ACFL Division 1
Athlone 4-9 Caulry 0-11
Athlone's senior team notched their third win of their league campaign when they accounted for neighbours Caulry in a midweek clash in Mount Temple. The winning margin may look impressive but the majority of Athlone's scores came in a scintillating first half spell that yielded 3-3 without reply between the 10th and 20th minutes and management and players will know that a more consistent level of performance throughout the entire 60 minutes will be required when the Championship starts next weekend.
The opening exchanges were evenly matched and three times in the opening 10 minutes the home side took the lead with excellent points from play, only to be pulled back each time by scores from the Connellan brothers, two from Ray and one from John. Athlone then took the lead for the first time when Jordan Marshment and Sam Omukoro combined to release Noel Mulligan for the opening goal and they doubled their advantage soon after with a neat finish from Omukoro after more good approach work from Paul Bannon, Jordan Marshment and Jack Quinn. Caulry had a chance to get back into the game almost immediately but they were denied by a fine save from Darren Costello and instead the visitors stretched their lead when a superb turnover by Stephen Ward in the middle of the field led to a Jordan Marshment point. Athlone were playing some brilliant attacking football at this stage and another great team move led to Mulligan slotting home his second goal from close range, before John Connellan stretched their lead to 11 points with a neat point after another flowing movement.
Caulry did lift the siege with two quick points from play but Ray Connellan kept the scoreboard ticking over with a free after a foul on raiding corner-back Eoin Maher. With Athlone dropping the pace slightly, the home side grew in belief and dominated possession in the closing stages of the half, but Darren Costello dealt decisively with several high balls that were dropped into the edge of the square, while his backs put in some great blocks and tackles to limit their opponents to just two more points from frees. Instead it was the visitors had the final say of the opening period with a Jack Quinn point following a patient build-up, which left the half-time score 3-7 to 0-7 in Athlone's favour.
In contrast to the open nature of the first half, the second half was a much more cautious affair and it took until the 37th minute for the first score, a Caulry point from play. This was followed up shortly after by a similar score to reduce the gap even further and suddenly the Mount Temple men had the momentum while Athlone looked nervous, with passes going astray and some questionable decisions being made. The next score was vital and fortunately it came to Athlone when Paul Bannon did really well to dispossess an opponent and launch an attack that ended with Ray Connellan pointing a long range free. This relaxed the visitors and they recaptured some of their first half spark when a blistering solo run from within his own half by the younger Connellan set up Sam Omukoro who grabbed his second goal with a tidy finish. An Andy Lynam point put four clear goals between them with 10 minutes remaining, and although Caulry added another brace of points before the end, Athlone had done enough and held on comfortably to win by 4-9 to 0-11.
Athlone: Darren Costello, Eoin Maher, Damo Kelly, Fergal Murray, Danny Lynam, Noel Mulligan (2-0), Tom Egan, Jack Quinn (0-1), Stephen Ward, Ray Connellan (0-4), Paul Bannon, John Egan, Jordan Marshment (0-1), Sam Omukoro (2-0), John Connellan (0-2). Subs Used: Richie Greene, Andy Lynam (0-1), Jack Ruane, Dylan Lynch, Tadhg Prendergast.
Underage football for boys and girls age 4-12 continues every Sunday at 11.30am. New players very welcome, bring a friend.
Registration for 2016 is now due. This can be paid online or in the Clubhouse on Sunday, 17th April between 111am-1pm. All life and honorary members can also collect their membership in the Clubhouse.
There was no winner of this weeks €1,950 jackpot.
The numbers drawn were 6-20-22-27.
There were two match three winners.
Robyn Flynn c/o Martin Flynn.
Dermot Moran c/o Nuts.
Next week's jackpot will be €2,100
Play online at www.athlone.gaa.ie for only €15 for ten weeks.
Athlone GAA Bingo:
Bingo takes place in the Clubhouse every Thursday at 8.30pm. Loads of cash prizes. Everyone Welcome.
Vote of Sympathy;
The McCormack Family, Sarsfield Square.
The Moore Family, St. Paul's Tce.
The O'Dea Family, Retreat Heights.
The Quirke & Ganly Families, Arcadia & Coosan.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a n-anam.
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