Match report by Tony Ghee
Longford Town equalled their record league victory with a thumping 7-1 win over Athlone Town at the City Calling Stadium last night. The win matches the 6-0 home victory over Shamrock Rovers in May, 2014, and was richly deserved as David O'Sullivan's third hat-trick of the season against Athlone, a double from Karl Chambers, and a goal each from Kealan Dillon and Daniel O'Reilly secured this emphatic triumph infront of the biggest league crowd of the season at the City Calling Stadium.
O'Sullivan scored his hat-trick inside 13 minutes with the first arriving as early as the 3rd minute. Kelly's perfectly weighted defence-splitting pass put in the Longford striker and he fired a low diagonal shot into the bottom right corner.
Five minutes later, O'Sullivan headed home a Kelly corner at the near post, and in the 13th minute O'Sullivan's awareness allowed him to beat the Athlone offside trap as he ran onto a long clearance before calmly shooting past Labuts into the Athlone net.
Remarkably, this was O'Sullivan's third hat-trick of the 2017 season against Athlone, and the club's fourth, as current Athlone Town striker Enda Curran also scored a hat-trick against Athlone when he wore the 'Red and Black' earlier in the season.
The home side could have been much further ahead at the interval as they had several other chances to add to O'Sullivan's hat-trick. In the 11th minute, O'Reilly's powerful header from a Kelly corner was magnificently tipped over by Labuts. A twenty-five yard effort from Kelly went narrowly wide, and a clever Kelly cut-back from the end-line picked out midfielder Verdon who shot wide from a good position.
Athlone briefly got back into the contest two minutes after the restart when Gaffey's deflected shot from the edge of the box nestled in the Longford net.
The 'Red and Black' restored their three goal cushion just before the hour mark when Kelly's corner was headed home from a tight angle at the back post by centre-half O'Reilly, and Don Cowan almost scored number five on 68 minutes but his shot was cleared off the line by Athlone captain Dragos.
The home side did score a fifth goal on 76 minutes as Chambers pounced to score on the rebound after O'Sullivan's effort was initially blocked. Substitute Dillon made it 6-1 on 81 minutes with a stunning twenty-five yard volley, and two minutes after that it was 7-1. Dillon and Hofmann combined to set up Chambers whose deflected shot rattled the Athlone net.
Longford Town finished the match with four players on the team who have come up through the underage system. Noack-Hofmann and Chambers both started, while Dervan and Beya came on as substitutes in the 58th and 74th minutes respectively.
Longford Town: Brady, Chambers, Haverty, O'Reilly, Noack-Hofmann, Cowan, Verdon, Zambra, Kehoe, O'Sullivan, Kelly.
Substitutes: Dervin for Zambra (58 minutes), Dillon for Kelly (64 minutes), Beya for Kehoe (74 minutes).
Athlone Town: Labuts, McCartan, Folan, Dragos, McGrane, Walsh, Carmondy, Spelman, Gaffey, Nkololo, Layng.
Substitute: Arebiyi-Atoki for Walsh (72 minutes).
Referee: Tomas Connolly.