No FAI Cup Final cheer as Athlone Town women succumb to Shelbourne in Tallaght Stadium

The Athlone Town team stand for the playing of the National Anthem before the EVOKE.ie FAI Women’s Cup Final match in Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

The Athlone Town team stand for the playing of the National Anthem before the EVOKE.ie FAI Women’s Cup Final match in Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

ATHLONE TOWN 0 SHELBOURNE 2

The Athlone Town senior women’s team were out of luck in the FAI Cup final as Shelbourne completed the domestic double on Sunday afternoon last in Tallaght Stadium.

The concession of an early goal made the task difficult as Athlone were further undone from another set piece midway through the opening half. An improved second half display almost completed a comeback but a controversial disallowed goal only added to the Town’s frustration.

Athlone looked to create history in only their third season in existence but soon found themselves behind. The game was just six minutes old when the Reds were gifted the opening goal after the Town looked to have been harshly penalised for a foul. Alex Kavanagh delivered the resulting free kick which Niamh Coombes fumbled over the line off Jessie Stapleton. It was a poor goal to concede and worse was to follow when the lead was doubled after 22 minutes. The first corner kick taken by Megan Smyth-Larkin went over the keeper and, when returned to the far post, Pearl Slattery was on hand to head home.

Athlone looked to get back into contention before the half time break. Muireann Devaney fired wide while Emily Corbet had two chances to add to her goal tally but was denied by Red’s keeper Amanda Budden. On the stroke of half time, semi-final hat trick hero Maddison Gibson had a chance to reduce the deficit but shot wide.

Athlone needed a good start to the second half but could easily have been further in arrears as the Dublin side had all the early chances. The second half was just two minutes old when Megan Smyth-Lynch took aim but Coombes got down well to push the ball behind for a corner. The woodwork then came to Athlone’s rescue as Keeva Keenan’s cross from the right cleared the keeper but bounced off the bar.

The Town recovered and a treble substitution on the hour mark had the desired effect. Athlone dominated but could not make any inroads into the Red’s lead. A first corner kick was put behind for a second. Gibson then had a cross from the left gathered while Roisin Molloy shot wide on 65 minutes. Scarlett Herron had a shot saved while another corner on 70 minutes lead to a goal being disallowed. Herron headed to the net but the flag went up to signal offside, a dubious call call by the match officials, Athlone missing out on receiving a major boost at an important part of the game.

Another crucial moment came after 73 minutes when Gibson had another good chance to score but Budden made the save. Athlone piled on the pressure for the closing stages but could not reduce the deficit. Substitute Kate Slevin fired over from the right with Gibson drilling a free kick at the keeper. The best chance came with just over 10 minutes remaining when Kellie Brennan set up Gibson but, with the goal at her mercy, the striker fired wide from twelve yards range.

 

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