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ACFL Division 1: Athlone 4-7 Maryland 1-8

posted 29 Feb 2016, 07:29 by Athlone GAA

Our seniors returned to competitive action for 2016 with their by now traditional league opener against Maryland in Páirc Chiaráin on Friday night and were very pleased to come away with the two points after a typically hard-fought encounter on a heavy pitch. Despite both sides being understrength due to county commitments, this was an entertaining clash with a host of excellent scores from play from both teams.

Athlone got off to a dream start when a surging run and cool finish from Jack Quinn gave them a goal after 30 seconds.  This was followed this up by a fine John Stapleton point, after some good interplay with Paul Bannon, but the home side also missed some chances to stretch their lead and instead it was Maryland who struck two excellent points from play to bring themselves right back into the game.  Despite those missed chances, Athlone were looking dangerous in attack and added their second goal on 10 minutes when Richie Greene forced the ball home after being set up by good approach work by Quinn and Jordan Marshment.  A superb Paul Bannon catch from the subsequent kick-out started another flowing move that he finished himself to put six points between the sides, but again Maryland fought back with two more well-taken points.  John Stapleton responded with a superb outside of the boot effort, but it was the visitors who finished the first half the stronger and they added another brace of points to leave just a goal between the sides at the break, with Athlone leading by 2-3 to 0-6.

Just as in the first half, Athlone went for the jugular from the throw-in and added 1-1 in the first minute of the second period as a brilliant Richie Greene point was followed by their third goal, scored by Andy Lynam after he found himself at end of a Conal Sheeran through ball.  Maryland responded with another fine point from play but an equally good score from roving corner-back Tom Egan restored the homesters’ seven point advantage.  Maryland then struck for a goal of their own to leave just four points between the sides with 20 minutes to play, but due to some excellent disciplined defending from the Athlone backs, they were unable to add to their tally in this period and instead a pair of frees from Jordan Marshment and Joe Fallon gave the light blues some breathing space.  Maryland did eventually add another score from a 55th minute free, but it was the hosts who had the final word in the final minute of normal time when Richie Greene did really well to release Paul Bannon who teed up John Stapleton to fist Athlone’s fourth major score and finally put the game beyond the Drumraney men, Athlone eventually running out victorious on a scoreline of 4-7 to 1-8.

Scorers: John Stapleton 1-2, Richie Greene 1-1, Jack Quinn 1-0, Andy Lynam 1-0, Paul Bannon 0-1, Tom Egan 0-1, Jordan Marshment 0-1, Joe Fallon 0-1.

Team:  Darren Costello, Danny Lynam, Damo Kelly, Tom Egan, Conal Sheeran, Paul Bannon, Fergal Murray, John Stapleton, Jack Quinn, Eoin Maher, Jordan Marshment, Andrew Lynam, Stephen Ward, Sam Omukoro, Tadhg Prendergast.

Subs: Richie Greene for Sam Omukoro, Kieran Rigney for Stephen Ward, Joe Fallon for Tadhg Prendergast, Dylan Lynch for Conal Sheeran.

Next Fixture: ACFL Div 1 Athlone v St. Lomans on Sat 6th March in Páirc Chiaráin (time tbc)