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Match Report: Athlone Town AFC 3-3 Longford Town FC

Athlone Come From Three Down to Snatch a Draw

Football is full of clichés such as “goals win games”, “He’s scored too early”, “If it was on target, it would have been a goal” but the best one to describe El Classico tonight was “It was a game of two halves”.

It is difficult describe what happened in the first half, but we will try. With just four minutes on the clock Longford took the lead. A perfectly weighted Bastien Hery ball finding Adam Wixted between the Noah Van Geenen and Amardo Oakely. Former Athlone player Wixted calmly slotted the ball across Enda Mingoue for the lead.

Athlone grew into the game as the game went on and on 23 minutes Gideon Tetteth with Athlone’s first real shot on goal was always comfortable for Jack Brady.

Things would only get better for Longford who were very comfortable in possession and finding “Acres of Space”. From a corner on the left hand side, Wixted crossed the ball and Oisin Hand rose to head home and double the Longford lead.

Just before the half time whistle Longford added a third and it seemed to be game over as the corner from Hery was turned into his own net by Jarlet Jones and it seemed that was that. Athlone seemed despondent as they walked in at halftime and some of the crowd had seen enough.

Athlone started the Second half brightly but with no real end product and it was Longford who had the first real opening on the 53rd minute where Chris Lyons and Wixted combined well but it was cleared by the Athlone defence.

Dean Ebbe grabbed hold of the game and in the 60th minute he got one back for Athlone when former Athlone player Dean O Shea slipped allowing Ebbe to smash the ball home and give Athlone a lifeline.

With 70 minutes on the clock Ebbe pounced to get his and The Town’s second after a Jamal Ibrahim shot was saved by Brady the ball fell to Ebbe to guide it home and it was game on.

6 minutes later Shane Forbes who was introduced at the 45 minutes mark picked up the ball and drove at the heart of the Longford defence and slid in Ibrahim who made no mistake and found the back of the net and it was 3-3.

It was Athlone who were now in charge, and will probably disappointed not to be in front when Brian Torre found Ebbe who shot low but it was well saved by Brady. Athlone were reduced to 10 men when Oakley was sent off for a second yellow card after a reckless challenge.

Ten-man Athlone held on and will be happy with their second half performance but Longford will be looking at this as two points dropped.

AthloneTownAFC.ie spoke to Aaron Connolly after the game and asked his thoughts on tonights game. “We knew it wasn’t good enough in the first half and it’s been like that the last couple of weeks. We know we’re a better team than what we’re showing so at half-time we decided as a group to get back to the basics and try do them well. I think we did that and showed a bit of character which will give us confidence going down to Cork next week.”

Following match day six this result moves Athlone to fifth Longford still sit at the foot in the table but with three games less played than most other teams.


Athlone Town AFC: Enda Minogue, Jarlath Jones, Noah van Geenen (Abdul Barrie 72’), Daniel McKenna, Ruban Candal (Oisin Duffy 88’), Aaron Connolly ©, Dean Ebbe, Amardo Oakley, Jamal Ibrahim (Divine Izekor 79’), Gideon Tette (Shane Forbes 45’), Brian Torre

Unused Substitutes: Andrew Stuart Trainor, Dylan Gavin, Renei Batlokwa, Matthew Leal, Roscoe Rubinstein

Bookings: Oakley (33)(86), Barrie (91)

Sending Off: Oakley (86)

Attendance: 791

AthloneTownAFC.ie Man of The Match: Dean Ebbe

Three ATAFC Players Called Up to WU19 National Squad

Congratulations to Mary Philips, Katie Keane, and Hazel Donegan who were recently called up to the Ireland Women’s Under-19 squad for their upcoming UEFA Round 2 Euro Qualifiers next month!

The Girls in Green will take on:

Iceland on April 3rd

Austria on April 6th

Croatia on April 9th

Best of luck to the Mary, Katie, Hazel and the rest of the squad!

#ClubandCountry

Match Preview: v Longford Town

SSE Airtricity Men’s First Division: Athlone Town AFC vs Longford Town

Date: March 22nd 2024

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Venue: Athlone Town Stadium

Longford have had three games fall foul to the weather so far this season. They will eagerly look forward to the kick-off and kick start their season.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this much-anticipated match.

Longford have come out on the wrong side of their two games this season and will be looking to get their season started ahead of a hectic two weeks.

Athlone have been hit and miss in their games this season, but we hope to see the Athlone we saw in the first game of the season with the exciting attacking play. International call ups and injuries have caused problems this week for the manager, but we are hopeful the front three will continue to excite and cause problems for teams.

Dario Castelo stated, “It is in difficult times that you see the strength of the Athlone Town family and fans and the character of the professionals, from the players, coaches, and staff. All together and united this Friday night for another important game.”

Team News

Athlone Town AFC will be without Jamar Campion Hinds who is still sidelined with an injury but on the road to recovery. Noah Van Geenen is doubtful having missed out the last two games with injury. Our centre back options are limited as Dylan Hand is suspended and German Fuentes Rodriguez is away on international duty as well as Carl Mujaguzi.

Past Encounters

El Clasico seldom fails to entertain with Pierrot announcing himself last year in style and then getting an early bath for his trouble, to his wonderful goal in Longford last year in added time to settle the tie. The game in Athlone in June was the most eventful with Athlone winning 1-0 but the game saw the match referee produce the red card on four occasions, all justified to be fair.

Key Players to Watch

Athlone Town AFC, Ruben Candal has been great on his return to fitness and has looked really exciting so far.

Longford Town, Chris Lyons brings a wealth of experience to their club as he has more than 300 League of Ireland games under his belt scoring 74 times and is expected to be their danger man tonight.

Match Tickets
Tickets for the game can be purchased here.

Referee Team
Referee:
Chris Sheehan
1st Assistant Referee: Conor Fitzgibbon
2nd Assistant Referee: Aaron Pisarnik
4th Official: Robert Dowling

One Hundred Years On: ATAFC FAI Cup Success

One hundred years ago today, Athlone Town AFC won it’s first major honour.

March 17th, 1924. Back then, the competition was named the Free State Cup, which served as the precursor to the FAI Cup. Athlone’s opponents in the final at Dalymount Park were the Cork-based team Fordsons, affiliated with the Fordson tractor plant located in Cork.

It was a somewhat unusual matchup considering it was only the third cup final, but both teams had earned their place in the showcase event of club football in the country. Athlone had defeated Midland Athletic, Shelbourne FC then Bohemian FC on their path to the final.

At that time, the League of Ireland was just three years old, having emerged as a breakaway from the Belfast-based Irish Football Association (IFA). Previously, the IFA had overseen the sport throughout the 32 counties.

Athlone initially entered the Free State Cup as a junior, non-league team during the 1921/22 season, later transitioning to become members of the Free State League in the subsequent season.

The football history of Cork is rich with numerous clubs, but at that time, Fordsons stood out as the dominant force in Munster football. They had reached the semi-finals of the cup in 1922/23 and claimed victory in the 1926 final. However, like many Cork-based teams, they underwent a transformation into Cork FC in 1930 after Ford withdrew their support for a League of Ireland team.

Athlone’s journey in the cup commenced with a first round 2-0 victory at home to another now-defunct league team, Midland Athletic. This team sourced its players from the ranks of the Midland and Great Western Railway, which were based in Dublin.

Athlone’s victory earned them a spot in the quarter-finals, where they faced Shelbourne, who had narrowly missed out on the league title to Bohemians. In a match witnessed by over 5,000 spectators at Shelbourne Park in Ringsend, Athlone pulled off a surprising 2-0 win. Goals from Jim Kennedy and the agile Frank Ghent secured the victory, supported by a standout performance from goalkeeper Paddy O’Reilly.

Next up was the semi-final against league champions Bohemians, once again at Shelbourne Park. The match was a hard-fought, intense battle that ended in a scoreless draw, leading to a replay at the same venue on March 1st, 1924.

This time, a crowd of over 9,000 spectators watched as Athlone once again emerged victorious at Shelbourne Park, stunning the Bohemians side. An early defensive error led to Frank Ghent capitalizing on a loose ball, putting Athlone in the lead after just 12 minutes. Throughout the match, Athlone endured relentless pressure from Bohemians, with only resilient defending and remarkable saves from O’Reilly keeping the Dubliners from equalizing. However, as the game progressed, Athlone began to regain momentum and threatened the Bohemians’ goal once more in the final quarter. With just seven minutes remaining, Athlone’s Norman Lyster secured the crucial second goal, sending the sizable Athlone crowd into a frenzy of celebration.

The Evening Mail rather stiffly remarked: “The big Athlone following almost got out of hand when the second goal was scored but the stewards dealt with the incident.”

The Town were now set for a date with destiny in the cup final on March 17th at Dalymount Park. Their opponents were Fordsons, who had received a bye in the opening round and had subsequently defeated league teams Jacobs and St James’s Gate.

The final drew an estimated crowd of about 20,000, with spectators overflowing onto the pitchside around both goals and along the sidelines.

Athlone’s lineup was as follows: Paddy O’Reilly(GK), Joe Monahan, James Hope, Terry Judge, John Joe Dykes, Tommy Muldoon, Norman Lyster, Denis Hannon, Jim Sweeney (C), Tommy Collins and Frank Ghent.

Monahan, Muldoon, Lyster, Hannon, Sweeney, and Ghent hailed from Athlone. Collins originated from Moate, while Hope and Judge represented Mullingar. Dykes, originally from Sligo, and O’Reilly, a Dubliner, were the sole players from outside Westmeath on the team.

Athlone utilized their favored playing style, characterized by resolute defending, high and long clearances, along with intense, fast-paced pressure and swift counterattacks.

The tactics had proven successful in unsettling the composed Shelbourne and Bohemians outfits previously, and it similarly dumbfounded the Cork side. According to one newspaper, the Cork team was “bewildered” by Athlone’s tactics.

Despite Athlone’s dominance throughout the match, the golden goal arrived on the 20-minute mark. Hannon capitalized on a loose ball, following Jim Sweeney’s blocked effort, and swiftly found the net.

Captain Sweeney was presented with the trophy after the match, marking the first ever major trophy success for the club.

Ninety-nine years later, our senior women’s team would go on the same journey to glory and write their own names into the history books.

Supporter Liaison Officer Appointed

Athlone Town AFC have appointed Adam Lee as the club’s Supporter Liaison Officer for the 2024 season.

The Supporter Liaison Officer’s role is to act as a bridge between supporters and their football club and to ensure that fans have the best match night experience possible at both home and away games.

For more information about the role, click here.

Adam can be contacted via:

Email: slo@athlonetownafc.ie

X: @ATAFCSLO

All-Island Cup Fixtures Confirmed

The fixtures for the 2024 All-Island Cup Group Stage have been confirmed with the first round of games set to kick-off on Saturday, March 23rd.

The competition, which began last year involves 16 senior women’s teams in total. 11 from the League of Ireland and 5 from the Northern Ireland Football League make up the four groups of four teams.

The Town were drawn in Group D along with Sligo Rovers, Glentoran and last season’s winners Galway United.

The first game for Athlone will take place up North on Sunday, March 24th at Blanchflower Stadium against Glentoran FC, before a home game against Sligo Rovers, followed by a trip to Eamonn Deacy Park.

Below are the fixture details in full:

Matchday 1:

Glentoran FC v Athlone Town

Sunday, March 24th

Blanchflower Stadium

Kick-off: 4.30pm

Matchday 2:

Athlone Town v Sligo Rovers

Saturday, April 20th

Athlone Town Stadium

Kick-off: 7pm

Matchday 3:

Galway United v Athlone Town

Saturday, May 18th

Eamonn Deacy Park

Kick-off: 5pm

Should Ciaran Kilduff’s team progress past the groupstage, the quarter-finals ties will take place on the week ending June 23rd before the competition moves to the semi-finals on the week ending July 21st and then finishing with the Final on the week ending August 18th.

Two ATAFC Players Receive International Call-ups

Congratulations to Carl Mujaguzi and German Fuentes Rodriguez who have been selected for their countries upcoming international fixtures!

Swedish-raised Carl has recieved his maiden call-up to the country of his birth, Uganda ahead of their international friendlies with Ghana and Comoros. Both games will take place in Morocco on March 22nd and 26th in the city of Marrakech.

German has been called up for his nation’s friendlies in America. El Salvador will play Bonaire in Washington on March 20th, Argentina in Philadelphia on March 22nd, and Honduras in Houston on March 26th.

Best of luck to both players who will be representing the club on the international stage!

Match Report: ATAFC 1-1 Kerry FC

Hand Saves Athlone Blushes

Are Kerry starting to become a bogey team for Athlone? The team from the Kingdom love the trip to the midlands.

Athlone made one change from the Finn Harps defeat with Gideon Tetteh coming in for Noah van Geenen. Both teams enjoyed lots of spells on the ball but there was very little goal mouth action to warm the fans on a cold evening in Athlone Town Stadium. In the first half there was very little chances to speak about but Athlone came close to breaking the dead lock when Dean Ebbe saw his header from Connolly’s right wing cross just miss the target.

There were no changes at halftime but Kerry had become more attacking at Okwuy Okwute opened the scoring for the visitors when he struck a wonderful shot from the right of the penalty area which gave Minogue no chance in the Athlone goal, 55 Mins in and Kerry were 1-0 up.

Athlone levelled from the corner of the half after 72 minutes when Dylan Hand flicked McKenna’s delivery over the keeper. Athlone attacked a lot more in the final few minutes but Kerry held out to gain their first point of the season.

Following matchday four, this sees Athlone stay fourth and moves Kerry to ninth in the table.

Athlone Town AFC: Enda Minogue, German Fuentes Rodriguez, Jarlath Jones (Ruben Candal 58’), Gideon Tetteh (Dylan Gavin 76’), Daniel McKenna, Dylan Hand, Aaron Connolly (C), Dean Ebbe, Carl Mujaguzi (Shane Forbes 58’), Amardo Oakley, Jamal Ibrahim (Brian Torre 58’)

Unused Substitutes: Andrew Stuart Trainor, Noah van Geenen, Oisin Duffy, Devine Izekor, Roscoe Rubinstein

Bookings: Connolly (78′)

Attendance: 786

AthloneTownAFC.ie Man of The Match: Dylan Hand

Match Preview: v Galway United

SSE Airtricity Women’s Premier Division: Athlone Town AFC vs Galway United

Date: March 9th, 2024

Kick-off: 7.30pm

Venue: Athlone Town Stadium

We are finally here. The season kicks off this Saturday with Athlone Town taking on Galway United. The FAI Cup champions take on the All-Island Cup champions. Athlone haven’t conceded many goals in Athlone since Ciaran Kilduff took over but Galway will be hoping for a bit of magic to unlock the Athlone defence.

Team News

Athlone Town AFC come into the game with a couple of injury concerns. Chloe Singleton is a doubt having missed training this week and Ciara Glackin is ruled out for a couple of months.

Galway United are expected to have a full squad to choose from.

Past Encounters

Athlone Town and Galway played four times last season and with only four goals coming we expect this game to be tight and the game could be decided by one goal. Galway are very dangerous from set pieces and the Athlone back line will need to be on the top of their game.

Key Players to Watch

For Athlone Town AFC Kerryanne Browne is one to watch for the season ahead and she showed against Peamount in the Presidents Cup what she is capable of. Athlone Town fans can expect to see Kerry excel in the Athlone jersey this season.

For Galway United Eve Dossen is a superb talent and recently returned from an international camp with Ireland u19’s. She can play in midfield or defence and will have a great League of Ireland career ahead of her.


Match Tickets
Tickets for the game can be purchased by clicking here.

Referee Team
Referee
: Michael Connolly
1st Assistant Referee: Kate O’Brien
2nd Assistant Referee: John Hanney
4th Official: Declan Toland

Match Preview: v Kerry FC

SSE Airtricity League Men’s First Division: Athlone Town AFC v Kerry FC

Date: March 8th, 2024

Kick-off: 7.45pm

Venue: Athlone Town Stadium

Can Kerry repeat what they done last May and add to their solitary victory in Senior Football? Conor McCarty will hope so.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of this week’s match.

Kerry were very impressive on Monday against Treaty United and were victorious, running out 4-1 winners in the Munster Senior Cup. They have really strengthened in the off season and will be a lot more difficult to defeat this season.

Athlone have played well against Wexford but struggled on the road in the last couple of weeks. They will hope to get back to winning ways after finding themselves sliding down the table in recent weeks.

Team News

Athlone Town AFC will be without Jamar Campion Hinds who is still sidelined with an injury. Noah Van Geenen was substituted at half time in Finn Park but that was tactical and is available for selection. Ruben Candal is nearing match fitness and may be due to start this week.

Kerry FC will be without Valerii Dolia who is yet to make his debut, but Jack Kavanagh is expected to return. Nathan Gleeson is available following a one-match suspension for his red card against Bray Wanderers.

Past Encounters

On May 12th last year, Kerry FC picked up their first-ever win in League of Ireland history by beating Athlone. It was no fluke and Kerry were great value for their win last season.

Key Players to Watch

Athlone Town AFC, Dean Ebbe has been enjoyed a great start to his return season with Athlone. He will hope to continue his good form and help Athlone return to winning ways.

Kerry FC forward Victor Udeze has been excellent since moving to the Kingdom and Athlone Town defence will have their hands full with the quick striker.

Match Tickets
Tickets for the game can be purchased by clicking here.

Referee Team
Referee:
Ian O’Keeffe
1st Assistant Referee: Michelle O’Neill
2nd Assistant Referee: Ryan Maher
4th Official: Daryl Carolan