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Goals and cards galore in Athlone

Sport

ON HIS HEADUCD’s Paul Doyle (white), a native of Islandeady, wins this header against Athlone Town during their League of Ireland clash last Friday evening. Pic: John Corless


John Corless

A 92ND minute winner from substitute Mark Dignam gave UCD an important win on the astro turf of Athlone Town on Friday night.  
There were three Mayo men on duty — Micheál Schlingermann was busy in the Athlone goal and despite having to scoop the ball out of his net three times, pulled off a string of excellent saves as his defence were constantly mesmerised by the outstanding Colm Whelan, the league’s top scorer.
Whelan often had two (and sometimes three) markers to contend with – usually leaving them in his slipstream as he whizzed past them with ease.
It’s no surprise that the young Kilkenny man has been named in the Republic of Ireland Under-21 squad for three upcoming friendlies in Spain.
The other Mayo men on show — UCD’s Paul Doyle and Harvey O’Brien — had mixed fortunes on the night. Much of the early play bypassed Doyle in central midfield, both sides preferring to play the wings, and he ended up getting a surprise red card from referee Kevin O’Sullivan with thirteen minutes remaining.
The red and the two yellows that contributed to it were not justified, in my opinion, and neither were the dozen or so others the referee issued right across the match.
This was a competitive, high speed game without a single bad foul; the cards, including a red for each side (Tiou Tumelo for Athlone), were an unnecessary distraction.
Athlone were well on top for the first 25 minutes and led 2-0 thanks to goals from Dan McKenna and Shane Barnes. Both Doyle and O’Brien could have done better with the second goal.
The two-goal cushion should have been enough to secure the points, but UCD pulled one back in the 30th minute from Liam Kerrigan.
From then on UCD gained momentum and belief and they dominated the second half adding two more goals from Dara Keane and Dignam.
Paul Doyle said it was great to come back from 2-0 down to collect the three points.
“There’s good character in the group,” Paul Doyle told The Mayo News.
“We were two down against Treaty a couple of weeks ago and came back and won that one 3-2 as well. We keep at it, even if we fall behind. It was a high-energy game tonight with a lot of tired bodies at the end. There could have been ten goals in the game, there were that many chances.”  
The former Westport United star said his sending-off was very disappointing.
“A second yellow card for my first foul in the game,” he said. “I can’t understand it, but these things happen. The ref was very card-happy. There was nothing dangerous in the game. It’s disappointing to be sent off, but if I was offered that, and to come from two-down to win three-two, at the start, I’d have taken it,” the Islandeady man said.
Harvey O’Brien from Claremorris conceded that the first half didn’t go as UCD wanted.
“Once we went two down it was a bit of a dogfight,” said Harvey. “Our confidence grew once we got one back.”
Shelbourne top the First Division after a comprehensive 4-0 win over Galway.
This result keeps UCD second and Athlone third.
Sligo Rovers top the Premier after winning at 2-1 at Finn Harps, to add to their midweek win at Shamrock Rovers.

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