League Report: Athlone Town 3 – 1 Peamount United

Madie Gibson got on the scoresheet for Athlone

Madie Gibson got on the scoresheet for Athlone Credit: Gerry Shanahan (ETPhotos)

“In 10 days the Williamites fired off 12,000 cannonballs, 600 bombs and ‘a great many ton of stones shot out of our mortars’. It was the heaviest bombardment in Irish history.”

The Great Siege of Athlone

The Town stood firm when Peamount threatened to pillage their backline under the glare of the TG4 cameras, firing three of their own into the back of the Green Giants net and securing a memorable 3-1 victory against the reigning Women’s Premier Division champions 

Despite having dispatched James O'Callaghan’s side 3-0 in the President's Cup on March 2nd, the visitors had made the better start in the League, winning two of their opening three games.

Ciaran Kilduff’s Athlone Town side were disappointed to lose against the current league leaders, Galway United, but have since picked up the full complement of points in Dalymount and snatched a point at home to Shelbourne.

The Town were thankful to have Chloe Singleton back in their starting XI, the Athlone native stealing a brace against the Peas in early March.

The turquoise of Peamount’s away kit and the black shirts of the home side mirrored the 2,024 coloured seating that line the stadium in Lissywollen, the Guns N’ Roses rock anthem ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ still ringing in the ears of the spectators as a weak sunlight contrasted with a stiff breeze.

Casey Howe sent the Peas away contingent reaching for the Nurofen Plus from the tip-off, the former Glentoran striker finding herself in acres of space on the right channel and linked up well with Kerryanne Brown. Jetta Berrill saving the Peas blushes on more than one occasion as the fan favourite sparked inviting balls into their six yard box.

The Town’s attackers seemed unaware of Niamh Reid Burke’s position despite her fluorescent orange jersey. The former Shelbourne goalie ruffled up in the first half as she bravely punched, parried and caught ball after ball for the visitors.

Some reprieve for the Greenogue greats when Ellen Dolan was deemed to be fouled by Jesi Lynn Rossman, the number 5 unhappy with referee Chris Sheehan’s decision. 

With the hindsight of the TG4 replay, Rossman looked to have pinched the ball cleanly from Dolan’s feet, yet a clash of knees led to Sheehan adjudicating a penalty.

Ireland Under 19 international goalkeeper Katie Keane guessed right, but could not stop the Offaly teenagers' perfectly placed penalty from rifling into the back of the net, the sound of ball against bollard as pleasing as the rattle of a pool ball hitting a back pocket.

Casey Howe had half a chance to level the score, persistence from Madie Gibson and Shauna Brennan wide on the left resulting in an inviting ball to the forward, whose outstretched leg reduced the power she could apply to the tap.

The Peas threatened sporadically throughout the first half and could have extended their lead by two or three.

They showed spells of class you may find in a Mercedes-Benz dealership; the logo of the three pointed star that sits atop the German automobiles bonnet providing the backdrop to the visitors charge, Erin McLaughlin flashing the ball wide and to the left of the home side's post.

Ciaran Kilduff did not look concerned on the sidelines, as Howe persisted in bursts down the right lane, spinning Berrill as if she were a top spinner toy and was rewarded for her efforts in the 43rd minute.

A switch of play made all the more impressive by the nonchalant sideline hand pass that kicked it off would result in the equaliser, Howe showing maturity beyond her 21 years with a one touch side footed lob of ball past the goalkeeper. 

After the restart, Peamount came out swinging. Captain Karen Duggan thumping the ball towards goal from long range and was unlucky to see it parried by Keane who was thanked by Kayleigh Shine with a thump of hand on glove.

For the Town however, Gibson sparked to life on the channels, often turning two to three Peas at a time and played a crucial role in the two goals secured by the home side.

In the 63rd minute, the Monmouth University alumni pounced on the ball as it rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and stroked it past Burke, Howe unlucky not to net her fourth League goal of the campaign.

As an inky darkness settled over the heartlands, the home side took control, Howe once again thwarted by the woodwork from the spot in the 73rd minute when the left post cruelly denied her a brace.

The home side could have bagged a couple in the final 15 minutes and it came as no surprise when they netted a third.

Gibson’s battery had not drained come the 84th minute, the American sprinting down the left channel and doing well to deliver a low ball to Howe who deftly, with one touch, spun it up and past both Ciara Maher and Burke.

Four minutes of stoppage time ticked slowly by and Athlone looked to bag a fourth, yet the contest was to end 3-1 to Kilduff’s 11, who showed themselves to be real contenders in this season's Women’s Premier Division title race.

And The Peas? Well they journeyed back to Dublin with much to think about, Axl Rose’s war cry disturbing any attempts at some shuteye.

You know where you are?

You're in the jungle, baby

Athlone Town WFC: Katie Keane; Shauna Brennan, Kellie Brennan, Jesi Lynne Rossman, Kayleigh Shine; Kerryanne Brown, Madison Gibson (Gillian Keenan 88), Laurie Ryan, Chloe Singleton (Jenaya Robertson 64), Kate Slevin (Roisin Molloy 64); Casey Howe (Hazel Donegan 90).
Subs not used: Amy Mahon, Mary Philips, Ciara O'Neill, Isabel Ryan, Aoife Murphy O'Connor.
Booked: Jesi Lynne Rossman (14).
Sent off: None.

Peamount United: Niamh Reid Burke; Dearbhaile Beirne, Jetta Berrill, Ciara Maher, Lauryn O'Callaghan; Karen Duggan, Jessica Fitzgerald, Freya Healy (Becky Watkins 67), Mia McGonnell (Louise Masterson 74), Erin McLaughlin; Ellen Dolan.
Subs not used: Niamh Richardson, Niamh Coombes, Lille Noonan, Caoimhe Connaughton, Keelin Dermody, Avril Brierley, Toni Ceno.
Booked: None.

Referee: Chris Sheehan. 
Attendance: 512