Match Reports

ACFFL Division 1

posted 5 Mar 2019, 15:03 by Athlone GAA

​​​​​ACFL Division 1:  
Athlone 0-6 Rosemount 2-7  

Our senior team began their 2019 league campaign with a disappointing defeat at home to Rosemount on Friday evening.  The visitors started brightly and had two pointed frees on the board before Kieran Colclough opened his side's account, also from a placed ball.  Athlone were then dealt a blow when Rosemount hit their opening goal from a rebound after Paul Bannon had saved the initial effort, but they responded well and excellent points from Jordan Marshment, Shane Allen, John Connellan and another Colclough free left just a point between the sides at the interval, 1-3 to 0-5 in Rosemount's favour.

After Rosemount had doubled their advantage with a point in the opening minute of the half, the game then entered a long scoreless period which was ended in the 43rd minute when they added their second goal from a fisted effort.  Two further points put seven between the sides and made the game safe for the visitors as Athlone struggled for fitness in the heavy conditions.  Kieran Colclough got Athlone's only score of the second period with his third pointed free with five minutes remaining, but it was Rosemount had the final say with a late point sealing a 2-7 to 0-6 victory.
Next up for Athlone is a visit to neighbours Garrycastle for a derby clash next Sunday morning (March 10th), throw-in at 11.30am.
Athlone:  Paul Bannon, Eoin Maher, James Finlass, Fergal Murray, Dermot Bannon, Jordan Marshment (0-1), Danny Lynam, Diarmuid Martin, Daniel Reid, Seamus Byrne, Kieran Colclough (0-3), Shane Allen (0-1), Josh Beaumont, John Connellan (0-1), Donagh Prendergast  Subs Used:  Darren Costello, Patrick Ryan, Mark Egan, David Fagan, Richie Greene, Shane Galvin.

ACFL Division 3:
Athlone 0-7 Multyfarnham 2-6
After winning last year's Division 4 in impressive fashion, our second team began their Division 3 campaign when the travelled to Multyfarnham to take on the home side on Saturday afternoon.  After a shaky start, this was an excellent performance from a young Athlone team against a strong intermediate team and with a bit more belief and luck, they could have come away with the win that their efforts deserved.

Athlone looked overawed by their opponents in the opening stages and when they trailed by 1-2 to 0-0 after 10 minutes, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon.  However, Athlone then grew into the game, as the defence got to grips with the home side's attack and the midfield began to take control in the centre of the park.  It took until the 18th minute for Athlone to get on the scoreboard, through Richie Greene, but this was quickly followed by two more Greene points and a Darren Costello score to leave just a point between the sides.  It could have been even better for Athlone had the referee not stopped playing advantage when Josh Beaumont was clean through on goal, instead bringing play back to give Athlone a free on the 45.  The home side took advantage of this reprieve to regain control and two late frees gave them a three-point advantage at the interval.

Another free in the opening minute of the second stretched Multy's lead, before they were given an opportunity to put real daylight between the sides when they were awarded their first penalty.  Fortunately for Athlone, the spot-kick was driven wide to the left of the posts and they responded with points from Shane Allen, Richie Greene and Colin O'Leary to leave just the minimum between the sides again with 10 minutes remaining.  However, just as it looked like Athlone were going to snatch an unexpected victory against the 2018 All-Ireland junior champions, a loose pass coming out of defence caused a turnover which led to the home side making the game safe with their second goal.  They were then presented with another chance from the spot when a seemingly perfect James Finlass shoulder charge was deemed to have been illegal, but sub keeper Cathal Joyce pulled off a superb double save from the initial penalty and the rebound, although Multy tapped the second rebound over the bar to close the scoring and seal a very fortunate 2-6 to 0-7 victory.

Next up for Athlone is another difficult away fixture against St Malachy's in Castletown-Geoghegan next Saturday afternoon, March 9th, at 4pm.

Athlone:  John Duddy, Niall Doolan, James Finlass, Patrick Ryan, Andy Lynam, Eoin Maher, Eoin Jordan, Diarmuid Martin, Colin O'Leary (0-1), Darren Costello (0-1), Shane Allen (0-1), Shane Galvin, Donagh Prendergast, Richie Greene (0-4), Josh Beaumont  Subs Used:  Enda Daly, Cathal Joyce, Kieran Rigney, Tadhg Prendergast, Joe Fallon.

ACFL Division 6B:
Athlone 0-14 Milltown 1-13
Our Division 6B team completed a busy opening weekend of league action when they took on Milltown in Milltown on Sunday morning, in another game played in awful weather conditions.

Athlone played some great attacking football in the first half and points from Tadhg Prendergast, Richie Greene, Shay Byrne, Darren Costello and Kieran Rigney gave them a 0-12 to 0-4 lead at half-time.  However the strain of playing three games in three days, all in energy-sapping heavy wet conditions, took its toll in the second half as the lads ran completely out of steam, while also losing a few key players to injury, which allowed the home side to mount a strong comeback and grab the win, with a late fisted goal proving crucial.  Athlone's second match in this division is at home to Loughnavalley in Páirc Chiaráin at 7.30pm on Friday evening (March 8th) and they will be hoping for a little more luck in that.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Cathal Joyce, Andy Lynam, Shane Galvin, Kieran Rigney (0-1), Declan Byrne, Danny Lynam, Aidan St John, David Fagan, Seamus Byrne (0-2), Darren Costello (0-1), Tadhg Prendergast (0-4), Richie Greene (0-6), Donagh Prendergast  Subs Used:  Emmet Collins, Pat Mulligan.

Upcoming Men's Fixtures:

ACFL Division 1:   Athlone v. Garrycastle, 11.30am Sunday March 10th, Garrycastle.
ACFL Division 3:  Athlone v. St Malachy's, 4pm Sunday March 9th, Castletown-Geoghegan.
ACFL Division 6B:  Athlone v. Loughnavalley, 7.30pm Friday March 8th, Páirc Chiaráin.

U20 Football Championship Final

posted 3 Dec 2018, 07:06 by Athlone GAA

Athlone v Rosemount Castledaly

Congratulations to our U20 team who showed huge character and determination to capture the inaugural Westmeath Under 20 County Championship by defeating Rosemount-Castledaly on a scoreline of 0-15 to 1-11 in what was a fantastic and nail-biting game of football that was in the balance until the very last minute. Full match report to follow, see for photos of what was a great day and night.  Thanks to Padraig Devaney Photographer for the pictures.

Athlone:  John Duddy, Joseph Devins, James Finlass, Patrick Ryan, Donagh Prendergast, Diarmuid Martin, Patrick McGettigan, Shane Allen, Daniel Reid, Eamon Martin (0-3), Kieran Colclough (0-1), Sean Dowd (0-2), Josh Beaumont (0-2), Stephen O'Connor, Benny Martin (0-5)  Subs Used:  Luke Kelly (0-1), Niall Doolan, JJ Offorjama (0-1), Mark Egan, Shane Reid.

U20 Championship Semi Final

posted 18 Nov 2018, 14:26 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 2-9 The Downs 1-10

Our U20s qualified for the first Westmeath Under 20 Final when they travelled to The Downs on Saturdy afternoon to take on a very strong home side in the semi-final and came away with a deserved win after a thrilling encounter played in perfect conditions.

Starting with the aid of the wind, Athlone controlled possession in the early stages, and led by 0-2 to 0-0 after ten minutes, through points from Stephen O'Connor and a Benny Martin free, although the lead should've been greater with the Athlone attack guilty of some bad wides.  After The Downs had gotten themselves on the board from a free, Diarmuid Martin restored Athlone's two-point advantage, but another Downs score left only a point between the sides as half-time approached, with Athlone missing several opportunities to add to their total with some poor shot selection and wayward finishing.  They did find their shooting boots just before the break with three points in rapid succession from Eamon Martin, Josh Beaumont and Daniel Reid putting some daylight between the teams, although The Downs did have the final word of the half through another pointed free.  In fact, Athlone were fortunate that the teams didn't go in level at the break as it took a crucial interception from James Finlass deep into stoppage time to deny the home side a seemingly certain goal and to leave the half-time score 0-6 to 0-3 in Athlone's favour.

Now playing with the aid of the elements, the hosts came flying out of the blocks in the second half and it took them only a minute to draw themselves level with a goal from a rebound after John Duddy had made an excellent save.  It looked like Athlone would rue those first half misses when they fell behind for the first time soon after to a point from play, but to their credit, they dug deep and regained their lead when Kieran Colclough side-footed a loose ball to the net for their opening goal.  Again, however the home side fought back with two points made it a draw game and it looked like they were about to go back ahead, until Athlone's youngest player, Eamon Martin, made a crucial interception to launch a counterattack that he himself finished with a well-taken point.  This inspirational score gave the visitors a huge boost and another member of the Martin clan, Benny, put them two points ahead, before Kieran Colclough added his second goal with another cool finish.  However, any hopes that this would mean the end of The Downs challenge were dashed when they fought back with three quickfire points of their own to reduce the gap back to just two with 10 minutes still to play.  Athlone were now on the backfoot but superb defensive work prevented the home side from reducing the deficit even further and Josh Beaumont lifted the siege with an important point on the break.   The Downs increased the pressure as they went looking for the equalising goal but, despite some nervous moments, the Athlone defence held firm, except for conceding a point from a free with two minutes left.  This meant that a goal would've knocked Athlone out, but superb disciplined defending from the entire team meant that The Downs were unable to fashion the necessary chance, and when the final whistle sounded after a nerve wracking four minutes of injury time, Athlone had held on to win a thriller on a scoreline of 2-9 to 1-10.

Athlone now advance to the inaugural Under 20 Final against Rosemount-Castledaly which is to be played in Cusack Park next Sunday, November 25th in Cusack Park at 2pm and we ask that all supporters of the club come out and support the lads in this hugely important fixture.

Athlone:  John Duddy, Joe Devins, James Finlass, Paddy Ryan, Donagh Prendergast, Diarmuid Martin, Paddy McGettigan, Shane Allen, Daniel Reid (0-1), Kieran Colclough (2-0), Eamon Martin (0-2), Sean Dowd (0-1), Josh Beaumont (0-2), Stephen O'Connor (0-1), Benny Martin (0-2) Subs Used:  Niall Doolan, Mark Egan, Conor Rushe, Enda Daly.

U20 Championship Qtr Final

posted 18 Nov 2018, 13:58 by Athlone GAA   [ updated 18 Nov 2018, 14:28 ]

​​​​​Under 20 Championship Quarter-Final  

Athlone 3-12 Shandonagh 1-8

A clinically taken hat-trick of goals from Stephen O'Connor, allied to a superb defensive performance, gave our U20 team a surprisingly comfortable win against a fancied Shandonagh side in this quarter-final played in Páirc Chiaráin on Saturday afternoon.

Beginning the game with the aid of a strong breeze, Athlone got off to a dream start with a goal straight from the throw-in, when Diarmuid Martin and Shane Allen combined to set up Stephen O'Connor, who finished emphatically.  A long-range Luke Kelly free, followed by a Benny Martin point continued the good start, before O'Connor reacted quickest to a loose ball in the large square for his second goal.  Shandonagh got on the board with a close range free but two well-struck 45's from Luke Kelly and a JJ Offorjama score give Athlone a 10-point lead after 20 minutes.  However, they suffered a setback when Kelly was dismissed for dissent following a second Shandonagh pointed free, and although Daniel Reid replied from distance, the visitors then enjoyed their best spell of the half and added two more frees to reduce the gap as half-time approached.  To their credit though, the Athlone lads rallied and late points from Benny Martin and Shane Allen restored their 10-point advantage at the break, 2-8 to 0-4.

Playing into wind, and a man down, Athlone needed to keep things tight in the opening minutes of the second half, but instead their lead was halved in the first five minutes when some sloppy turnovers led to two pointed frees and a goal from a penalty.  All the momentum now appeared to be with the visitors, but an inspirational score from Shane Allen, followed by Stephen O'Connor's hat-trick goal with another cool finish after a brilliant team move, took the sting out of their comeback.  Josh Beaumont added a point from a free, while it took Shandonagh until the 53rd minute to get their only score from play, a measure of how well the Athlone defence played against their highly-rated opponents.  Further points from JJ Offorjama and Benny Martin put the seal on an impressive all-round performance, as Athlone qualified for an away semi-final against the winner of the quarter-final between The Downs and Caulry, at a time and date to be confirmed.

Athlone:  John Duddy, Joe Devins, James Finlass, Paddy Ryan, Donagh Prendergast, Diarmuid Martin, Paddy McGettigan, Shane Allen (0-2), Daniel Reid (0-1), JJ Offorjama (0-2), Luke Kelly (0-3), Sean Dowd, Josh Beaumont (0-1), Stephen O'Connor (3-0), Benny Martin (0-3) Subs Used:  Conor Rushe, Niall Doolan, Enda Daly.

Under 20 Championship

posted 30 Oct 2018, 12:18 by Athlone GAA


Athlone 2-17 Coralstown-Kinnegad 3-8

Our Under 20s qualified for the quarter-final of this year’s championship with a deserved win over a game Coralstown-Kinnegad side 

Athlone got off to an ideal start when Benny Martin popped over a point after Shane Allen had created the chance with a powerful run straight from the throw-in.  Martin added a second soon after and when the subsequent kickout was intercepted by Josh Beaumont, Stephen O’Connor finished coolly to the net for the game’s opening goal.  Benny Martin from a free and Luke Kelly stretched the lead further, before the visitors got on the board with a point after 10 minutes.  Another superb Athlone move led to captain Daniel Reid blasting home the second goal and a long-range Paddy McGettigan point put the home side 10 points to the good midway through the half.  However, Athlone seemed to become a little complacent at this stage and Kinnegad gradually brought themselves back into the match with three unanswered points, and they got a huge boost on the stroke of half-time with a well-worked goal leaving just four points between sides, 2-6 to 1-5 in Athlone’s favour.

After letting their opponents back into the match, Athlone needed a good start to the second half and they got that through early points from Shane Allen and Diarmuid Martin.  Further points from Kieran Colclough and Benny Martin stretched the lead further, but again Kinnegad fought back and a second goal, after Athlone had turned the ball over in attack, reduced the home side’s lead to three.  Benny Martin settled Athlone nerves with a couple of close range frees, which were followed by a Sean Dowd score from play and a Kieran Colclough 45 to put daylight between the sides again.  Further points from young sub Eamon Martin with his first touch, Luke Kelly and a Josh Beaumont free made the game safe for Athlone, although the visitors had the final say with their third goal late in the game leaving the final score 2-17 to 3-8 in Athlone’s favour.

Next up for Athlone is a home quarter-final against Shandonagh next weekend, with the exact time and date to be confirmed.

Athlone:  John Duddy, Joe Devins, James Finlass, Niall Doolan, Donagh Prendergast, Diarmuid Martin (0-1), Paddy McGettigan (0-1), Shane Allen (0-1), Daniel Reid (1-0), Kieran Colclough (0-3), Luke Kelly (0-2), Sean Dowd (0-1), Josh Beaumont (0-1), Stephen O’Connor (1-0), Benny Martin (0-6) Subs Used:  JJ Offorjama, Conor Rushe, Paddy Ryan, Eamon Martin (0-1), Tadhg Prendergast, Enda Daly.

SFC Quater Final

posted 5 Oct 2018, 15:26 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 0-7 Garrycastle 0-14

A very disappointing performance saw our seniors exit the Championship at the hands of near neighbours Garrycastle in their quarter-final played in Tubberclair on Sunday afternoon.
Garrycastle raced out of the blocks and were four points to the good within four minutes, as the Athlone defence struggled to get to grips with their lively full-forward line.  A long-range John Connellan point got Athlone on the scoreboard after 12 minutes, but Garrycastle were dominant all over the park and added the next three scores to lead by 0-7 to 0-1 at the 20-minute mark.  Noel Mulligan got Athlone’s second from a free, but the deficit was soon back to six when a defensive turnover led to another Garrycastle point.  An excellent injury time effort from Shane Allen brought the first half scoring to a close, as Athlone went in at the break with it all to do, trailing by 0-8 to 0-3.
Athlone needed a good start to the second half, but, despite holding possession in the Garrycastle half for the opening minutes, they were unable to create a clearcut opportunity and instead it was their opponents who stretched their lead on the break.  Both sides were also reduced to 14 men in this period when Mickey Greene and Matthew Guiheen were both issued red cards for an off the ball incident.  Athlone did then enjoy their best spell of the game and a Ryan Gaffey point, followed by two Ray Connellan frees either side of a similar Garrycastle score, left four points between them with 20 minutes remaining.  However, Athlone were unable to build on this momentum and three Garrycastle points between the 45th and 50th minutes put the game beyond them.  A Noel Mulligan point did reduce the gap to six but Athlone were unable to fashion the goal chance they needed in a scrappy final 10 minutes and instead it was Garrycastle who closed the scoring with a point from sub Ger Heneghan.  Despite it not being a dirty game, there was still time for another sending off for each team, as Athlone’s Darren Costello and Garrycastle’s James Dolan each received second yellows, while Athlone finished with 12 men when Jordan Marshment was black carded after six substitutions had been made.
Athlone:  Conal Sheeran, James Finlass, Matthew Darling, Damien Kelly, Shane Allen (0-1), Noel Mulligan (0-2), Jordan Marshment, Ray Connellan (0-2), Alan Gaughan, Kieran Colclough, John Connellan (0-1), Daniel Reid, Ryan Gaffey (0-1), Jack Quinn, Mickey Greene Subs Used: Darren Magee, John Stapleton, Fergal Murray, Darren Costello, Diarmuid Martin, Tom Egan.

SFC Group 1

posted 10 Sep 2018, 13:02 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 0-12 The Downs 3-12

Our seniors' bid to reach the knockout stages of this year's senior championship suffered a setback when they were well beaten by The Downs in this Group 1 Round 4 clash played in Cusack Park on Saturday evening.

Athlone actually started brightly, but missed several chances to take the lead and instead it was The Downs who opened the scoring after five minutes.  Another Downs point was followed by their opening goal, before John Connellan opened Athlone's account, but three more Downs points gave them a seven-point lead midway through the half.  A pair of John Connellan frees, either side of a Shane Allen point, brought Athlone back into the game, but they were dealt a further blow when they conceded a second goal.  Diarmuid Martin and Alan Gaughan added a pair of well-taken scores late in the half, but Athlone still went in at the break trailing by seven points, 2-7 to 0-6.

The Downs stretched their lead with a point straight from the restart, but Athlone then enjoyed their best period of the game and fine points from the returning Ray Connellan (0-2), Daniel Reid and Shane Allen reduced the gap to four.  Unfortunately, however, Athlone missed chances to reduce the gap even further and The Downs regained the initiative and three consecutive points put daylight between the sides again.  Despite late scores from Daniel Reid and Alan Gaughan, Athlone never looked like getting the goal they needed to get themselves back into the game and instead it was The Downs who added a third deep into stoppage time to leave the final score 3-12 to 0-12 in their favour.

This result means that Athlone's final group match versus Killucan will be winner take all clash, with the victor taking the last available quarter-final spot from Group 1.  Throw-in for this crucial game will be at 6pm this Saturday, September 15th in Moate and all support will be greatly appreciated.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Matthew Darling, Damien Kelly, James Finlass, Jordan Marshment, Noel Mulligan, Shane Allen (0-2), Alan Gaughan (0-2), Darren Magee, Kieran Colclough, Ray Connellan (0-2), Stephen Ward, Ryan Gaffey, Jack Quinn, John Connellan (0-3) Subs Used:  Diarmuid Martin (0-1), Daniel Reid (0-2), Tom Egan, John Stapleton, Fergal Murray.

SFC Group 1

posted 26 Jul 2018, 08:16 by Athlone GAA

SFC Group 1 19/07/2018 Cusack Park  

Athlone 4-5 Coralstown-Kinnegad 0-8  

A blistering start, which saw them score two superb goals in the opening 99 seconds, set our seniors on their way to a deserved win over Coralstown-Kinnegad in their opening Shay Murtagh sponsored Senior Football Championship Group game played in Cusack Park on Saturday evening.

A superb move straight from the throw-in led to Darren Magee blasting to the net after just 15 seconds and things got even better just over a minute later when Danny Reid went through the defence unchallenged before calmly side footing the ball past the keeper.  After the initial shock, Kinnegad settled and got on the board with two points, before John Connellan raised Athlone's first white flag on 10 minutes with a long-range effort.  After good move down the right sideline, Shane Allen dropped a high ball in on top of the square which caused problems for the full-back and Jack Quinn took advantage to slot home his side's third goal.  Kinnegad did respond almost immediately with a point, but that was to be their last score of the half and further points from Connellan and Quinn gave Athlone a three-goal lead at the break, 3-3 to 0-3.

After being blitzed in the opening minutes of the first period, Kinnegad were determined not to let the same thing happen in the second, and they struck the first three points of the half as they applied pressure high up the pitch.  A John Connellan free gave Athlone some breathing space, but the Reds responded almost immediately with a free of their own, before a superb effort from play from about 50 yards out left just five points between the sides at the midway point of the half.  This was to be their final score however, as the Athlone defence and midfield re-established control, although they did struggle to add the scores to put the game beyond their opponents.  Another Connellan free after 48 minutes was to be the final score from either side until two minutes into injury time, when James Finlass found Daniel Reid in behind the Kinnegad defence, and he gave the goalkeeper no chance with a powerful finish to seal a nine-point victory for his side.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Stephen Ward, Damien Kelly, Fergal Murray, Shane Allen, Noel Mulligan, James Finlass, Alan Gaughan, Darren Magee (1-0), Kieran Colclough, John Stapleton, Daniel Reid (2-0), Ryan Gaffey, Jack Quinn (1-1), John Connellan (0-4) Subs Used:  Matthew Darling, Diarmuid Martin, Paul Bannon, Tom Egan.

JFC Group 3

posted 26 Jul 2018, 08:14 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 1-13 Tubberclair 0-13

Our junior team travelled out to Tubberclair for their second game of this year's championship and came away with the two points when they overcame the challenge of a determined home side after hard-fought Group 3 second round match.

Tubberclair were the better side in the early stages and led by 0-2 to 0-1 after 10 minutes, Athlone's score coming from a Ryan Gaffey free, before Athlone got into their stride and hit four points in as many minutes, all from Richie Greene.  Just as quickly, however, they surrendered the initiative and Tubberclair brought themselves level with a point from play and two frees.  Darren Costello restored Athlone's lead, but home side's dominance continued and they added another three points from placed balls in the final five minutes of the half to lead by 0-8 to 0-6 at the break.

The second half started as the first had ended, with the home side on top, and they stretched their lead with another pointed free.  However, just when it looked like the match might get away from Athlone. they again struck four points in as many minutes to bring themselves right back into it.  A point from Ryan Gaffey, followed by a Richie Greene free, reduced the gap to the minimum and half-time substitute Patrick McGettigan brought his side level with an excellent effort from distance, before veteran Emmet Collins put Athlone ahead.  The visitors had their tails up now and got in for the game's crucial score when a slick move led to Richie Greene blasting to the net.  The same player finished off another excellent move with a point and when Emmet Collins added a superb solo score, Athlone led by six points with 10 minutes to play.  Another free kept the hosts in touch, but Diarmuid Martin made the game safe with a well-taken point.  Tubberclair did apply lots of pressure in the closing minutes, but strong defence from the Athlone backs meant they were unable to create the goal chance that they needed, although they did add three further pointed frees to reduce the gap to just a goal at the final whistle.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Danny Lynam, Tom Egan, Shane Galvin, Andy Lynam, Matthew Darling, Colin O'Leary, Diarmuid Martin (0-1), David Fagan, Ryan Gaffey (0-2), Darren Costello (0-1), Donagh Prendergast, Emmet Collins (0-2), Benny Martin, Richie Greene (1-6) Subs Used:  Patrick McGettigan (0-1), Joe Fallon, Shane Kilroy-Glynn.

ACFL Divion 4 Final

posted 4 Jul 2018, 15:06 by Athlone GAA

DIV 4 FINAL  - Cusack Park, Mullingar, 30 June 2018

Athlone 4-9 Mullingar Shamrocks 0-9  

A blistering first half performance, which saw them score four excellent goals, set our Division 4 team on their way to a surprisingly comfortable win against Mullingar Shamrocks in the league final, played in the now commonplace perfect sunny conditions in Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Saturday evening.

Athlone signalled their intent straight from the throw-in, when Kieran Colclough powered through the centre of the Shamrocks defence before setting up Benny Martin, who blasted home an excellent goal to give his side a dream start.  Richie Greene then added two fine points from play, before getting in behind the full-back and rounding the goalkeeper for the second goal, to give his side a scarcely believable eight-point lead after barely five minutes play.  Despite being shell-shocked from this opening blitz, Shamrocks began to settle and, after they had opened their account from a free, they got the chance to bring themselves right back into the game, when they were awarded a penalty when Matthew Darling was adjudged to have illegally stopped an attack in the area.  Fortunately for Athlone, Conor Devaney pulled off a superb save high to his left to keep out the spot kick and preserve his side's lead.  The Mullingar men did continue have most of the possession in the middle period of the half, but were unable to create any clear opportunities against a tigerish Athlone defence, and instead the next scores came from the Shannonsiders, through a superb Kieran Colclough point from out on the wing, followed by solo score from Emmet Collins direct from the subsequent kickout.  Shamrocks responded with a pointed 45, after Devaney had pulled off another excellent save, but Athlone had rediscovered their groove and added a third goal with five minutes remaining in the half.  David Fagan was unlucky to see his long-range effort for a point come back off the post, but Benny Martin snaffled the rebound and released Shane Allen, who set up Richie Greene to palm home at the far post.  This scoring sequence was repeated just before half-time when Mullingar's third score from a placed ball was answered by Greene's hat-trick goal, when he finished coolly to the net to complete another flowing move and give his side 13-point lead at the break, 4-4 to 0-3.

After such an impressive first half, it was understandable that the performance level dropped slightly in the early stages of the second period, although Athlone did have early chances to stretch their lead before Mullingar opened the scoring from a free.  This was followed by three rapid points from play as they finally found their range, but Ryan Gaffey settled Athlone's nerves with a fine outside of the boot effort in the 40th minutes.  The same player then added a free and his third point on the trot soon after restored his side's four goal advantage as the Mullingar comeback wilted in the heat, and, after Richie Greene had opened his second half account from a free, Shane Allen closed the scoring for Athlone in injury time, although Shamrocks did have the final word with a well-struck 45 to leave the final score 4-9 to 0-9 in Athlone's favour.

In what was a nice gesture by the County Board, Athlone captain Jack Quinn was presented with the cup by club stalwart Liam Finnegan, while the Board also deserve credit for creating a sense of occasion about the league finals through their recent initiative of hosting them as double-headers in Cusack Park.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, James Finlass, Tom Egan, Danny Lynam, Andy Lynam, Matthew Darling, David Fagan, Jack Quinn, Diarmuid Martin, Emmet Collins (0-1), Kieran Colclough (0-1), Ryan Gaffey (0-3), Shane Allen (0-1), Benny Martin (1-0), Richie Greene (3-3) Subs Used:  Darren Magee, Donagh Prendergast, Colin O'Leary, Shane Kilroy-Glynn, Eoin Fahey, Shane Galvin.

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