Date: 7:45 p.m. July 25, 2009
Venue: Athlone Town Stadium
Following constant pressure on the Midlander’s goal it was no surprise that a very lively Collie O’Brien scored his first goal for Shels after he demonstrated excellent ball control as he raced to the penalty area to fire past Alan O’Reilly.
Referee Keith Callanan struggled to control the game which was very physical at times and needed a firm hand. In the 26th minute he gave a yellow card to Athlone’s Brian Cleary and in the 30th minute to Shels’ Dave McGill. The Reds doubled their lead thanks to a beautiful headed goal by Dave McAllister that crashed into the net off the upright in the 31st minute.
Athlone rarely threatened the Shels’ defence until the 41st minute when a brilliant double save by ‘keeper Dean Delaney kept them at bay. Before the half time whistle, referee Callanan issued a red card to the Shels’ captain Damien Brennan for abusive language, which was fully deserved. Dermot Keely, Shelbourne’s manager, replaced Colin O’Brien with Michael Synott in reaction to the dismissal.
At the start of the 2nd half, Mark O’Brien came on for Peter Hynes as Shels prepared for the inevitable onslaught from the home side, who clearly struggled against a resolute Shelbourne defence that were happy to keep the score line at 2 – 0.
The teams continued to share yellow cards, the first for the Reds’ Stephen Quigley in the 52nd minute for a 50/50 tackle. Eleven minutes later Richie Baker raced clear from the Shelbourne half only for a tackle by Town’s Robbie Hamm from behind just short of Athlone’s penalty area resulted in a yellow card for Hamm.
In the 64th minute Town replaced Gary Murphy with Noel McGee and Robbie Hamm with Luke Hardy. Athlone slowly took control and Shels retreated deeper into their own half and in the 79th minute Noel McGee scored with a header from a tight angle. In the 81st minute Anto Flood was replaced with Dave Cassidy for Shelbourne and Athlone replaced John Mernagh with Stephen Place.
Much to the annoyance of a large and vocal away support the fourth official signalled for four minutes of injury time. Following an excellent save from Dean Delaney and, with the clock showing 93 minutes, an attempted cross by Tom O’Halloran eluded everyone and hit the back of the net, much to delight of the home support.
Athlone Town: Alex O’Reilly, Robbie Hamm (Luke Hardy, 64), David Tyrell, Brian Cleary, Des Hope, Kieran Reilly, Gary Murphy (Noel McGee, 64), John Mernagh (Stephen Place, 81), Austin Skelly, Mark Sammon, Tom O’Halloran. Subs not used: Damien Rushe, John McGuinness. Bookings: Brian Cleary, Robbie Hamm, Austin Skelly, David Tyrell.
Shelbourne: Dean Delaney, Stephen Quigley, David Crawley, Robbie Hedderman, Damien Brennan, Colin O’Brien (Michael Synott, 44), David McGill, David McAllister, Richie Baker, Peter Hynes (Mark O’Brien, 46), Anto Flood (David Cassidy, 81). Subs not used: Derek Doyle, Vinny Whelan. Bookings: David McGill, Stephen Quigley. Sending Off: Damien Brennan
Referee: Keith Callanan
Man of the Match: Dean Delaney