3 November 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Athlone Town 0
Monaghan United 5
Monaghan United finished off their season with an impressive 5-0 win away to Athlone Town and was also their biggest, alas it was not enough to secure them automatic promotion since Cork City defeated Shelbourne and that result meant that both of those teams are promoted. Monaghan now have to take the scenic route in the play-offs against Galway United.
Monaghan United welcomed back from suspension the Brennan brothers who started and Keith Quinn who was on the bench. It looked like manager Roddy Collins was in attack mode as he rpopped Wiilo Mc. Donagh tbereby bringing Aidan Collins into the centre of defence and placing Paul Whelan on the wing and it worked from the start.
This was such a one sided game that one could count the chances the home side had on the toes of cloven foot, but in fairness to Athlone with their season over and not having a game for the past fortnight they had nothing to prove apart from impressing their guests of honour their predecessors who were being honoured on the night for winning the 1980/81 League.
Athlone found the Monaghan United penalty area a no go area until they won a corner after 28 minutes and that would be their only incursion to that area of the pitch in the opening 45 minutes.
United should have been ahead as early as the 4th minute had Fabio O’ Brien controlled the excellent pass from Jordan Keegan sadly his first touch took the ball away from him and the keeper easily gathered. Next up was John Reilly but Rocco’s header went high and wide. The keeper did well to turn out Paul Whelan’s strike for a corner. Sean Brennan was unlucky when he slipped on the penalty spot when he was about to receive a pass from O’ Brien. The United pressure had Athlone pinned back in their own area and one wondered how long would we have to wait for the opening score, it final came at the end of the first quarter, the home side had sustained an intense period of pressure, they failed to clear their lines the ball broke to J! ordan Keegan 25 yards out and he drilled a low shot past the keeper. Less than two minutes later and United were 2-0 up, a move along the end line started by Rocco, Sean Brennan back heeled it into the path of Fabio and he had simple tap in. United continued to press, Sean Brennan was denies by a good save from the keeper when he stopped his point blank shot from short range. Athlone’s rearguard were prevailing well until their captain and former United player was robbed in the area by centre defender for the evening Aidan Collins who in turn rounded the keeper for a very individual goal and with only five minutes to go to half time it looked like United had the game rapped up. But everything wasn’t going their way, word coming through from Tolka Park was that Shels and Cork City were level and if that result prevailed United would have to go the play-off route to advance to the Premier, and Limerick were also leading against Waterford, but that no longer looked too important.
If United players were of developments in Tolka they didn’t let it affect their performance immediately on the resumption they were back on the attack and with less than a minute elapsed Fabio forced Schlingedrmann into a good save when he tipped the ball over the bar. As in the first half the action was confined to the homeside half of the field and the pressure paid off again in 53rd minute when Fabio turned provider putting Sean Brennan through for their fourth goal and were it not for two furher fine saves in the following five minutes by the keeper from Keegan and Reilly it could have been worse. Probably contemplating the play-offs the manager Roddy Collins brought on Willo Mc. Donagh for the excellent Aidan Collins in 56 minute and ten minutes later he introduced Keith Quinn for the inform Ryan Brennan.
Athlone Town: Michael Schlingermann, Damien Rushe (C) (Niall Boland 67), Jamie Carr (Declan Fallon 73, Mark Walsh, Paul Danaher, Roy King (Tommy Barrett 46), David Ryan, Stephen Relihan, Kevin Williamson, Jason Hughes, Mark Sherlock.
Subs not Used: Joe Woods, Kevin Dunne, Eoin Monaghan, Scott Gaynor. Yellow Card: Paul Danaher.
Monaghan United: Gabriel Sava, Paul Whelan, Shane Grimes, Aidan Collins (C) (Willo McDonagh 71), Alan Byrne, Eric Foley, John Reilly, Ryan Brennan ( Keith Quinn 67), Declan O Brien, Sean Brennan (Michael Isichei 73), Jordan Keegan.
Red Card: Keith Quinn.
Referee: Keith Callanan.

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