Andrew Dempsey reporting from Stradbrook
It was another difficult day at the office for Terry Butler’s Athlone Town as they fell to an abysmal 4-0 defeat against Eddie Gormley’s Cabinteely under the beaming sunshine at Stradbrook.
Goals from Kevin Knight, Kieran Marty Waters and a brace from Luke Clucas sealed the deal for Cabo on a rather straight forward exercise for the South Dubliners.
Cabinteely, after starting the game with a frantic pace and intensity, had the first chance of the match as Kieran Marty Waters linked up with fellow attacking options Luke Clucas and Keith Dalton to register Cabo’s first effort on target.
Despite Cabinteely’s apparent gulf in quality, it was Athlone who really should have taken the lead as Rory McCullough headed just wide a fantastic opportunity as Ryan Gaffney’s inch-perfect delivery found his head.
Cabo began to assert their dominance on the game from that moment on as they went close with great chances from Dalton and Clucas in the minutes proceeding Athlone’s golden opportunity in the tenth minute.
Athlone then responded once again mid-way through the half as Athlone’s livewire McCullough saw his well struck effort go straight down the throat of Cabinteely’s goalkeeper Stephen McGuinness who was more than equal to the task on hand.
With the game finely poised, it was Cabinteely who broke the deadlock on the half hour mark as the attacking trio Waters, Clucas and Dalton all combined to release Clucas who in turn found the feet of Kevin Knight who slotted home Cabo’s first goal of the game.
It was a fantastic move from the Cabinteely front three which left the rigid Town defence stranded on the edge of their six-yard box as Knight scored the easiest goal he will ever grab in the League of Ireland.
And just ten minutes later, Cabinteely doubled their lead as Clucas grabbed his well-deserved first goal of the game.
With the ball seeming to be going out for a throw-in, Waters got on the end of a long, hopeful punt up the field. He smashed his way past Ian Fletcher before the former Shamrock Rovers player teed up the onrushing Clucas to put Cabo well into the ascendancy.
It was a hammer blow for Athlone who looked well out of the game by that point as Paula Brady’s half-time whistle blew to signal the end of the half.
Starting off the second half strong, Cabinteely, via the magic of Marty Waters, almost put the result beyond all doubt in the 53rdminute as his fantastic lobbed effort crashed off the crossbar, much to the relief Darcy Lawless in the Athlone Town goal.
However, just moments later, Cabinteely scored their well-deserved third of the game as Clucas once again found himself in the right place at the right time to steer home an Eoghan Morgan delivery just before the hour mark.
To their credit, Athlone rallied after the third goal went in as on-loan Dundalk midfielder Jake O’Connor and Aaron Williams both went close for Terry Butler’s side who were determined not make a show of themselves in front of an expectant home crowd.
Somewhat ironically, after all of Athlone’s efforts and hard work, it was Waters who put the icing on the cake for Cabinteely in the 72ndminute as Stephen McGuinness’ long punt upfield found the feet of Waters. He expertly dinked the ball over the head of the Lawless.
In a late rally, Athlone should have grabbed at least one goal, but George Mukete somehow blazed his golden opportunity over McGuinness’ bar as Cabinteely held firm to ensure they kept that important clean sheet intact as the full-time whistle approached.
All in all, it was a comfortable win for Eddie Gormley’s side who rarely looked like losing from the opening whistle.
Meanwhile Terry Butler and his Athlone Town AFC coaching team will have to learn from this harsh footballing lesson at the home of Blackrock College RFC as they prepare for the home game against Shelbourne on Friday night at the Athlone Town Stadium.
Cabinteely:Stephen McGuinness; Jack Tuite, Sean Fitzpatrick, Sean Bregazzi, Christian Lotefa, Conor Earley, Keith Dalton, Anthony Dolan, Kevin Knight, Kieran Marty Waters, Luke Clucas.
Subs not used: Sean Hyland, Karl Byrne, Conor Keeley, Robert McGee.
Athlone Town:Darcy Lawless; Jake O’Connor, Bashmil Nyakambili, Ger Smyth, Aaron Brilly, Ian Fletcher; Josh Hogan, Ryan Gaffney, Rob O’Leary, Rory McCullough, George Mukete.
Subs not used: Michael Fogarty, Daniel O’Donovan, Shane Stokes, Aaron Williams, Ollie Hamzat, Darren Kavanagh, Thaigh Keogh.
Booked:Ollie Hamzat (90+2).
Extratime.ie Man of the Match:Luke Clucas (Cabinteely)