Garry O’ Grady reports on the ‘A’ team’s disappointing display against neighbours Athenry as they exit the FAI Cup competition.
It was a disappointing outcome to our eagerly awaited local derby versus Athenry in the FAI junior cup 3rd round played in Colemanstown on Saturday morning. Starting without our talisman Tom Flannery it was a very bright opening from the home side. Tom was replaced in the starting line up by Robbie Lally and he sprang into action on 3minutes with a smart turn on the edge of the six yard box to make space but his shot hit the side net. The home side matched the visitors in the early exchanges with some hefty challenges going in from both sides as was to be expected in this derby fixture.
Another chance fell to Colemanstown on 15mins when the Athenry keeper parried a long range free kick from Alan Finn; the ball fell to Gary Lally who squared the ball across the box when the goal was gaping which allowed the Athenry defence to scramble the ball clear.
Athenry gradually grappled a hold of the game and created a clear cut chance from a left wing cross but the free header was not capitalised on at the back post by the Athenry winger. Colemanstown drew another save from the Athenry keeper when an excellent Ronan Carr pass found Damien Wynne who unleashed a fine strike.
Athenry made the break through on 35min when a penalty was awarded for a rash challenge in the box and was duly converted by the Athenry full back. The home side were dealt a hammer blow when the dynamic midfielder Richie Lally had to be withdrawn through injury and at the half time interval our flying winger Geordan Kenny had to depart due to other commitments. In hindsight this double loss probably affected Colemanstown’s second half performance and this was eventually reflected in the score line. Athenry asserted their command on the game and added a second on 55minutes through a sweet strike by the impressive Cathay Fahy. A 3rd was added 5 mins later.
Sean Walsh was introduced for the home side and he managed to generate a couple of chances; one was a cross to the head of John O’Brien and the other a good turn and shot by himself to draw a save from the Athenry keeper.
Athenry added a 4th when a fine save by our returning keeper Alan Finn was unfortunately palmed into the path of the on-rushing Athenry winger. It was again a great battling performance from the lads and they never dropped the heads even when the score line was against them. This is a team that is heading in the right direction and success is not too far around the corner. The A team are in cup action again next weekend when they take on Knocknacarra in the Connacht cup at home; KO2pm.
Match report from Garry O’Grady of the ‘A’ Team management quartet.