First
Date: 7:45 p.m. March 6, 2009
Venue:
Att: 650

Scored: 12'
- Noel McGee 12'

Peno Miss: 18'
- Damien Rushe 18'


Mervue United 0 - 1 Athlone Town

Fri, Mar 06 2009

Noel McGee's early goal gave Athlone Town all three points on an historic night for Mervue United.

 

For an occasion that was marked beforehand by the formal introduction of both sides to the Mayor of Galway, Padraig Conneely, it was no surprise that the home team were nervous in the opening 20 minutes. Any early goal-line clearance by Mervue's Rynal Browne from Damien Rushe's corner was followed by a great save by Ryan Griffin to deny Thomas McGauley.

 

With Anthony Hayes and Noel McGee given licence to get forward from a crowded midfield, Athlone's pace out wide caused Mervue many problems early on. Emeka Onwubiko was being afforded an acre of space on the right flank and he made it pay in the 12th minute.

 

His cross from the end-line was intercepted but not cleared. Another effort from Kevin Williamson was blocked but Noel McGee was on hand to volley the rebound gleefully to the back of an empty net.

 

Things could have gotten even worse for the home side in the 18th minute when Nicky Curran upended McGee in the area but Griffin again came to his side's rescue with a fine diving save to his right to deny Rushe from the spot. Mervue manager Johnny Glynn shuffled his personnel and formation, but it wasn't until the half hour mark that they began to get to grips with the pacy Athlone counter attacks. Onwubiko should have scored on 24 when Kevin Williamson broke at pace but Griffin again proved his worth with a smothering save.

 

The pace of proceedings was a little higher than this Mervue side are accustomed to and they were too often caught in possession when thinking they had more time. When they did eventually mirror Athlone's 4-5-1 formation by pushing David O'Dowd back into a right sided midfield spot they began to exert more pressure on the Athlone back four.

 

The competitiveness of the tie increased further in the second half as O'Dowd and substitute Alex Lee began to create openings from either flank. Nicky Curran twice went close with shots; the first effort narrowly over while the second grazed the crossbar with McGuinness well beaten.

 

Onwubiko, whose defensive duties on the right amounted to mainly watching the game from the Mervue half, continued to pose the greatest threat for Athlone. His inch-perfect pass on 65 gave McGee another chance but Nigel Keady bravely put his head in to clear as McGee waited for the ball to drop onto his right foot.

 

As hard as the likes of Mike Tierney, Lee and David Goldbey tried, they could not breach the Athlone rearguard in which McGauley defended stoutly throughout. Stephen Place led the line willingly throughout and should have scored in the closing minutes but couldn't beat Griffin from close range. They should have added to their tally near the end had their final ball been more accurate, but no doubt Brendan Place will be just as satisfied with a single goal victory.

 

Johnny Glynn and his charges will be left to reflect on a nervy opening where the occasion seemed to get to them, but they will re-group and try to take the positives from their first ever League of Ireland fixture.

 

 

Mervue United: Ryan Griffin; Nigel Keady, Nicky Curran (Gary Traynor 73), Eric Browne, Kenny Farrell; David O'Brien, Rynal Browne, Mike Tierney, Rory Gaffney (Alex Lee 46); David O'Dowd (Pat Hoban 73), David Goldbey.
Subs not used: Noel McDonnell, Ger McGrath.

 

Athlone Town: John McGuinness; Robbie Hamm, Des Hope, Thomas McGauley, Brian Cleary; Emeka Onwubiko (Haffeez Sholola 93), Damien Rushe, Anthony Hayes, Kevin Williamson; Stephen Place, Noel McGee.
Subs not used: Trevor Gethins, Robert Egan, Kevin Dunne, Philip Coffey.



Referee: Padraig Sutton.

Attendance: 650.

Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Stephen Place (Athlone Town).

 


Mervue United
Ryan Griffin
Goalkeeper
Kenny Farrell
Defender
Eric Browne
Defender
Nicky Curran
Defender
Nigel Keady
Defender
Rory Gaffney
Midfielder
Mike Tierney
Midfielder
David O'Brien
Midfielder
Rynal Browne
Midfielder
Dave Goldbey
Forward
David O'Dowd
Forward

Substitutes
Noel McDonnell
Defender
Patrick Hoban
Forward
Gary Traynor
Midfield
Alex Lee
Midfield
Ger McGrath
Defender
Athlone Town
John McGuinness
Goalkeeper
Thomas McGauley
Defender
Des Hope
Defender
Robbie Hamm
Defender
Brian Cleary
Defender
Kevin Williamson
Midfielder
Damien Rushe
Midfielder
18Peno Miss: 18'
Emeka Onwubiko
Midfielder
Noel McGee
Midfielder
12Scored: 12'
Anthony Hayes
Midfielder
Stephen Place
Forward

Substitutes
Hafeez Sholola
Midfield
Trevor Gethins
Midfield
Robbie Egan
Defender
Kevin Dunne
Midfield
Philip Coffey
Goalkeeper