Athlone claimed a 1-6 to 0-6 Leinster Intermediate Football Championship semi-final victory over Wexford’s Glynn-Barntown.
Even though the conditions were wretched, this was a smashing contest as Athlone eventually shrugged off Glynn-Barntown’s spirited resistance. It was only in the closing stages that Athlone were able to land the crucial scores to defeat the Wexford outfit. Playing against the strong breeze in the first half, Athlone were well organised as they set up well defensively. Glynn-Barntown were frustrated as Athlone battled impressively as a splendid, if low scoring match unfolded.
Some 18 minutes had elapsed when Glynn-Barntown eventually registered a score and though Athlone fell further behind Ray Connellan responded with a free. Trailing by 0-4 to 0-1 on the stroke of half-time, Athlone grabbed an opportunistic goal seconds before the interval. Ray Connellan’s delivery caused panic in the Glynn-Barntown defence, and Jordan Marshment reacted smartly to fist a goal for the visitors.
Glynn-Barntown kicked a point as they departed with a 0-5 to 1-1 interval advantage, but Athlone were satisfied considering the conditions. After the restart, though, Athlone encountered problems with their shooting and Glynn-Barntown edged two points ahead. John Connellan trimmed the gap to one. The narrowest of margins separated the sides with only three minutes remaining, but John Connellan restored parity with an ice-cool finish.
Delicately poised, Athlone hit the front for the first time late on when John Connellan crafted space for substitute Marty Darling, who landed a vital score. In the dying seconds the two Connellan brothers, Ray and John, lofted the insurance scores for Athlone, who prevailed following a gruelling encounter in the south east.
Athlone: D Costello, E Maher, D Kelly, F Murray, D Lynam, N Mulligan, T Egan, J Stapleton, P Bannon, S Ward, J Marshment (1-0 ), J Egan, K Connellan (0-3 ), R Connellan (0-2 ), D Reid. Subs used: M Darling (0-1 ), S Omukoro, J Fallon, M Greene, J Quinn.