Second half goals from Eric Foley (penalty) and Marc Hughes made sure
Shelbourne kept up their promotion push with a deserved 2-0 win over a
poor Athlone Town outfit at Lissywollen on Saturday night.
Foley’s spot-kick came 11 minutes from the end when referee Rob
Rogers deemed that Stephen Paisley’s shot had hit the arm of an
Athlone player in a crowded box. The second half substitute stepped up
to take the penalty and coolly slotted it past Athlone keeper Michael
After waiting for what seemed like forever for the opening goal we
had to wait just two minutes for Shels to double their advantage; Marc
Hughes hit a cracking strike that flew in past Schlingerman.
With Derry City, Waterford Utd and Cork City all winning the previous
night it was up to Shels to show that they were very much in the
promotion battle. With five games to go there is very little
separating the top sides and it looks like this First Division and
promotion race will go right down to the wire.
Shels are just two points off third place Waterford Utd but they have
two massive games to come in the next two weeks; at home to Cork City
and away to leaders Derry City. Those games could have a huge bearing
on the Reds season.
The visitors dominated the game from start to finish with Athlone
Town offering very little. For all their dominance though Shels didn’t
create too many scoring chances and the home side were content in
sitting back and soaking up the pressure.
It was a drab and dour contest with Shels the only team playing
football. They started the game well and had the first effort on goal
as early as the second minute; full-back Sean Byrne broke down the
wing and decided to take a shot but unfortunately he dragged his shot
wide of Schlingermann’s goals.
Two minutes later and Shels had another chance; this time striker
Brian Farrell got in ahead of Athlone defender Paddy Collins but his
attempted lob bounced wide.
Shels continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession but failed to
create many chances of note. In the 26th minute they had another
effort on goal; Farrell received a neat pass from David Cassidy but
put his effort wide. For all the chances he had he should’ve done a
lot better with them.
Claims for what looked like handball in the Athlone box were waved
away by referee Rob Rogers two minutes later. Shels Captain David
McGill tried to remonstrate with the match official and earned himself
a yellow card.
Farrell had another chance in the 32nd minute but blasted over David
Cassidy’s right-wing corner. It really wasn’t the striker’s night.
Shels started the second half with the same venom as the first. Nine
minutes after the restart Farrell’s effort was cleared on the line as
the home side lived nervously. Ryan McEvoy headed over for Athlone
minutes later and it was as good as it would get for the home side.
Alan Mathews decided to ring the changes and introduced Mark Leech
and Eric Foley and both players made a difference. Shels continued to
press for the opening goal and in the 75th minute they thought they
had finally broken the deadlock but Paisley’s effort was ruled out for
an apparent foul on Schlingermann.
Four minutes later though they were to grab the opening goal; Paisley
was making himself busy and his shot hit the arm of an Athlone
defender in a crowded box and the referee pointed straight to the
spot. Up stepped Foley and he made no mistake.
Two minutes later Hughes doubled Shels’ advantage firing a fantastic
strike past the Athlone netminder. It was no more than they deserved.
With no way back for Athone, Shels saw out the last few minutes with
relative ease. It’s going to be an interesting few weeks in the First
Athlone Town: Michael Schlingermann, Mark Nolan, Paddy Collins, David
Breen, Eoghan O’Shea, Jason Hughes (Daniel O’Reilly 89), Gareth Kenna,
Denis Moran, Shane Fitzgerald (Stephen Relihan 8), Ryan McEvoy, Andy
Haran. Subs not used: Ronan Stack, Kieran Maloney and Scott Gaynor (GK). Yellow card: Moran 56
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Michael Coburn, Ian Ryan, Stephen Paisley,
Sean Byrne, David McGill, Paul Shiels, David Cassidy, Ray Scully (Eric
Foley 70), Brian Farrell (Mark Leech 63), Marc Hughes. Subs not used: Stephen Quigley, Gareth Whelan and Steve Williams (GK).
Yellow card: McGill 28.