Disappointment for Athlone Town ladies as Shelbourne claim opening Avenir Sports Cup success


Placed in an enticing group in the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup, the Athlone Town ladies played their opening gameof the competition in Lissywollen on Saturday night.

Shelbourne were the visitors and with just the top team progressing to the knockout stages, the Town’s challenge looks to have ended following defeat.

The game was halted by the referee after just 10 minutes play in the interest of safety following thunderstorms. At this stage, Athlone were already two goals in arrears, but the home team did have the first chance on two minutes when a shot from Madison Gibson was pushed behind by the Red’s keeper for the first corner kick.

The visitors recovered to open the scoring from their first corner on six minutes. Athlone needlessly gave away the corner and were further punished as Kayla Hamric forced the ball home at the far post following the delivery. The lead was doubled two minutes later as Athlone were again caught out in defence, as Hamric’s shot from inside the penalty area went past home keeper Nyla Peterkin.

Action resumed after the enforced break with Athlone now much improved after their dreadful start. Chloe Singleton fired over with two corners following in quick succession. Shel’s captain Noelle Murray then had a shot saved. The remaining action up to the midway point of the half saw the visitors force two more corners as against one for Athlone. Murray and Hamric were both off target for Shels with Gibson having a home chance on the half hour mark. Hamric was denied her hat trick by a good save from Peterkin.

Athlone had chances to reduce the deficit in the final 10 minutes. Roisin Molloy sent in a cross from the right with Gillian Keenan’s header blocked. Muireann Devaney then fired a shot across the goalmouth from the right which flew just wide. In between, Peterkin denied Shels when she saved a free kick from Megan Smyth-Lynch, the last action of the half seeing Tommy Hewitt’s charges earn another corner from which Kayleigh Shine fired wide.

The game all but ended as a contest by the hour mark. The halves fiirst two attempts on goal saw Smyth-Lynch shoot over for Shels with Molloy drilling a free kick at the keeper at the other end prior to goal number three arriving after 56 minutes. Keeva Keenan set up Smyth-Lynch who fired past a hesitant Peterkin as she advanced from goal.

The hapless Town keeper was again suffering three minutes later as Hamric completed her hat trick when her shot was fumbled to the net by the keeper at the post. Athlone tried hard as they looked to restore respectability. Julia Weithofer drilled a free over with Molloy also off target with a shot from play. Murray and Devaney were then denied by the respective keepers as the half progressed.

Athlone forced another corner after 81 minutes which proved to be the last noteworthy action in normal time. Athlone finally grabbed a consolation score during stoppage time however when substitute Hazel Donegan found the net from the edge of the six-yard box.


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