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Athenry FC Under 12s who qualified for the quarter-finals of the Connacht Cup with a 7-3 defeat of Carrick Town (Leitrim) on Sunday. Back, from left: Cormac Mc Carthy (coach), Luc Griallais, Daniel Tuohy, Eoin Doyle, Oran O’ Shaughnessy, Cathal Mannion, Shay Brady, Niall Mc Carthy, Senan McDonnell, Barry Doyle (coach). Front: Cian Hannon, Josh Kearns, Ethan Mitchell, Cian Meehan, Oliwier Lenartowicz, Shay O’Driscoll, Eoghan Cooley. EIREFOTO

Manager Dave Crimmins comments after the game “Delighted to win the game.  A difficult first half where we went in at the break 3-0 down despite playing the better football.  A couple of crucial errors cost us in the first 45 minutes, that and the fact that we hadn’t taken any of our own chances meant we had an uphill battle ahead of us.  The team talk focused on belief and increasing work rate as we felt our fitness would stand to us as the game progressed.  Scoring early in the second half further instilled the belief that the comeback was possible.  Adam Duffy kept his cool having to retake a penalty after scoring it initially (3-1).  We drew level with goals from Cathal Fahy and Colm O’Donovan, after which we looked the most likely side to go on and win it, but unfortunately Manulla scored their fourth which meant we had to dig deep once again. 

Man of the Match Nathan Ward came up with an audacious back heel late in the game to level up the score and bring the tie to extra time.  We felt we were in a very strong position then as the players were full of confidence and knew we would create chances.  Despite missing a few more chances, we got the winner after Colm O’Donovan was fouled which resulted in a red card for their no.10.  Adam Duffy swung in a cross and Cathal Fahy headed home.  The match finished 5-4 in extra time and there were great scenes at the end and credit to all the squad.  James Healy played through a badly injured shoulder and caught a couple of crucial balls late in the game.  Despite conceding four goals the back four were immense.  The work rate of Ray Moran and Garvan Broughall in the middle of the field was crucial also as they ran themselves ragged getting us back into the game.

Adam Duffy put in a massive shift in a position that is not his natural position. Cathal and Colm not only scored brilliant goals but were always a threat.  Special mention for Ryan O’Shaughnessy also who played in three different positions during the game and always willing to play where asked.  As for the subs all five subs made a massive impact too.  Jamie O’Driscoll’s calming influence while covering every blade of grass.  Nathan Healey got a taste of first team football and will get plenty more in the months and years ahead.  Jason Gorham’s pace caused Manulla untold damage and Conor Cannon showed all his experience and know how late on to help close out the game.’

The first team made it to the last 16 of the FAI New Balance Junior Cup 2019/20.  Boys Under 12 & Under 16 both made it to the SFAI Skechers National Cup last 32, both have Regional Finals to play also.

READY FOR BATTLE. The Athenry F.C. team who defeated Manulla in a thrilling 5-4 encounter on Sunday last. From left, front: Adam Duffy, Ray Moran, Gary O’Connell, Ryan Shaughnessy, Colm O’Donovan. Back: Jackson de Silva, Aaron Leggett, James Healy, Nathan Ward, Garvan Broughall, Cathal Fahy. EIREFOTO

Athenry Football Club together with the Athenry Athletics Club launched the Moanbaun Sports Development Project.  This project will see a new IAAF Standard 8 Lane 400M track and a FAI standard full size 4G all-weather pitch.  A home for sport in Athenry.  Join our monthly 50:50 draw, 50% of the funds go directly to the Club Development and 50% in prize money.  Your support is needed to make this a reality.  To find out more check out our website athenryfootballclub.com or contact us on athenry@galwayfa.ie