Cabinteely ran riot as they recorded their largest ever win in the League of Ireland, defeating Athlone Town 5-1 in Stradbrook on Friday night.
Joe Doyle made history for Cabo, becoming the first player to net four goals in a single game for the club since they joined the First Division last season – and his hat-trick after just seven minutes and 31 seconds must be counted as one of the fastest ever seen in the League of Ireland. Oscar Brennan got Cabo’s fifth three minutes from time.
While Eddie Gormley will be delighted with a win that sees his side come off the bottom of the table, for Colin Fortune and Mick Dolan – the management team put in place following Alan Mathews’ resignation – it was a nightmare.
Though the Midlanders settled somewhat following the shock of falling so far behind so quickly – Michael Monaghan netting a second-half consolation – this result highlights just how much work needs to be done to ensure Athlone remain at least marginally competitive throughout the remainder of the season.
Both these sides had won just one league game each before arriving at Stradbrook. Incidentally, these wins came against each other, Cabo winning 2-1 in Blackrock on the opening night and Athlone winning 3-1 at home in April.
Given the overhaul of the Town squad during the mid-season break – 24 new players arrived at the club with just four of the original squad remaining – Cabo would have fancied their chances. And they duly showed it by taking a three-goal lead inside the opening eight minutes.
Joe Doyle opened the scoring after just 120 seconds, netting from 25 yards out with Athlone ‘keeper Jamie Quinn off his line and perhaps not helped by the blazing sunlight. Two minutes later, Doyle doubled his lead from a corner, heading home Shane Boyle’s delivery.
Doyle netted the winner between the sides in March and he made sure of this game when he completed his hat-trick on exactly seven minutes and 31 seconds.
Athlone made a hash of clearing a low Mark Slater ball into the box and Doyle pounced to fire through a crowd of bodies, with the aid of a slight deflection, to become the first Cabinteely player to net a hat-trick.
The away side tried to get something back and fashioned two chances, Conor Barry – Athlone’s highest current scorer with three goals by virtue of five-goal Marco Chindea’s departure – blasted over in the 16th minute from range. One minute later, their centre-backs combined, Joe Moloney knocking down a free-kick for Jack Quinn to fire over.
Yet it was Cabo, after seeing chances passed up by Slater, Aaron Brilly, Shane Boyle and Kevin Knight, who got the game’s next goal in the 27th minute – and it was Doyle again who found the net. Oliver Hamzat dispossessed Moloney on the left side of the area and he squared for the striker to tap in from close range for his fourth of the day.
The visitors settled down, winning back-to-back corners and seeing a Conor Barry set-piece punched clear by Michael Kelly, but it was Cabo who continued making all the running – sloppy over ambitious passing and fanciful shooting letting them down on more than one occasion as others sought to get themselves on the scoresheet.
A superb sliding block from Ian Fletcher denied Hamzat a goal five minutes into the second-half. In the 51st minute, the 19 year old then had a headed chance at the opposite end from a Barry free-kick, but Ed McDonagh was on hand to block and clear.
Karl Byrne fired over for Cabo in the 57th minute before Athlone won a free-kick at the other end four minutes later. Ryan Gaffey opted to shoot but it lacked power and Kelly caught if comfortably.
Doyle had two chances to get his fifth. Town ‘keeper Jamie Quinn saved his 63rd minute shot with his legs. Four minutes later Doyle fired wide when played through by Hamzat. Inbetween, Quinn missed a corner he came to claim and Oscar Brennan fired the loose ball over.
Then, In the 69th minute, Athlone pulled one back. Michael Monaghan took a pass from Barry and was allowed to waltz his way into the box and fire low past Kelly to deny Cabo a cleansheet.
However, after seeing multiple chances passed up to extend their lead through Slater, Hamzat and Boyle, Cabo got a fifth in the 87th minute. A corner from the home side was only partially cleared and came out as far as Brennan who volleyed it in off the crossbar to wrap up a sensational victory for Cabo.
Cabinteely: Michael Kelly; Karl Byrne, Oscar Brennan, Edward McDonagh, Kevin Knight; Mark Slater (Christian Lotefa, 85), Shane Boyle (Gavin Howard, 89), Aaron Brilly, Ollie Hamzat, Paul Fox (Shane Heffernan, 89); Joe Doyle.
Subs not used: Cathal Gillen (GK), Ryan Byrne, Alex Connolly, Lee Mitchell.
Yellow Cards: Hamzat (78).
Athlone Town: Jamie Quinn; Ian Fletcher, Joseph Moloney, Ciaran O’Connell, Jack Quinn; Conor Barry, David Brookes, Daragh Concannon (Ronan Hanaphy, HT), Daniel Molloy, Michael Monaghan; Ryan Gaffey (Aaron O’Neill, 88).
Subs not used: Sean Nolan (GK), Aidan Byrne, Ciaran Maguire, Shane O’Keeffe, Claudio Silva.
Yellow Cards: Moloney (49), Brookes (81).