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ACFL Division 1: Athlone v Maryland

posted 16 Feb 2015, 14:37 by Athlone GAA
ACFL Division 1: 

Athlone began their 2015 ACFL Division 1 campaign with a defeat when they went down to Maryland by five points in Drumraney on Sunday.

Athlone started brightly and opened the scoring in the first minute with a fine Ray Connellan point.  Maryland equalised with a fine score of their own two minutes later but Athlone opened up a three point gap with further points from Connellan (0-2) and John Egan.  Maryland struck back with two quick points of their own and were unlucky not to take the lead when Conor Devaney pulled off a great save from a close-range effort to prevent a seemingly certain goal   The reprieve was short-lived however, as an equalising point was followed up by another Maryland goal chance that was this time taken, before another quick point saw Maryland open up a lead by 1-5 to 0-4

To their credit, Athlone bounced back and regained the initiative to finish the first half strongly.   First Mickey Greene crashed a superb shot through a crowd of defenders to bring the deficit back to a point, before Noel Mulligan was unlucky to see his rasping effort come back off the crossbar.  Two further Ray Connellan points saw Athlone lead at the interval on a scoreline of 1-6 to 1-5.

Just as Athlone had in the first half, Maryland started positively with the aid of the wind and drew level within a minute.  Ray Connellan restored Athlone’s advantage from a free before Callum McCormack drew Maryland level again after 38 minutes.  Maryland began to increase the pressure at this stage and opened up a two point gap with 10 minutes remaining.  Substitute Joe Fallon pulled one back from a free before the game’s key moment, a second Maryland goal, gave them a four point lead with 52 minutes on the clock.

With the game slipping away from them, Athlone made one final push and another Fallon free was followed up by a goal chance for Noel Mulligan.  However the home keeper pulled off a good save to finally break Athlone’s resistance and two late points saw the hosts victorious on a scoreline of 2-11 to 1-9.

Scorers for Athlone: Ray Connellan (6pts), Michael Greene (1-0), Joe Fallon (2pts) and John Egan (1pt).