Athlone Town tamely finished their 2017 away campaign with another defeat in Dublin that saw Cabinteely record their biggest ever senior win at Stradbrook last Friday night (September 22 ).
The home side were three goals to the good at half time. The lead was doubled after the break as Athlone grabbed two late consolation goals to take the bare look off the final score.
It took just eight minutes for Cabinteely to take the lead, as Athlone were punished following a free kick. The delivery from Stephen Ball out on the right fell to Kieran Waters who fired into the net from close range.
Athlone replied through a Ryan Gaffey free on the left, which was spilled by the goalkeeper, with the loose ball then put behind by the home defence. A second home score followed, however, after 25 minutes. Waters was again on target as he got on the end of a forward pass to slip the ball pass goalkeeper Conor Gleeson, who had advanced in vain off his goal line.
The game effectively ended as a contest on the half hour mark, as a defensive mix up gifted a third goal to Pat Delvin’s men. Waters invited Gleeson and full back Ian Fletcher to get into a tangle in attempting to deny the division's top scorer. Joe Doyle took full advantage of the poor defending to score. Doyle could have further punished the Town in the last action of the half but fired just wide of the post instead.
Peter Walsh came on for Joe Carmody at half-time as Athlone looked to tighten up things in midfield by sacrificing an attacker. Gaffey and Claudio Silva both fired wide early on while Ethan Nkololo was denied by some solid home defending.
The bright opening, though, faded as Cabinteely further increased their lead after 55 minutes. Waters had little difficulty in completing his hat trick with a simple tap-in following a Dean Casey free-kick.
Substitute Ryan Swan was introduced after 70 minutes and was soon making a positive contribution as he nipped in at the near post to score following a corner kick. The rout was completed with seven minutes left when Waters turned provider, sending in a cross from the left which was finished to the net at the far post by Doyle.
Athlone recovered some of their pride in the closing moments with two goals. A penalty awarded after Nkololo was taken down saw Stephen Walsh send the keeper the wrong way with the spot kick. The deficit was further reduced in stoppage time as Silva grabbed his second goal in as many games. The Town number nine arrived at the far post to slot home a Fletcher cross from the left wing. It was mere consolation though for Athlone on another dark night in Dublin.
The defeat coupled with Wexford picking up a point at home to Wexford means Athlone will finish in bottom spot for a second season in a row.