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First half brace sends Athenry through

Dynamo Blues 1 Athenry 2

Athenry advanced to the next round of the FAI Junior Cup after a hard fought win in Tuam on Sunday morning.

However it was Blues who had the perfect start, taking the lead after just two minutes. Vinny Carton was fouled on the left wing and he swung in an inch-perfect free kick to the back post, where Franny Fallon had the easiest of tasks to find the net.

Their lead didn’t last long, however, as Carton went from hero to villain just three minutes later, needlessly taking down Jamie O’Driscoll in the box. Seamus Sweeney had no option but to award a penalty to the visitors. Pat Byrne’s initial shot was saved brilliantly by Charlie Ward but Byrne followed up to crash home the rebound.

Ironically one of Dynamo Blues’ former greats was a nippy right winger by the name of Pat Byrne and he was looking on from the sideline on Sunday morning.

The chances were coming thick and fast in the early stages, with Seamie Crowe shooting wide from close range before Johnny Farragher nearly took advantage of a mix up between Kieran Kilkelly and Pat Byrne in the Athenry defence.

Midway through the half Darren Kelly’s corner kick found the head of Franny Fallon but he headed wide from point blank range. Kelly was one of Blues’ best players on the day and, on form, is as good as any midfielder in the county.

Shane Gilhooley was set up by Benny Lawless but he shot just wide. With the half-time whistle approaching Athenry took the lead. Jamie O’Driscoll latched on to a ball near the end line and with the home defence slow to close him down, he sent a perfect cross to the back post where Cathal Fahy’s header left Ward with no chance.

Athenry almost had the perfect start to the second half but Seamie Crowe’s early shot hit the post and went wide. A Crowe cross found the head of striker Emmet Byrne but he couldn’t keep his header below the crossbar.

Blues had the perfect chance to draw level 10 minutes into the half. Johnny Farragher beat the offside trap and bore down on Kieran Kilkelly’s goal. However he overplayed the ball, giving the ‘keeper time to advance and smother the striker’s effort.

After a quiet first half, winger Benny Lawless came more into the game for Athenry. A misjudged header by Kevin Stankard saw Lawless advance unmarked on Ward’s goal. He took the wrong option though when trying to square the ball for the in-rushing Crowe, as he was well placed to have a shot himself.

The final chance of the game fell to the away side as a deep cross from sub Conor Cannon landed on the head of Lawless, but he failed to hit the target.

Dynamo Blues: Charlie Ward, Johnny Trayers, Franny Fallon, Kevin Stankard, Ger Kelly, Paul Kavanagh, Jamie Murphy, Darren Kelly, Vinny Carton, Johnny Farragher, Mark Sweeney. Sub used: Colin Quinn for Paul Kavanagh.

Athenry: Kieran Kilkelly, Dave Carroll, Shane Gilhooley, Kevin Carr, Pakie Byrne, David Crimmons, Cathal Fahy, Jamie O’Driscoll, Benny Lawless, Emmet Byrne, Seamie Crowe. Sub used: Conor Cannon for Cathal Fahy.

Referee: Seamus Sweeney.

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