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Premier Division

  • 14 March 2014
  • • 19:45
  • • Athlone Town Stadium, Athlone
  • Referee: T. Connolly
  • • Attendance: 1793

Athlone Town 1-4 Shamrock Rovers: Dominant Rovers lay down marker

Athlone Town 1-4 Shamrock Rovers: Dominant Rovers lay down marker

Paul Mohan

Newly-promoted Athlone side no match for experienced Shams as the Tallaght side comfortably claimed the three points

Both teams came into this early season clash on the back of relatively disappointing results. Due to technical difficulties in Athlone's ground the match was briefly delayed as the floodlights flickered. But from the start it was clear that Athlone would have to put up a considerable fight to fend off Shamrock Rovers' constant attacking threats.

Shams started strongly with Brennan and Finn in the centre dictating play. Athlone opting to play a similar style to that in their previous loss against Sligo Rovers, with everyone except Gorman dropping deep and attacking on the counter.

Mick Cooke's tactics only held off Rovers' threat for just over quarter of an hour with Ciaran Kilduff making the breakthrough in the 16th minute after Athlone keeper Skinner failed to hold onto a corner. Kilduff calmly stroked the ball into the empty net.

Shams' second of the night arrived in the 30th minute as Gary McCabe latched onto an inch-perfect pass from Ronan Finn that split the defence. McCabe sent the keeper the wrong way before coolly dispatching the ball into the bottom corner.

The second half opened with Athlone clearly reinvigorated from the words from their manager but their vigour was short-lived as Kilduff acrobatically made it 3-0 to the visitors with a clever finish after confusion in the Athlone box.

The ever-experienced Eamon Zayed came on for the final 10 minutes replacing the influential Kilduff and the Libya international managed to get his name on the scoresheet with a true strikers' finish in the 90th minute.

The home side did manage to grab a consolation in the dying minutes when Alan Byrne bumbled the ball over the line.

Nevertheless it was a convincing performance from Shamrock Rovers as the Tallaght side comfortably dominated.