Athlone Town put their off-field woes to one side to beat Letterkenny

It has been an eventful week for Athlone Town, who were scheduled to stage an open meeting at Lissywollen.

Supporters staged a protest ahead of Saturday evening’s FAI Cup second-round match against Letterkenny Rovers.

Athlone claimed victory in the replay after extra time on Tuesday which was a considerable boost.

Before the Letterkenny replay, Athlone had issued a plea on the club website regarding the future of the club.

“The Committee of Athlone Town Football Club will meet with any and all interested parties to discuss any plans for the proposed future viability of the club,” the statement said.

“The Executive Committee will step down if the proposed plan is satisfactory and workable. The Executive wish to also state that they will give any assistance necessary with the running of the Club where required.”

It has been a difficult couple of years for Athlone since suffering relegation from the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division in 2014.

Ravaged by off-field difficulties, the club has struggled, but the fact that they survived in Donegal was a source of some comfort.

A Letterkenny lapse in concentration was punished with Alan O’Sullivan’s late goal proving sufficient to edge Athlone into the last 16 of the competition.

In the First Division, Athlone host UCD at Lissywollen on Sunday afternoon.

Sitting in seventh place in the table, Athlone have claimed only one victory in 11 league matches so far this season.

Unsurprisingly, Limerick FC are the runaway leaders with a flawless record with 33 points registered.

Drogheda United, who lie in second place, have accumulated 21 points, but Athlone need to stitch a sequence of positive results together quickly.

The Midlanders are two points in front of bottom side Cabinteely, but the fact that third from bottom Waterford United are six points better off than Athlone is a worry.

Reducing that gap is Athlone’s current brief as Alan Mathews’ charges are keen to deliver a defiant display against the Students.

UCD have been erratic in the first two months of the campaign posting four victories and three draws, while suffering four defeats.

Athlone are fully aware that significant improvement is necessary, but the spirited way the cup triumph over Letterkenny was eked out offers a small bit of hope.

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