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Match Report: Glentoran FC 2-5 ATAFC

Athlone start All-Island Cup campaign with statement victory over NIFL double winners Glentoran.

Athlone Started the brighter of the two teams and put early pressure on the Glentoran defence. They broke the deadlock after five minutes when Gillian Keenan found Casey Howe at the edge of the box, Howe let the ball beat her and turned to rifle a shot past Ashleigh McKinnon in the Glentoran goal. Former Glentoran player Howe didn’t give the keeper any chance and it was 1-0 to Athlone.

Casey thought she had Athlone two to the good in the 19th minute when she again turned really well at the edge of the box and her shot ended up in the back of the net but the offside flag stopped any celebrations from The Town.

This seemed to wake Glentoran up who got a lot of joy down their left-hand side, a couple of nice passes had them in behind the Athlone defence and a cross from the left from Demi Vance found Kerry Beattie who had drifted between the two Athlone centre backs to turn it in to level the game.

Unfortunately, Athlone midfielder Abby Carchio picked up a nasty injury on her first start for the club, she was challenging for the ball and twisted her knee and had to be withdraw from the game we wish her well and hope its not too bad.

Glentoran took the lead on the 33rd minute from a corner, that wasn’t dealt with by the Athlone defence, fell to Nadene Caldwell in the six-yard box her effort was cleared by Jesi Rossman but the referee awarded the goal to make it 2-1 to the hosts.

Just before the half time whistle Athlone had settled into the game again and created a couple of chances but it was the hosts who went in the happier of the two sides at half time.

Athlone started the Second half brightly, and manager Ciaran Kilduff had made a couple of changes. In the 48th minute young centre back Ciara O’Neill, picked up the ball from Kellie Brennan and stepped into midfield she found a pocket of space and she found Kerryanne Browne who played the ball in behind the Glentoran defence and set Keenan away. Browne done really well to get into the box and finish with the outside of the boot down to the keepers left to put Athlone back into the game.

Athlone started to grab hold of the game and on the 60th substitute Chloe Singleton picked up the ball outside her own box and ran the length of the field and hit a shot which was just past the upright.

Howe was tackled at the edge of the box and the ref having judged Jenna McKearney to have committed the foul. Howe stepped up to blast the free from about 20 yards out finding the net with her second and Athlone’s third of the day, she hit it low and hard and McKinnon couldn’t do anything to stop it.

Things were to get better for Athlone and in the 76th minute Howe took a corner from the left and it wasn’t dealt with by the Glentoran defence, it fell to O’Neill who hit a wonderful strike into the top corner and put Athlone 4-2 ahead.

Athlone wrapped the game up in the 85th minute when Howe took a short corner to Rossman who had time and space to get the shot away blasted it past McKinnon to seal all 3 points in the All-Island Cup for Athlone. Howe was excellent and made two and scored two. spoke to Casey Howe after the game and asked her thoughts on this evening’s game. “It was a great to come up to one of my old clubs and it’s always nice to return to get to see familiar faces. But today was great, it was a good team performance. Delighted to get on the scoresheet but it’s massive to get the three points on the board.”

Following match day one in the All-Island Cup this result moves Athlone joint top with Galway United. Our next outing in this competition is on the 21st of April at home to Sligo Rovers.

Athlone Town AFC: Katie Keane, Shauna Brennan, Jesi Lynne Rossman (C), Kate Slevin, Gillian Keenan, Casey Howe, Kerryanne Brown (Hazel Donegan 79’), Isabel Ryan (Chloe Singleton 45’), Mary Philips (Kellie Brennan 45’), Ciara O’Neill, Abby Carchio (Laurie Ryan 30’)

Unused Substitutes: Amy Mahon

Bookings: None

Attendance: Unknown Player of The Match: Casey Howe