FAI Cup R3
Date: 8 p.m. June 3, 2011
Venue: Tallaght Stadium
It took just twelve minutes for the Hoops to open the scoring when Billy Dennehy’s cross found Ciaran Kilduff. The striker knocked it down to the oncoming Gary McCabe whose volley nestled into the corner of Michael Schlingermann’s net.
In truth Athlone looked content with sitting back and taking on the Rovers onslaught as they only managed to muster two trips out off their half in possession with only one of them resulting in an attempt on goal.
Rovers continued to push forward in search of a second but failed to challenge Schlingermann who was only forced into one save in the opening half an hour despite the hosts having the majority of the possession. Gary O’Neill came agonisingly close to doubling Rovers lead but his 44th minute effort came back out off the post and rolled to safety much to Schlingermann’s relief.
Ciaran Kilduff also come close to putting his side further in front but his header was scrambled clear of the Town goal. O’Neill’s men pushed on looking for a more comfortable lead to go into the break with but they couldn’t find a way through the Town defence leaving the game at 1-0 to the hosts at half time.
Most fans hadn’t yet returned to their seats when Rover’s doubled their lead through Chris Turner when he latched onto Dennehy’s cross to head home two minutes after the restart. Athlone began to push forward a bit more but couldn’t get much in the way of shots on goal. The nearest was a speculative Kevin Williamson effort which ended up on the dual carriageway outside the ground.
For fifteen minutes neither team really put the other under serious pressure but with just twenty left on the clock the Hoops came back to life when substitute Dean Kelly found himself in the clear with only the keeper to beat. The young striker did so in style as he slotted his effort into the bottom corner to register his first goal in Tallaght Stadium.
Just a few moments later the result was put beyond all doubt when Gary McCabe slid a ball into the box. Schlingermann and his two centre backs got in a tangle and left Dennehy free to roll the ball into the empty net. Kelly came close to doubling his tally with just moments left but his effort found the upright and was cleared for a corner by Paul Danaher.
Last years Cup runners up cruised home in the end with the scoreline finishing at 4-0 in their favour. They will now await the 4th round draw with bathed breath as they look to get back to the final.
Shamrock Rovers: Ryan Thompson; Sean Gannon, Craig Sives (Pat Flynn, 78), Dan Murray, Conor McCormack; Gary McCabe, Stephen O’Donnell (Stephen Rice, 74), Chris Turner, Billy Dennehy; Ciaran Kilduff, Gary O’Neill (Dean Kelly, 67).
Subs Not Used: Enda Stevens, Karl Sheppard, Ronan Finn, Robert Hughes.
Athlone Town: Michael Schlingermann; Niall Scullion, Jamie Carr, Tommy Barrett, Paul Danaher; Darren Young (Ian Sweeney, 53), Stephen Relihan, Kevin Williamson, Ronan Stack (Alex Gardiner, 64), Eoin Monaghan; Bobby Tier (Garry Higgins, 74).
Subs Not Used: Kevin Horan, Scott Gaynor.
Referee: Tom Connolly.
Extratime.ie Man of The Match: Chris Turner.
Attendance: 1,500 (estimate).