ACFL Division 4
Athlone 0-10 Mullingar Shamrocks 0-8
Our Division 4 team got their league campaign off to good start with a hard-fought win over Mullingar Shamrocks in their opening game played in miserable conditions in Páirc Chiaráin on Easter Monday.
Athlone started brightly with points from Dermot Bannon and a Richie Greene free in the opening minutes, but Shamrocks then grabbed the initiative and dominated the rest of the half. They kicked five consecutive points, but squandered several more good scoring opportunities, while the hosts were also grateful to goalkeeper Conor Devaney and corner-back Danny Lynam for a couple of good saves and a last gasp goal-line clearance that prevented Mullingar from adding a deserved goal. Instead it was Athlone who had the final word of the first period when Richie Greene raised a white flag to leave just two points between the sides at half-time.
After some stern words and a couple of changes from the management team during the break, Athlone again got off to a good start and a pair of well-taken points from Ryan Gaffey and Andy Lynam brought them level. Shamrocks responded well and restored their two-point advantage, but the Blues were playing with much greater intensity than in the first period and three quick points from Ryan Gaffey nudged them in front with 10 minutes to play, although they were then dealt a blow when Danny Lynam was dismissed for a second yellow card offence.
A patient passing move led to Sean Dowd doubling the lead, but Shamrocks came back almost immediately to reduce the gap to the minimum again. Some disciplined defending and controlled possession meant that they weren't able to create the opening for the equaliser and young substitute Shane Allen closed the scoring with a superb long-distance point to finish off a patient passing move. It did look like Ryan Gaffey had added an insurance point as the game entered stoppage time, but the referee overruled his umpires to wave his free wide. This led to a nervous injury-time period for the home supporters as Shamrocks went looking for the winning goal, but good work from the home side's backs kept them away from the danger area until the final whistle, with Athlone holding on to win on score line of 0-10 to 0-8.
Athlone: Conor Devaney, James Finlass, Tom Egan, Danny Lynam, Eoin Jordan, Emmet Collins, David Fagan, Matthew Darling, Dermot Bannon (0-1), Andy Lynam (0-1), Ryan Gaffey (0-4), Colin O'Leary, Richie Greene (0-2), Darren Costello, Sean Dowd (0-1) Subs Used: Shane Allen (0-1), Diarmuid Martin, Dylan Lynch, Shane Galvin.
Well done to our Junior Ladies who began their Division 4B league campaign with a 6-10 to 2-3 win away to Shandonagh on Sunday. The next game for the girls is a challenge against Padraig Pearses of Roscommon in Páirc Chiaráin next Friday, April 13th, throw-in at 7.30pm.
Minor Medal Presentation and Race Night:
The annual Athlone GAA Race Night will be held in the clubhouse on Friday, 13th April. Our champion 2017 minor boys' team will also be receiving their medals on the night so everybody is welcome to what promises to be a great night in the club.
Athlone U8's shine in Croke Park (see attached photo):
Despite a damp start to the day in the midlands the sun shone on Athlone U8's as they took part in the Littlewoods Irl. sponsored go-games held in Croke Park on Tuesday last. Two busloads full of excited players and their families departed from Pairc Chiarain and headed up to the Theatre of Dreams for their first outing of the year.
A quick pre-match picnic in the middle of the Cusack Stand helped to settle the nerves for our budding stars. This was followed by a visit to the dressing rooms under the Cusack Stand and a quick warm-up in the state- of-the-art designated warm-up area beneath the stand. Entering the pitch with the famous Croke Park roar ringing in their ears, the mandatory photo which followed is sure to be a treasured reminder in the years to come of a fantastic day out for all who took the field.
Playing on the Hogan Stand side of the pitch, Wolfe Tones of Drogheda provided the opposition for our two teams. All 28 boys saw plenty of action during the 9-a side games and each score was warmly greeted by the travelling support. The skills developed and honed at training each Sunday morning in Athlone (11.30am-12.30pm) were clearly evident as each player played their hearts out for the duration of the forty- minute games. Bidding farewell to Croke Park for the time being our future stars boarded the bus for Athlone and capped a memorable day out with a pit-stop in the M6 Applegreen. Credit to the Leinster Council and Littlewoods Ireland for a brilliantly organised day. The experience will no doubt whet the appetite our young guns to practice hard at home and in Pairc Chiarain each Sunday morning in the hope of gracing Croke Park again some-time in the future.
Panel - Cillian Silke, Caimin Gunning, Isaac Mulvihill-Wilkins, Aodhan Fallon, Frank Pettit, Liam Ambrose, Antonio Quinn, Fearghal Kelly, David Flemming, Fionn Macken, Ruairi Nicholson, LJ Kelly, Bobby OBrien, Cian Mannion, Rory Slevin, Sam Meegan, Conor McEnroe, Sean Collins, Siuchan Sunndar, Jack Newcombe, Luke McCourt, Adam Naughton, Sam Gunning, Eoin Silke, Evan Martin- Cummins, Cian Mannion, Ruairi Hayden, Davin Kelly.
A Cake Sale to raise much needed funds for underage football takes place in the Clubhouse at 12.30pm on Sunday 15th April. Everyone please support by baking something and dropping into the Clubhouse before training on Sunday and by buying something else after training.
Underage training continues every Sunday at 11.30am. New players all ages and abilities very welcome Come along to Pairc Chiarain on Sunday or for any queries contact Joe Fallon at 086 8846731.
Registration for all members also takes place in the Clubhouse every Sunday between 11am-1pm or you can register online at www.athlone.gaa.ie Life members can collect their membership cards in the Club or contact Teresa Small, Registrar at 087 6799472.
There will be limited supply of jerseys, shorts, socks, half zip training tops, beanie hats and gear bags on sale between 11am-1pm. We will also be taking orders for new stock.
Tuesday 10th April: U14 girls are away to Garrycastle in league group 3 at 6:30pm.
Wednesday 11th April: U12 boys are away to The Downs in group 4 at 6:30pm.
Thursday 12th April: U16 girls are at home to Milltown in championship division 3 at 7.00pm.
Friday 13th April: Junior women are at home to Padraig Pearses in a challenge at 7:30pm.
Saturday 14th April: U14 girls will be playing in the Féile. Groups, venues and times to be announced.
Sunday 15th April: U14 boys are away to Killucan in Division 1 of Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone U14 Football League at 11.30am.
Tuesday 17th April: U14 girls are at home to Ballinasloe in a challenge at 7.00pm.
Wednesday 18th April: Minor Boys are away to Maryland-Tang in Division 1 of Radisson Blu Hotel Athlone U18 Football League at 7.00pm in Drumraney.
There was no winner of this week's lotto jackpot. The numbers drawn were 2-8-16-22.
There was 5 match 3 as follows:-
Westmeath Gael c/o L Roper
Lisa O Rourke c/o L Roper
Sharon Doyle c/o T Small
Cora c/o L Roper
Jake & Marc Kelly c/o Bingo
Next week's jackpot is €4,200