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Men’s Match Report: Cork City (A)

City Do Enough To Win In Turner’s Cross

German Fuentes and Carl Mujaguzi returned to the starting line-up following their return from international duty and Mathew Leal came into the team for his first league appearance of the 2024 season. But it was Cork who perhaps played the better football in the opening few minutes of the game, however, Athlone were defensively setup well to deal with whatever Cork threw at them.

Cork weren’t getting much time on the ball and Athlone were matching them in the early going. A long ball in behind in the 12th minute gave Nathan Wood something to chase but Enda Minogue was out quickly and knocked the ball out of play and out of the ground. That was the first and only piece of action to talk about in the opening thirty minutes of the game. Athlone were pressing really well and it took a well won challenge on the right hand side from Harry Nevin to set Wood away in a foot race with Dylan Hand, but it was Hand who was the stronger of the two much to the dismay of the Cork forward and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Cork grew stronger in the closing stages of the opening half and a wonderful bit of skill from Joshua Fitzpatrick and a well-placed pull back could have caused problems for Athlone but Dan McKenna cleared the ball well.

In the 41st minute of the game the first big chance of the game fell to Aaron Connolly when, after a good spell of possession for Athlone, saw them shift the ball across the back line and over to Oisin Duffy who looked to misplace his pass to the bright Dean Ebbe, but it actually was a very good weighted pass to Connolly who delayed his shot to make a bit of space, however, his shot was well blocked by Charlie Lyons and Cork cleared the danger.

At half time Athlone would be disappointed that they weren’t going in 1-0 up but in truth there was no gilt-edge chance for either team and it was 0-0 at the break.

Ater three attempts, Athlone got the second half underway playing into the shed end of the ground. In the 48th minute Athlone felt they should have had a penalty, a really good bit of link up play between Connolly and Duffy resulted in what looked a clear foul when Fitzpatrick went to ground and took the Athlone captain down but the ref pointed at the ball and play went on. Down the other end, Mathew Leal was adjudged to have fouled Fitzpatrick and it was a free kick to Cork in a great position. The subsequent set piece saw the ball floated by Bolger to the back post taken well by Minogue who then clashed with Doherty resulting in a free out to Athlone.

Cork broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when, from a corner, Charlie Lyons found himself totally unmarked in the six-yard box and had a free header to put City 1-0 up. Athlone had played well up to this point and matched the league leaders’ stride for stride. The goal was a blow to the Athlone team who had worked hard up to this point.

Athlone weren’t going to lie down and a couple of attacking changes for Athlone saw them trying to get back into it. In the 84th minute of the game saw substitutes Ruben Candal and Dylan Gavin link up on the right-hand side resulted in Athlone winning their first corner of the game. The corner was overhit and the ball went out for a goal kick to City.

Athlone thought they had an equaliser in the 95th minute when Mckenna from the 18th yards out hit a shot which took a deflection and Bradley Wade made a save worthy of an Easter miracle to keep their lead intact. Despite the scoreboard showing Athlone had snatched an equaliser it was not to be for Athlone as City saw the job through to come away with all three points

Following match day seven this result drops Athlone to seventh and Cork sit top of the table.

Athlone Town AFC: Enda Minogue, German Fuentes Rodriguez, Jarlath Jones ( Brian Torre 81’), Daniel McKenna, Dylan Hand, Aaron Connolly, Dean Ebbe, Carl Mujaguzi (Dylan Gavin 81’), Oisin Duffy (C), Jamal Ibrahim (Gideon Tetteh 57’), Matthew Leal (Ruben Candal 69’)

Unused Substitutes: Andrew Stuart Trainor, Divine Izekor, Wedu Reneilwe Batlokwa, Abdul Hassan Barrie, Roscoe Rubinstein.

Bookings: Hand (75′), Fuentes Rodriguez (93′)

Attendance: 3,084 Man of The Match: Dylan Hand