High drama in Athlone as Cabo draw!

Athlone Town welcomed Cabinteely F.C. on Friday night in a clash of the League of Ireland’s oldest and newest clubs. Athlone were joint second in the league coming into the game but were looking to return to winning ways after two defeats on the trot.

Eddie Gormley was forced into naming a new look back four as an injury to Ekanem and Maloney’s suspension meant he was without his first choice centre backs. Lloyd Cairns started at right back with Daniel Campbell and Kevin Knight playing at centre half with the ever present Jamie McGlynn at left back.

Cabinteely were quick out the blocks and were causing Athlone problems from the off. Cabogot their goal after four minutes and it was no more than they deserved for thier bright start. Finnegan put in a ball from the left wing which evaded everyone in the box, Foley arrived at the back post to latch onto the ball and his goalbound shot was put in by Pender for his first goal of the season to the delight of the travelling Cabo faithful.

Athlone responded well to conceding the early goal and soon had their equaliser. A cross from the right was met by Gorman at the front post who finished well leaving Whelan with no chance as the ball was rifled into the roof of the net.

Gormley was forced into bringing on Ekanem when Cairns went down with a head injury. Cabo were taking no risks with the head injury and sensibly made the change as Cairns looked to have been concussed.

Pender soon went close to doubling his goal tally, Foley threaded a pass to him on the edge of the box, Pender turned well and got the shot away but it just went by the post. The Athlone keeper breathed a sigh of relief as he was beaten by the shot and was rooted to the spot as it narrowly went wide.

Whelan once again put in a fine performance for Cabo making a number of crucial saves to keep the scoreline at one all. He has impressed all season and this match was no different, showing his brilliant shot stopping abilities once more.

It was a mistake from his counterpart in the Athlone goal that led to Cabinteely’s second. After a backpass to the goalkeeper, a heavy touch by Cusack was capitalised on by O’Neill. He muscled his way onto the ball and with his back to goal he squared the ball to Conor Foley who had the Athlone goal at his mercy. Cusack had gotten back on his line but Foley calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.

Celebrations after Conor Foley's goal.

Celebrations after Conor Foley’s goal.

Athlone pressed for an equaliser, Cabinteely to a man defended brilliantly. You couldn’t fault a single player for their work rate or determination. Unfortunately for all their effort, they came undone in the last minute. There was four minutes additional time and in true dramatic fashion, in the 94th minute Athlone were awarded a penalty. Kevin Knight, the stand in captain, was deemed to have handled the ball in the box. Gorman stepped up and expertly converted the penalty in to the top left corner, for his second goal of the evening, and crucially the equaliser to rescue a point for Athlone.

The final whistle blew straight away, unfortunately for Cabinteely the impressive Kevin Knight was given his marching orders for dissent at full time. Knight’s red card means he will be unavailable for the match against Wexford Youths next Friday.

The two teams leaving the pitch after the final whistle.

The two teams leaving the pitch after the final whistle.

Athlone Town: Shane Cusack, Stephen Quigley, Philip Hand, Stephen Dunne, Brian Shortall, Derek Doyle, Marco Chindea (Michael Brown 65), Thomas Mulroney, Philip Gorman, Garbhan Coughlan (Gavin Boyne 65), Daniel Purdy (Gary Burke 65).
Subs not used: Paddy Dunican (gk), Robbie Gaul, Daniel Molly, Sam O’Connor.

Cabinteely FC: Evan Whelan; Lloyd Cairns (Victor Ekanem 29), Jamie McGlynn, Kevin Knight, Daniel Campbell, Evan Finnegan, Aaron Brilly (Jamie Broderick 85), John McKeown, Conor Foley (Bobinel Mazono 74), Ger Pender, Shane O’Neill, .

Subs not used: Gavin Fahy, Ross Broderick, Sean Hyland.

Man of the match: Conor Foley. In his first start for Cabinteely after a number of solid displays off the bench, Foley made a real impact contributing with an assist and a goal. He was a real attacking threat and showed great work rate throughout.

Referee: Robert Hennessey.

Next Match:  Away to Wexford Youths on Friday 24th of April. Kick off is 19:45. Our next home game is on the 1st of May against league leaders Finn Harps.