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U21 Championship

posted 5 Nov 2016, 08:44 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 2-10 Killucan 2-5

Athlone began their Under-21 Championship campaign with a hard-fought win over Killucan in Páirc Chiaráin on Friday night.  With several expected starters unavailable, Athlone called on the services of several younger players from our minor panel, all of whom stepped up to the plate and acquitted themselves very well against a physical and skilful Killucan side.  The Athlone lads' unfamiliarity with each other was apparent in a first half in which Killucan were the better side, but a combination of inaccurate shooting and determined defence from the home side limited the Saffrons to just five first-half points, while Richie Greene kept Athlone in touch at the break with three excellent points from play and another from a late free.

Aidy Byrne brought Athlone level early in the second half when he finished off a fine move that had been started by in the full-back line by Diarmaid Martin, before Greene got the game's opening goal when he got on the end of superb pass from Danny Reid to give the visiting keeper no chance with an emphatic finish.  Any hopes that this good start to the second period would lead to the end of Killucan's challenge were dashed almost immediately when they took advantage of hesitancy in the home defence to regain the lead with two well-taken goals inside a minute.  To their credit, however, Athlone responded to this double setback in fine style and great points from play from Richie Greene and Luke Kelly reduced the gap to the minimum, before Greene brought the sides level with a free.  Athlone had the momentum at this stage and restored their three point lead when Jack Quinn released Benny Martin who supplied the home side's second goal with another excellent finish.  This time Athlone didn't let their opponents right back into it and instead Danny Reid stretched the lead with a brilliant point from distance, before another Richie Greene free put five points between the sides.  Despite there still being 20 minutes still to play, this was to prove the final score of the game as the home defence showed great discipline to withstand significant late pressure without allowing any clear scoring opportunities and Athlone held on for a deserved win on a scoreline of 2-10 to 2-5.

Athlone's next opponents in the competition are due to be Mullingar Shamrocks, with the match provisionally scheduled for next Saturday November 5th in Páirc Chiaráin, although this has yet to be confirmed.  Please see <> or our Facebook page closer to the date for confirmation.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Diarmaid Martin, Matthew Darling, Shane Galvin, Tadhg Prendergast, Daniel Reid (0-1), Luke Kelly (0-1), Jordan Mars\hment, Fionn Dowd, Aidy Byrne (0-1), Jack Quinn, Benny Martin (1-0), Ryan Gaffey, Sam Omukoro, Richie Greene (1-7)  Subs Used:  Sean Dowd, Michael Doolan, David Cleary, Patrick McGettigan.