LATE LATE SHOW
It was like olden times with a dramatic Late Late Show on a Saturday night. But this late late show was of the footballing nature at City Calling Stadium. De Town netted twice in two minutes and then the noisy visitors added their own well taken goal on 90 minutes.
It was a well deserved three points in front of probably the best crowd of the season so far. About 600 turned up with a large following making the short trip from Athlone. No doubt Section O and their many excellent and imaginative postings on Facebook helped swell those numbers. It all added up to an excellent atmosphere with non stop singing, dancing and chanting with the Athlone fans in great voice behind the car park goals.
The game itself failed to be a classic but no one supporting red and black will be too bothered with that. Chances were few and neither goal keeper was over worked though Gary Shaw and Wilo Mc Donagh went close on a few occasions. Roddy Collins was starting to look happy enough with a share of the points as the clock ticked down. One lone frustrated local voice rang out from the stand asking were we too settling for a draw. Six minutes remained and the three points on offer seemed to be slipping away . The message was duly answered from the well manicured pitch when Noel Haverty managed to shin the ball to the back of the net following a mis kick from an Athlone defender. The relief sent ripples of delight surging through the veins of the somewhat nervous local supporters.
We had hardly taken our seats again, when David O'Sullivan was picked out by Daniel Purdy. The white Eric took a direct route towards goal. He found himself in a similar position in Wexford the previous week but this time he rounded the keeper and with with great cool and nerve bulged the back of the net. The already ecstatic crowd simply erupted as his team mates engulfed the talented goalscorer in a massive team hug. With only four minutes left we sat back to enjoy the remaining few minutes. However, we were back on the edge of our seats when Athlone's Ian Sweeney wasn't closed down and he let fly with a stunning goal in the top corner. The fourth official showed three minutes but thankfully we held out to record and very important win to keep us four points ahead with a quarter of the league complete.
It was a lovely evening for football, City Calling Stadium was looking in top shape,Phil Munnelly and Caroline Rhattigan were among the large crowd and the locals in the crowd went home with a communal prize of three points making it a most enjoyable late late show.
SALTHILL AT HOME
On Saturday night next at 7.30 we host Salthill Devon at City Calling Stadium for the first round of the second phase of games. For anybody expecting a repeat performance of the opening game over in Drom, the word is....don't. The records show that we won that game convincingly but for those who were present, we will recall that the teams were very evenly matched for the opening half. It also should be remembered that they were short four regulars due to suspension. Finn Harps just managed to scrape past them with a single goal, so let that be a warning too. With the Town sitting on top of the league, every team we play will upping their performance against us. We've don the same in the past. While we will start favourites, nothing, absolutely nothing can be taken for granted. It'll be a tough game but hopefully the talent and depth of our squad will help us maintain our present position. It was great to see a few supporters return for the Athlone clash and hopefully many, many more will make the short trip out to CCS this coming Saturday night.
PLAYER OF THE MONTH/APRIL
Our home game against Sathill Devon will the final one for the month of April. And of course that means, that it'll be time already to vote for your player of the month. Last month's worthy winner was David O Sullivan who received every single vote. This month, it looks like two or three players could be in the running but then, Saturday night night could turn that situation on its head. Get your votes in as soon as possible after the Salthill game and the presentation will be made at our next home game which will against Finn Harps on May 11th. Text your name along with your nomination to 087 9896269 after the Salthill /Devon game.
CAR BOOT SALE
Now that Spring appears to be here, it might be time to clear out your garage or attic and make a few euro while you're at it. The next Supporters' Club car boot sale will be at City Calling Stadium on the May bank holiday Monday 6th, 10am-3pm. The car boot sales continue to be hugely successful and whether you're buying or selling, you'll be in a win win situation. The only losers are the few who haven't ben out yet to see what they're like. Don't miss this chance on the May bank holiday Monday.
BUS TO WATERFORD
It's a bit early yet, but a few people are asking if we're running a bus down to Waterford, which will be our next away game, Friday May 3rd. So far this season, buses have been organised to all away games and hopefully, we'll have enough to make the long trip down to the RSC.. If you're interested, let Liam Healion know.
The match programme for the game against Athlone sold out in record time. While a few people were disappointed not to get their programme, it was encouraging to see that so many were sold. Again, fair play to Seamus and Marty for all the hard work and research that goes into its production. The lads might be magic but it still doesn't happen by waving a magic wand. Any wonder then, that they were in such high spirits in the Market Bar after the game.
And while on the subject of spring cleans, fair play to the lads who have City Calling Stadium is such great nick before every home game. Some of the regular Athlone followers commented on how the whole place seems to be progressing in every single aspect. Of course, it doesn't happen by magic so again, well done to the dedicated workers who are toiling away behind the scenes. Also, well done to the small army of volunteers who were seen round the town of Longford on Saturday morning carrying out a huge spring clean. Posts, pillars were being washed down and litter and weeds were being collected all over the town. Action speaks louder than words and it's simply an other positive way of saying “c'mon de town”.
Best wishes to loyal Town supporter Matt Hynes who, this week sets off to walk the Camino in Spain. Last year, club secretary Carmel Browne walked the walk and had blisters for months as a result. She's now targeting Liam and Mags to follow in her footsteps but Liam has his heart set on climbing Croagh Patrick barefoot instead.