Athlone Community College disposed of their second Kildare school in the space of a fortnight as they defeated Salesian College of Celbridge with relative ease in the Leinster Colleges A’ Football Championship round two last Wednesday afternoon, writes Eoin Beatty.
Leinster Senior A Colleges Football Championship Round 2
Athlone Community College: 1-8
Salesian College, Celbridge: 0-4
Just a mere two weeks prior to this fixture, Athy’s Ard Scoil na Trionoide made the journey north west to Athlone to take on the local school, a game in which they were to be comprehensively beaten on a scoreline of 0-12 to 0-1.
Wednesday’s game however, wasn’t as one sided, but once Athlone got into their stride, they were very hard to play against and full value for their victory.
Salesians, trained by Cathal Mullin, from the Garrycastle club in Athlone, were left to rue numerous missed goal opportunities including full forward Shane Ryan’s soccer style attempt inside the opening two minutes with the game still scoreless. The big number 14 anticipated the breaking ball, but with the entire Athlone full-back line chasing after him, he had no choice but to take the shot early which was excellently tipped around the post by Eoghan O’Slevin.
The visitors, Athlone, were sparked into life somewhat by Salesians electric start and took the lead against the run of play. Eoin MacCormaic slotted over a 14 yard free after his Ballinasloe clubmate Brian O’Shaughnessy was hauled down by Sean O’Regan. MacCormaic, who stayed in the full forward line after he took that free, found himself one on one with the ‘keeper just 30 seconds later as Keith Dolan won the kick out in midfield and played a quick first time ball into the onrushing number 10 who calmly slotted past a hapless Salesian goalkeeper.
The Kildare side, to their credit were determined to keep within touching distance and pulled the scoreline back to a respectable 1-1 to 0-2 at the break following two frees from Kevin Flynn and Craig Mooney to cap off what was a poor opening half hour.
The second half wasn’t much better either. The majority of the scores came in the last ten minutes; a time period when Athlone hit a purple patch and effectively killed off their opponents.
Until then, there was nothing more than a few mistimed challenges, another two wasted goal chances by Salesians and the smell of hot chicken rolls and soup as the other students gathered around the pitch to watch the game at lunchtime.
John Treacy could have and probably should have given them something to cheer about as he was quickest to react to Shane Ryan’s rebounded effort, but just as he was about to pull the trigger, Conor Mulry made a vital recovery block.
Athlone, could easily have ended this game a lot sooner than they did but they, themselves, were guilty of squandering chances to raise the green flag also. Kenny Dolan was clean through on Conor Reddington between the Salesian posts but opted for power rather than placement and the ball fizzed over the crossbar.
As the game entered the final third, a time in which stereotypically players are known to ‘tire’ and ‘run out of steam’, Athlone seemed to do the complete opposite and played some of the best football of the entire match.
They went on to rack up an impressive six points unanswered with the pick of the bunch coming from Ray Connellan, who, in this writers opinion was the man of the match.
Salesians looked rather dejected and physically drained following the Athlone flurry. They did however manage to muster up two more points before Gary McCormack’s full-time whistle. Flynn and Mooney once again exhibited their excellent free taking, landing another one each respectively but it wasnt enough to prevent Athlone keeping their 100% record against Kildare teams this campaign.
Eoghan O’Slevin; Martin Flannery, Michael McMahon, Matthew Darling; Conor Mulry, Brian O’Shaughnessy (0-1), Kenny O’Beirne; Ray Connellan (0-1), Senan Farrell; Eoin MacCormack (1-2 1f), Jack Quinn, Eoin Fallon (0-2); Kenny Dolan (0-1), Keith Dolan, Ronan Daly. Subs: Killian Bannon (0-1) for Matthew Darling, Eric Kearney for Keith Dolan.
Salesian College, Celbridge:
Conor Reddington, Sean O’Regan, Emmet Conaty, Bryan Flynn, Brian Nolan, Robert Cheasty, John Costello, Niall Kenny, Kevin Hayes, Craig Mooney (0-2f), Tomas McGoldrick, Kevin Flynn (0-2f), Neil Mooney, Shane Ryan, John Treacy. Subs: Luke Geaney for Kevin Hayes, Kevin O’Callaghan for Kevin Flynn.
Gary McCormack (Dublin).