Forde puts Athenry on road to Premier title

Mike Rafferty

Athenry....................... 4

Corrib Rangers............. 0

PERHAPS the final score isn't a fair reflection on what happened in yesterday's final game to decide the destiny of the Brod Trill Premier Division title, but the outcome is that Athenry secured the win they required to clinch a third title in four seasons.

Needing a win to overtake the unbeaten long time leaders the home side got the perfect start when Gary Forde side footed home from close range on just two minutes after John Egan had pushed away a Cathal Fahy shot.

Rangers responded well to the set back, but a smashing strike by Simon Walsh on 6 minutes crashed off the crossbar. Forde then did well to back track and block another Walsh pile driver. However on 12 minutes the visitors-chasing a first ever title should have levelled mattes, but Gary Murray completely miss kicked just eight yards out and their best chance of the game was lost.

Continuing to do the majority of the pressing Rangers continued to frustrate as Martin O'Connell pulled an effort across the face of goal, while another Murray header was also directed at Kilkelly.

Now while little was seen of Athenry in attack, they were coping well at the back as Barry Moran and David Smith were closely marshalled, while in midfield Seamie Crowe and Gary Delaney were comfortable as they were generally to be found in an offensive role.

A number of set pieces by Moran never tested Kilkelly, while a lot of ball into the box continued to produce no reward for the visitors.

The contest was settled with a stunning goal on 68 minutes. A neat lay off by Conor Cannon was connected with by Alan O'Donovan and from the angle of the box his effort flew past Egan to make it 2-0. That was the title wrapped up and while Corrib Rangers - mainly through the prompting of Simon Walsh continued to force the pace they began to leave themselves exposed to the snap counter attacks of the home side.

Twice in the closing minutes substitute Brian Mannion finished from close range as it all began to slip away from the visitors. They were reduced to ten men when Conor Cleary was red carded and he was followed shortly afterwards by the home sides Conor Cannon.

Afterwards the Brod Trill Premier Division trophy was presented to the winning Athenry captain Emmett Byrne by Elizebeth Hynes-daughter of the late Brod Trill.

Athenry: Kilkelly, Rabbitte, Quinn, Kinneen, Byrne, O'Donovan, Crowe, Delaney, Forde, Cannon, Fahy. Subs: Carr for Forde (inj-h/t), Mannion for Delaney (inj-59mins), Hynes for O'Donovan (88mins).

Corrib Rangers: Egan, O'Halloran, O'Connor, Fitzpatrick, Murray, Rafferty, J Smith, Walsh, Connell, Moran, D Smith. Subs: Bane for Murray (57mins), Cleary for Smith (64mins).

Referee: Trevor Conlon.