the ball and crossed it into Alex who put the ball into the back of the net with great pleasure and ease to make it 2-1. Once again Athenry built up more momentum and got another opportunity with Matt whipping in a good cross for Alex to force a great header and pick out the far corner of the net to make it 3-1 to Athenry.
Some more lively interchanging with the ball as William, Cahal and Alex all kept Corrib on their toes as Athenry kept the pressure on once again to carve out another chance and this they did as a 4th opportunity beckoned to get a goal and it was taken with aplomb as Nathan got a ball over the top into the corner and found Alex, whose first touch unfortunately wasn't the best but he got a lucky deflection and from about 20 yards out whipped the ball into the bottom left hand corner to make it 4-1. An excellent finish for him and the team.
But the game nor Athenry were finished yet as they were totally in the ascendency now and with 5 minutes to go Nathan put high pressure on Celtics back four forcing a mistake and put Jack through on goal, which we all know he slotted away with ease to make it 5-1. With some great defending by Callum and Dion keeping Corrib at bay as they tried to push on they met with little success as the defensive line held firm. A fantastic result for the boys in not so great weather conditions, every player made a serious contribution to a great game.
Onwards and upwards.
ATHENRY'S HIGH INTENSITY WINS THROUGH
SFAI Cup U15 - In Moanbaun, Sat 14th, 2019
Athenry FC 7-0 Renmore
Scorers: Nathan Fox x3, Matthew Fitzgerald, Ciaran Brown, Connor lawless & an own goal.
Team - Dillion Quirke, Callum Redmond, Senan Treacy, Dion Belton, Alex Howard, Matthew Fitzgerald, Adam Casey, Conor Lawless, Adam Lavelle, Ciaran Brown, Nathan Fox.
Subs:Ryan Rabbit, Jack Kelleher, William Higgin.
Athenry under 15's went out this afternoon against Renmore, with great passion and excellent game play from kick off. They brought the game to the away team straight away, giving them no space. It was great to watch swift one two passing between Conor and Adam in midfield with support from Matt on the right wing. They kept Renmore pinned down and produced some great through balls to strikers Nathan and Ciaran. Whilst on the left wing Lavelle kept the game strong with great runs and crosses to Nathan just falling short as the Renmore defence kept Nathan under wraps.
Our back line became impenetrable with Alex on the left Dion & Senan in the centre giving Renmore no time to relax on the ball and Callum on the right putting some lovely balls through from Matthew. Dillion in goal, with great kick outs on and off the ground caused Renmore all sorts of problems. Midway through the half, Lavelle sent a super ball into the box with great accuracy and pace after excellent work down the right, leaving the Renmore defence helpless and putting the ball into their own net. This was a deserving lead going into half time.
It was a good score going into the second half as Athenry had a strong wind against them. The team had built up momentum going in, looking for a few more goals and using the wind to their advantage. Five minutes after the break Athenry got a free kick well into their own half, Dillon sent a great ball over the top that played Nathan through one on one with the keeper, Fox slotting it away nicely into the bottom left corner to make it 2-0. Athenry had Renmore pushed right back into their own half, a third goal was looming. Ciaran went through on goal and once again he produced a brilliant finish into the bottom left corner 3-0. Athenry did not hold back and were hungry for more. Nathan controlled the ball nicely from a flick on from Casey and then played a one two with Conor putting him through on goal and he slotted it into the bottom left corner with ease to make it four. Athenry continued to put pressure on the Renmore defence, a superb ball releasing Conor down the right wing once again as he crossed a teasing ball into the box, Nathan rose highest to put the ball past the helpless goalkeeper five nil, the interplay between Redmond and Kelleher was very pleasing on the eye. The intensity did not let up, overall it was outstanding and a great effort put in, Lavelle and Co. kept Renmore in their own half. Good play by Conor, Jack and Adam gave Alex an opportunity to get a shot away, with good goalkeeping by the opponents shot stopper keeping the shot away but great running off the ball gave Fitzgerald an easy finish into the empty net, he got the reward he deserved after a great work rate throughout the game. Near the end of the second half Athenry got a penalty, but the Renmore keeper denied the chance with a good save. Full time. A well deserved win by the under 15's, it was a great effort by all the players.
A bright future for the lads.
A DOUBLE FOR LAVELLE AS SUPERB KEEPING WINS THE DAY
Galway FA U15 CHAMPIONSHIP - Sat 31st Aug @ Raheen
Athenry FC 3-2 Kinvara Utd
Scorers: Adam Lavelle x2 & x1 Nathan Fox - Man of the Match: Jack Kelleher
Athenry U15 A's came out on top 3-2 against a strong Kinvara side in Raheen this afternoon The weather made things slippery underfoot as players from both sides struggled early on to get to grips with the heavy going. In the early stages of the game Athenry looked promising on the attack as a good break away was pulled back when they were clear through on goal, the referee harshly blowing for offside.
Shortly after this, Kinvara struck themselves, as a sweeping move saw the visitors left 3 on 2 against Athenry as they moved forward and this resulted in a goal, but Athenry stuck to their task and a beautiful ball to Adam Lavelle saw him side foot past the keeper to restore parity. Two minutes later Athenry hit the front as a near carbon copy ball found Adam once again, with the same result further enhancing the young strikers growing reputation. 2-1 Athenry and game on, in what was turning out to be an entertaining game of football.
Kinvara to their credit came back once again and on the stroke of half time a 'wicked' ball into the Athenry box from a free found the back of the net via deflection of a defenders head. 2-2 as the referee signaled the end of the half.
The second half began with both sides trying to kick on and control the game. Athenry had to deal with some running repairs as a number of players went down with knocks. Some excellent interplay between Jack Kelleher, Matt Fitzgerald and Callum Redmond on a break from the back led to a ball being fed into Nathan Fox who scored with aplomb via a fortunate slight bobble in front of the goalie. 3-2 to Athenry.
The rest of the game featured some heroic defending and tackling from Athenry with Kinvara pushing for an equaliser. With just five minutes left on the clock the referee showed Athenry goal keeper Dillan Quirke a straight red and this put Athenry very much on the backfoot. Jack Kelleher stepped into the goal and proceeded to make two massive saves from free kicks to effectively win Athenry the game.
Three points and a great start to the season despite the conditions. Well done to a tenacious U15A side who never gave up today.