The final whistle on Saturday night drew a close to Cabinteely F.C.’s first season in the League of Ireland. Alan Matthew’s Athlone Town side recorded their first win against Cabo all season with a 3-1 win.
Cabinteely started the game much the brighter with Victor Ekanem going close, the centre backs shot looked destined for the goal but the post denied him. Peter Durrad then went close but his header went just over the bar.
Cabo were on top from early on, their seven corners in the first half an hour a testament to this but it was Athlone who got the breakthrough. A long ball was not dealt with and it lead to Athlone’s first chance of the game, Gillen saved the initial shot from Gorman but the ball fell into the path of O’Connor who had the simplest of finishes into an empty net to give Athlone the lead.
Athlone soon doubled their lead through Daniel Purdy. The midfielder latched onto a thorough ball and he found himself one on one with Gillen and he expertly lobbed the advancing goalkeeper with his first touch. Cabo could barely believe the scoreline, in a game they had dominated they now found themselves two nil down.
A 5 minute spell gave Cabinteely a way back into the game. Michael Brown picked the ball up on the right hand wing and the Athlone Town defence could have been forgiven for thinking that there was no danger, such was the distance from goal, but the Cabo winger beat one player before unleashing a brilliant strike from 30 yards which is a sure candidate for goal of the season!
Cabo soon nearly equalised, Peter Durrad won possession on the edge of the Athlone Box before trying to square it to Stephen Hanley who had an open goal but Athlone defended well and cut out the pass. Cabo continued to press for the equaliser and it was this sustained pressure that led to Athlone Town being reduced to 10 men. Stephen Dunne picked up a second yellow and was given his marching orders just before half time.
Cabinteely pressed for the equaliser in the second half but could not create chances as good as those in the first half. Athlone were soaking up the Cabo pressure and late on they scored the goal that would kill off the game. Daniel Purdy scored a free kick from 25 yards which found its way into the net when Gillen misjudged the bounce of the ball. Purdy wheeled away in delight, knowing the importance of his second goal of the game. It was to be the last goal of the game, the final score was 3-1 to Athlone.
Cabinteely can be very proud of their performances throughout the season, they put it up to every team and surprised a lot of teams in what was a successful first season at this level. One thing is for sure, Cabo will come back stronger next year!
Cabinteely starting 11: C. Gillen, K. Byrne, V. Ekanem (c), E. McDonagh, K. Knight, D. Clarke, S. Dunne (S. Burke 83), M. Brown, P. Durrad, S. Hanley (S. Oguntola 62)