It has been a remarkable season to date for Athlone Town Women’s team and it is not over just yet, a current placing in the top three on the League table showing the progress already being made in the team’s short existence.
The Town are also just a game away from a cup final as they face holders Wexford Youths in the semi-final. A number of the squad have been called up for training with the Irish team as Tommy Hewitt’s charges continue to shine on the local and national stage.
Having already dismissed non-league opposition in the first round of the FAI Women’s cup, Athlone then beat Cork by two goals to nil at home in the quarter final. The draw for the last four threw up a tough tie with a game against Wexford, who are looking to retain the cup. Athlone were very unlucky to start the season back in March with a home defeat to the Youths and will be confident of creating an upset with home advantage again being enjoyed. The other semi-final pairs Shelbourne and Bohemian FC in a Dublin derby with Tallaght Stadium set to host the final at the end of the season. Both last four ties are scheduled for late September.
In the meantime, Hewitt’s team will endeavour to keep up the pressure on the top two in the league. Athlone returned to domestic action with another game against Cork as City enjoyed home advantage this time at Turners Cross. The men’s team had been hit for six at the same venue a week earlier but there was a better return for the women’s team. Athlone did open the scoring after 18 minutes through Madison Gibson but the hosts were back on level terms just before the hour mark. It looked like a disappointing evening was unfolding when the visitors missed a penalty kick. However, Athlone are made of stern stuff and Gibson struck again with 15 minutes remaining for the winning goal.
With the top two also picking up full points, it was important that the Town did not drop any points against lowly opposition. Fourth placed Peamount lost ground on the top three as they could only draw with Dublin rivals DLR Waves. The results leave Athlone just a point behind Wexford and six behind table toppers Shelbourne, but crucially with a game in hand on the Reds. With home games to follow against the top two, Athlone are very much in contention for honours. Next up is a home outing against Peamount where another win would all but secure a top three finish with just seven games then remaining.
Athlone’s impressive campaign has also been noticed at international level. Team captain, Jessica Hennessy and Emily Corbet have both been called up for the next home based training session with Muireann Devaney also being successful. All three celebrated with fine performances against Cork and an international cap for a local player is surely only a matter of time.