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WH SFC Athlone v Bunbrosna

posted 24 Aug 2014, 13:56 by Athlone GAA
Athlone v Bunbrosna
Athlone Senior footballers suffered their fifth defeat of this year’s championship when they went down to an agonising one point defeat to Bunbrosna in Cusack Park on Friday night (22nd August).  This result, in a game that Athlone will feel that they really should have won, consigns us to a relegation playoff against neighbours Castledaly at a date and time to be announced.

The opening exchanges were even and tit-for-tat scoring saw Bunbrosna lead by 0-4 to 0-3 after 15 minutes, Athlone’s scores coming from the returning John Egan, Joe Fallon and Ray Connellan.  Mickey Greene then showed great determination to force home a goal under great pressure, before the sides swapped points (Athlone’s from Ray Connellan) to see Athlone ahead by 1-4 to 0-5 with five minutes left in the first half.  Bun regained the lead with a goal of their own but a point from John Egan with the last kick of the half saw the sides go in level at the break, 1-5 apiece.

Bunbrosna opened the second half scoring in the first minute, before a sustained period of Athlone pressure saw several chances to equalise missed.  Instead it was Bunbrosna who got the next score after six minutes to lead by two.  Disaster then struck Athlone when Bun scored two goals in a minute, just as they had done the league game between the sides, and Athlone found themselves trailing by eight points with 20 minutes remaining.  Noel Mulligan pulled back a point from a 45 but another Bunbrosna point restored the eight point gap with 15 minutes to play.

Athlone had recovered from a similar deficit at the same stage of the teams’ group match last season and John Egan raised hopes that lightning could strike twice when he finished off a superb team move to the net to leave five between them with 10 to play.  At this stage, Athlone were dominant around the middle of the field and this paid off when John Stapleton then scored an absolute belter of a goal to leave just two points between them.  This gap was wiped out by points from another returning émigré, John Connellan, and his brother Ray and with the game entering stoppage time, Athlone looked like being only winners.  Athlone continued to dominate at midfield but the lead score never game, despite several chances.  From the last of these, two minutes into injury time, Bunbrosna’s keeper was able to gather a shot which dropped short and start a move which swept downfield and which ended with corner forward Fintan Finnan swinging over a magnificent point to restore their lead.  There was still time for Athlone to launch one more attack but disciplined Bun defending saw them force a turnover before the final whistle saw them victorious on a scoreline of 3-9 to 3-8.

Scorers: John Egan 1-2, Ray Connellan 0-3, Mickey Greene 1-0, John Stapleton 1-0, Joe Fallon 0-1, Noel Mulligan 0-1, John Connellan 0-1

Team:  Jason Merrigan, Eoghan O'Reilly, Noel Mulligan, Fergal Murray, Stephen Ward, Damien Kelly, Eoin Maher, John Stapleton, Paul Bannon, Glenn Costello, Jordan Marshment, John Egan, Joe Fallon, Michael Greene, Ray Connellan. Subs used: Seamus Byrne, John Connellan, Danny Lynam, Charlie McMickan.  Other Subs: Conor Devaney, Brendan Bannon, Gary Quinn, Dermot Piggot, Aidan St. John, Emmet Kiely, Dylan Lynch, Andy Lynam, Conal Sheeran.