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Next Senior Men's Match: Fri, May 24th (H) crest

Men’s Match Report: Finn Harps (H)

Athlone Home Form Is Growing

Athlone have only lost two of the last ten league games at home and are undefeated in the five home games so far in 2024. They have taken ten of their twelve points in Athlone Town Stadium this season. In a night that saw the main stand in the stadium named after Club President Liam Gaffey, the team rewarded Liam with three points and a good display.

Harps had won every game on the road until now and inflicted the first defeat of the season for Athlone in the first round of fixtures. Athlone have been a mixed bag up to this point but had started to find form at home, so it was set to be an interesting tie. 

Athlone started the brighter of the two teams and the first real chance of the game came after six minutes and fell to the home side who after a really nice passage of play that saw them break down the right wing. They then strung a couple of passes together and moved the ball out to Brian Torre on the left wing who found Carl Mujaguzi unmarked in the area, about eight yards out and his left footed volley was just over the bar.

It was an even contest up to this point and in the 10th minute from a throw in to Finn Harps just inside the Athlone half of the field caught the Athlone defenders napping and Success Edogun held up the ball well and managed to turn defender German Fuentes where his shot found the side netting.

In the 18th minute Harps forward Chris Lotefa found himself with a bit of space and was fouled by Dan McKenna in the middle of the pitch about thirty yards from goal, and the resulting free kick from Tony McNamee never really troubled goalkeeper Enda Minogue who was making his 50th appearance in League of Ireland football.

In the 24th minute McKenna intercepted a poor touch from Harps midfielder McNamee and set his team on the attack, Mujaguzi moved the ball left and found Candal with time and space who crossed to the back post to Amardo Oakley who’s super pass gave Dean Ebbe the simplest of finishes, heading home from inside the six-yard box and putting The Town 1-0 up.

Athlone were limiting the visitors to shots from distance, none of which gave Enda Minogue too much to worry about. In the 42nd minute Athlone thought they had gone two in front when Aaron Connolly’s pass found McKenna whose quick feet managed to get free at the edge of the area, and his side footed effort towards the top right hand corner narrowly missed the post, sending the teams in at the break with the home side leading 1-0.

Harps started the second half brightly and could have gone level straight away when from a well worked through down their left had side a cross found the head of Edogun who’s shot was on target and pulled a wonderful save out of Minogue in the Athlone goal.

The visitors found it difficult to break down the Athlone defence and chances were few and far between for Finn Harps. They had a great chance in the 59th minute when a sloppy pass from McKenna allowed Harps to press and a slip from Fuentes allowed Edogun in one on one with Minogue and his shot was saved again by Minogue who was determined to hold onto his clean sheet.

Athlone could have finally added a second in the 72nd minute when from a mazey run from substitute Jamar Campion Hinds saw him pull the ball back to Ebbe who on the stretch poked the ball towards goal forcing a point blank save from Tim Hiemer in goal.

Athlone had defended well and in the closing minutes of the game. Finn Harps had a shout for a penalty when their left winger came into the box onto a miss placed header from Fuentes and went to ground in the box looking for the penalty but the referee was confident in waving away any protests from the Harps players.

Athlone held on to the clean sheet and took all three points winning the game 1-0.

Following matchday ten this result moves Athlone to sixth and Harps stay second in the table.

Next up for Athlone is the trip to Mounthawk Park to face Kerry FC.

Athlone Town AFC: Enda Minogue, German Fuentes Rodriguez, Jarlath Jones, Daniel McKenna, Ruben Candal (Gideon Tetteh 75′), Aaron Connolly, Dean Ebbe (Shane Forbes 92′), Carl Mujaguzi (Divine Izekor 92′), Amardo Oakley, Oisin Duffy (C), Brian Torre (Jamar Campion-Hinds 61)’.

Unused Substitutes: Andrew Stuart Trainor, Renei Batloka, Matthew Leal, Roscoe Rubinstein, Brendan Lauder

Bookings: Jones (37′), Torre (53′), Duffy (68′), Rodriguez (94′)

Attendance: 596 Man of The Match: Oisin Duffy