Town go down fighting

Despite summoning a brave rally Athlone Town still suffered an instant SSE Airtricity League Premier Division relegation which ‘disappointed’ manager Keith Long.

Pointless when inheriting the role as the Midlanders boss, Long has plenty to reflect upon in the coming weeks and months. “We will have to digest what has happened and learn lessons from what has happened since we came in,” is Long’s verdict. “It was a difficult task and we were under no illusions coming in here, but we need to go away and have a look at ourselves to reflect on the season past.”

Long, who has made an impressive start to his own managerial career, felt that Athlone left points behind them on several occasions this year. “If you look at the games we played against Bray we’ve drawn the three. We missed a penalty in the 85th minute in my first game; in charge. We conceded a 92nd minute equaliser in Bray and last Friday Dean Zambra won’t score a goal like that again in his career.

“I look back at performances like Drogheda and UCD away when we should have won those games. We had a chance against Cork City here at 2-2 to win the game, all managers will look back and say if only. If we had turned those draws into wins we wouldn’t have been in the situation we were in.”

With UCD defeating Drogheda United last Friday the result of Athlone’s match with Bray ended up carrying little weight. “We scored a goal early on, we created a number of chances, we looked good going forward,” Dunne said regarding the Bray fixture. “I think maybe it is a reflection of the season. We have drawn another game, the result was immaterial with UCD winning against Drogheda. I’m disappointed because I felt that there was enough quality within the group of players to stay in the division. The guys are hurting in the dressing room. It is going to take a while to get over and we will have to go away, dust ourselves down to plan the next step.”

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