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U21 Championship Quarter Final

posted 10 Nov 2016, 14:22 by Athlone GAA

Athlone 2-13 Mullingar Shamrocks 2-11

Our U21s qualified for the semi-final of the Championship when they withstood a strong Mullingar Shamrocks comeback to win a thriller under the Páirc Chiaráin lights on Friday night.

The opening stages were evenly matched, with Athlone taking the lead four times through excellent points from play from Benny Martin (0-2), Aidy Byrne and Richie Greene (an outrageous effort from the right side-line), only for the visitors to pull them back each time with some fine scores of their own.  Athlone then got a major boost on the 20-minute mark when Jack Quinn scored the game’s opening goal with a superb finish after a Richie Greene side-line had come back off the post and the same player extended Athlone’s lead shortly after with an even better goal, again after the inside forward line had done well to recycle a ball that had come back off the post.  Another fine point from Ryan Gaffey and a Richie Greene free on the stroke of half-time give Athlone a lead of eight points at the break, 2-6 to 0-4.

Athlone needed a good start to the second-half to continue their momentum and a free from Greene, after Danny Reid had been fouled from the throw-in, followed by Benny Martin’s third point of the game, stretched the lead to 10 points.  The omens looked good for Athlone at this stage, but Shamrocks got themselves back into the game almost immediately with a goal from a tight angle, and two quick follow-up points meant that the home side’s lead had been halved in just two minutes.  To their credit, Athlone lifted their game again after this spell and another Richie Greene free put a stop to the visitors’ impetus, while further excellent points from Danny Reid and Richie Greene, followed by Greene’s fourth free of the game, meant that Athlone led by double scores, 2-12 to 1-6 with only seven minutes remaining. 

Shamrocks refused to surrender however and another goal, followed by a point from the kick-out brought them back into the game.  A superb outside of the boot point from distance from Luke Kelly gave Athlone some breathing space, but Shamrocks dominated the final five minutes, with four more points reducing the gap to just two as the match entered injury time.  It looked like Shamrocks were going to deny Athlone at the death as the poured forward in search of the winning goal, but the home defence stopped them creating the chance they needed and Athlone hung on to set up a home semi-final against the winner of The Downs v. Shandonagh quarter-final on the weekend of November 18th.

Athlone:  Conor Devaney, Diarmaid Martin, Shane Galvin, Eoin Fahey, Luke Kelly (0-1), Jordan Marshment, Kieran Rigney, Daniel Reid (0-1), Jack Quinn (2-0), Tadhg Prendergast, Sam Omukoro, Benny Martin (0-3), Aidy Byrne (0-1), Ryan Gaffey (0-1), Richie Greene (0-6) Subs Used:  Sean Dowd, Michael Doolan, David Cleary, Peter Ryan.