Defeat to Limerick leaves Athlone Town bottom of First Division

Athlone Town captain Daragh Concannon challenges Limerick midfielder Paul O'Connor during the Town's 0-2 defeat art Lissywollen last Friday.
Photo: Ashley Cahill/AC Sports Images

Athlone Town captain Daragh Concannon challenges Limerick midfielder Paul O'Connor during the Town's 0-2 defeat art Lissywollen last Friday. Photo: Ashley Cahill/AC Sports Images

Athlone Town suffered a 0-2 defeat to runaway league leaders Limerick at Lissywollen on Friday night to leave them bottom of the First Division table.

Athlone togged out without the suspended Aidy Byrne and also lost Claudio Silva to injury in the warm-up. Roy King was given his season debut and Michael Monaghan slotted back in after sitting out the game against Drogheda last week.

It took Limerick just 11 minutes to get on the scoresheet, with Aaron Greene firing home from close range after being put through by Lee Lynch.

Many an Athlone fan would have been forgiven for thinking their side may have been in for a long night, but Limerick failed to add to their lead before the half-time break in what was a rather drab opening 45 minutes. Jamie Quinn in the Athlone goal was forced into a good save from Limerick's Chris Mulhall on the half-hour mark, but that was the extent of the threat from Limerick.

The second half began with Limerick dominating possession. Lee Lynch unleashed a long-range shot on 53 minutes but the effort did little to trouble Quinn. On 57 minutes, Athlone almost equalised when Colm Coss's lofted effort was helped onto the post by Limerick keeper Freddy Hall.

On 61 minutes, Limerick had a goal from Lynch ruled out for offside. However, just two minutes later Williams netted Limerick's second with a free header from inside the six-yard box.

Conor Barry left the field injured on a stretcher with 20 minutes remaining and was replaced by Sean McGrane. The remainder of the game was played out with little incident and it was Limerick who took all of the spoils.

The win was Limerick's 17th of 18 league games this season and puts them an insurmountable 20 points ahead of second place Drogheda United. The Super Blues need just five more victories from their remaining 11 league matches to secure the First Division title and an immediate return to the top flight.

While Limerick march on at the top of the table the picture could not be more different for Athlone, who have returned to the foot of the table following Cabinteely's win against Waterford United.

One positive piece of news is that the injury sustained by Conor Barry is not believed to be as serious as first feared, with a statement on the club's site saying he may even be in contention to face UCD on Friday evening in what will be the first of three consecutive away games.

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