With Wexford Youths lifting the FAI Senior Cup, the curtain came down on another successful Women’s National League campaign.
Shelbourne were looking to complete a double having already won the League but were denied by the cup specialists. Reflecting the massive strides made by the game in recent years, a record-breaking attendance turned up for the decider at Tallaght Stadium last Sunday.
For Athlone to be part of the thriving scene is a massive boost for the club as they reflect on a second season in the senior ranks.
In August 2020, the club fielded their very first senior women’s team in the Women’s National league and a satisfactory campaign ensued. It was hoped that further consolidation would follow this year and maybe a challenge could be mounted for a position in the top half of the table. Tommy Hewitt was to remain on as manager and quickly got to work for the new campaign.
The opening game could not have been tougher as eventual champions Shelbourne visited at the end of March. A two nil defeat was the outcome but the hosts had proved competitive against formidable opponents.
A six-goal thriller followed against Treaty United as the spoils were shared. It took the Town a while to get settled but they were unlucky in that most of their early opponents were the top teams.
Losses to Wexford and Peamount came either side of a draw with Cork City. A further loss at the hands of DLR Waves left Athlone languishing at the foot of the table but a first win was soon to follow, Galway edged out in a seven-goal thriller and the Town’s season was now up and running.
Building on their first win, another draw was recorded against Treaty at the end of June. Further success was slow to follow but Athlone remained competitive against those teams in the lower half of the table.
After somewhat of a slow start though, Hewitt’s charges hit a rich vein of form in the closing stages of the season. Treaty were seen off at the end of August with another Munster team falling as Cork were beaten in early October.
A further home win over DLR Waves and a draw in Galway left Athlone well placed heading into the last game of the season. Bohemians were the visitors and a win over the Dublin outfit would see the home team finish in a creditable sixth spot. Unfortunately, the game ended in a draw with Bohs staying ahead on goal difference - the ever-impressive Kellie Brennan on target for the Town.
The shock was at the top end of the table where Peamount were pipped by Shels after slipping up against Galway. While well adrift of the top five, Athlone finished ahead of Cork and Treaty with four wins and seven draws being recorded.
Plans are already in place for 2022 with player of the year Roisin Molloy again signed up for next season and more team mates set to follow.