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U21 Championship

posted 26 Oct 2015, 13:02 by Athlone GAA
U21 Championship

Athlone 2-7 Moate 1-13

Our U21 team exited the championship at the quarter final stage when they paid the price for a disastrous opening 20 minutes against a strong All Whites team in Moate on Saturday afternoon.

Athlone had a great start when Ray Connellan pointed in the opening seconds after an excellent solo run, however that was as good as it got for the visitors in the opening 20 minutes as their dream start quickly turned into an early Hallowe'en nightmare.  The home team got on the board with two frees as the Athlone defence struggled to cope with the pace of their attack, before Conor Devaney did well to deny them a goal with a save from a close range effort.  This was only a temporary reprieve however, as Athlone's struggles with their own kick outs gave the men in white a platform with which to continuously launch attacks, which they did with power and pace.  Moate had nine points on the board before the 20 minute mark and when they finally got the goal that they had been threatening in the 22nd minute to open up an 11 point lead, it looked like the game was over as a contest.

To their credit, Athlone refused to accept this  and responded immediately with a goal of their own when Tadhg Prendergast's high ball in was knocked down to Sam Omukoro, who dived to fist the ball past the keeper.  As half time approached, Athlone were finally winning some quality possession and getting their forwards into the match and two further points from Charlie McMickan and Richie Greene reduced the deficit to six points at the break, Moate leading by 1-9 to 1-3.

Boosted by their strong finish to the first half, Athlone were quickly out of the blocks after the restart and two frees from Charlie McMickan and Ray Connellan closed the gap further, before Moate ended their long scoreless spell with a free.  Lively half time substitute Jack Ruane brought Athlone right back into the game with a goal to finish off  a move that he had started himself and Richie Greene followed that up with a fine point to leave the minimum between the sides.  Another Athlone attack looked like yielding the equaliser but instead resulted in a turnover, which led to Moate stretching their lead with a close range point that could've been a goal.  Greene then struck another excellent point to bring the Blues back to within a point but was unlucky when his next attempt went wide to the right.  Moate took advantage of Athlone's inability to draw level and a quick counterattack put two points between the sides with five minutes left.  Athlone were then guilty of some poor decision making as they fought to save the game and kicked a couple of wides so instead it was Moate who added to their total from a free.  One final Athlone attack saw Aidy Byrne narrowly wide with a goal effort and Moate held possession from the subsequent kick out to run out winners on a scoreline of 1-13 to 2-7.

Athlone: Conor Devaney, Shane Galvin, Danny Lynam, Eoghan O'Reilly, Tommy McCoy, Stephen Ward, Seamie Byrne, Ray Connellan, Daniel Reid, Charlie McMicken, Tadgh Prendergast, Kieran Rigney, Aidy Byrne, Sam Omukoro, Richie Greene.  Subs Used: Jack Ruane, Mark Halligan, Ryan Gaffey.