Monday 12 November 2018

The raven is calling the name of Athlone Town, and it is wrong

This betting scandal is the third time that the grand old club has surprised the world - but it must not be the last

Athlone Town Stadium
Athlone Town Stadium
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

This betting scandal, of which we have heard so much during the past week, is not the first time that the activities of Athlone Town FC have come to the attention of the international community. Nor is it the second time.

It is in fact the third such eruption, the first of which was in 1974, when an FAI Cup semi-final against Finn Harps in Oriel Park, Dundalk, had to be stopped for a while in order to repair the crossbar which had been broken by the Athlone goalkeeper Mick O'Brien, as he was swinging from it during one of the darker passages of a heavy defeat.

"Micko" was a wonderful man, and a fine keeper, who would sometimes display his extreme levels of fitness and his general enthusiasm for the game by performing such free-form acrobatics. But he was dealing with an inferior kind of wooden structure at Oriel, which could not sustain his weight nearly as well as the much more solid crossbars at home in St Mel's Park.

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