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Leinster Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final

posted 2 Nov 2015, 04:39 by Athlone GAA
Leinster Intermediate Championship Quarter-Final

Athlone 1-12 O’Hanrahans (Carlow) 1-4

Our intermediate team qualified for the Leinster semi-final with a surprisingly comfortable win against O’Hanrahans Of Carlow in Páirc Chiaráin on Sunday.  While this was an impressive performance overall, there were some areas that were a cause for concern, especially in relation to turning opportunities into scores and the team and management will know that an even better performance will be required when we travel to Wexford to play Glynn Barntown on November 15th.

Playing in perfect conditions on an immaculate Páirc Chiaráin pitch, the hosts almost got off to a dream start when Danny Reid slid the ball to the net, but the young forward was adjudged to have overcarried and instead it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a point from a free after five minutes.  Athlone responded in the best way possible with a superb team goal that was started and finished by full-back Damo Kelly, and were unlucky not to add another soon after when Reid got a fist to a Ray Connellan cross, but the keeper did well to save.  Centre-back Noel Mulligan got the home side’s first point of the game with a fine solo effort, before John Connellan became the first forward to get on the board after being well set up by Stephen Ward.  Another Mulligan point stretched the lead to five midway through the half and Athlone were looking comfortable, despite missing several chances to really put the game beyond the Carlow men.  Athlone were almost made to rue these misses when a looping effort deceived home goalkeeper Darren Costello, but fortunately the ball came back off the post and was cleared to safety.  The light blues responded well to this scare and the impressive John Connellan added two more points from play, before O’Hanrahans did finally get their second score from another free after 26 minutes.  The Shannonsiders finished the half the stronger and a neat finish from Stephen Ward meant that we led by seven points, 1-6 to 0-2, at the break.

The visitors needed a good start to the second half, but they fell further behind after less than 10 seconds when Ray Connellan caught the ball from the throw-in and soloed through unhindered before pointing.  The same player added another from a free less than a minute later to stretch the lead to nine, but the game then entered a scrappy period as Athlone dominated possession but missed several chances to put the tie beyond their guests.  Athlone did eventually stretch their lead on 42 minutes with a Mulligan free after a great box-to-box solo run from full-back Kelly had been halted illegally, before another long scoreless period was ended with an O’Hanrahans point after a goalmouth scramble.  Any hopes from the visitors that this might inspire a late surge were ended almost immediately by two points from the Connellan brothers, but the home team relaxed slightly as the game entered its final stages and allowed the visitors to score a quickfire 1-1 to put just seven points between the sides, a lead that did not reflect Athlone’s dominance.   They did have the last word, however, when John Connellan tapped over his fifth point with the last kick of the game to leave the full-time score Athlone 1-12 O’Hanrahans 1-4

Athlone: Darrren Costello, Eoin Maher, Damien Kelly (1-0), Fergal Murray, Danny Lynam, Noel Mulligan (0-3), Tom Egan, John Stapleton, Paul Bannon, Stephen Ward (0-1), Jordan Marshment, John Egan, Danny Reid, Ray Connellan (0-3), John Connellan (0-5). Subs Used: Michael Greene, Sam Omukoro, Andy Lynam, Joe Fallon, Charlie McMickan, Shane Kilroy-Glynn.