It was a tough day at the office for the Bit O’Red girls yesterday as they went down to a very physical Athlone Town side who proved clinical as they pounced on a number of defensive errors to take the spoils in what was a poor game over all.
Rovers set their stall out early with some decent passages of play resulting in a number of chances. Alva Munnelly was the recipient of a lovely pass but her effort was cleared by the home defence. Sarah Kiernan created a fantastic opportunity moments later, leaving the Athlone full back in her wake, when she ran from almost the half way line into the opposition box but her shot just pulled wide of the far post and didn’t trouble the goalkeeper.
Athlone, who favoured a much more direct style of play, would eventually break the deadlock. A long ball over the top found it’s way to the feet of Katelyn Keogh who prodded the ball past the advancing Abbiegayle Ronayne in the Sligo goal.
Within four minutes the game had been decided, two goals after mistakes at the back for Rovers and Athlone had scored twice more to treble their lead and sit on a 3-0 scoreline. A further call for a dismissal after an apparent foul on an Athlone Town player through on goal was waved away by the officials but the comments from the Athlone bench saw one of their coaches dismissed to the stand by the match referee.
The second half was a lot brighter for the Rovers with Ciara Henry and Sarah Kiernan swapping assisting duties for each other to create two decent opportunities. Henry’s well struck volley was always rising however and Kiernan just couldn’t keep her strike on target.
Despite the physical dominance of the home side, Rovers continued to play the better football throughout the game but came undone by a poor back pass which was intercepted by Keogh and she just rounded Ronayne and rolled the ball into the net for 4-0.
The score could have been even more except for some excellent goalkeeping from Ronayne, who much like last week’s encounter with Galway, had little to no chance with any of the goals conceded. Defender Leagh Byrne also impressed while substitute Aife Haran showed some nice touches throughout the last half hour of the game.
Haran also left the Athlone keeper rooted to the spot from a log distance free kick but her 25 yard strike smacked off the cross bar and over the bar to safety.
It was a big learning experience for the Rovers girls who now face a trip to Shelbourne next Sunday afternoon in the AUL Complex in Dublin.