Thursday, 24th May 2018
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Blues bow out of Under 15 Elite League

After defeating Limerick the previous Wednesday to top their qualifying group the Waterford FC Under 15 team secured a home quarter-final game and they welcomed Athlone to the RSC on Saturday last. Hopes were high that they could repeat the display against the Shannonsiders but sadly they never hit the same heights and it was the midlanders who moved into the last four. That said the young Blues did have enough chances to win the game but they came up against a goalkeeper who was in superb form. This was a ``short'' and curtailed season before a fully scheduled list of fixtures will be put in place for 2018 and all concerned can be proud of what was achieved at this age group this season. Manager Franny Rockett said afterwards that he was proud of his players and he had every right to feel that way and many of these players will go on to enjoy fine careers with the club in the coming years.

After the Blues forced a couple of early corner kicks, it was Athlone that settled into the game and created the first opportunity of note on 13 minutes when Adam Lennon got free down the right but after keeper Sean Maher cut out his dangerous cross, Ronan Garvan blazed the rebound over the bar.

There was a big let off for the hosts less than sixty seconds later when a loose pass saw Lennon pick up possession out on the right side to cross to the back post for Jack Reynolds but he fired a left-footed shot inches wide of Maher’s far post.

It was the visitors that got their noses in front with 25 minutes on the clock when midfielder Israel Kimazo skipped past a couple of tackles before firing a right-footed shot beyond the reach of Waterford keeper Sean Maher from 20 yards.

The Blues response was nearly immediate with Kacper Zajac getting free down the left side three minutes later but after his cross fell nicely for Ian Byrne, he blazed over the bar before Robert Bulmer had a goalbound effort blocked by keeper Sean O’Toole minutes later.

Donal Porter went close to levelling the tie from the resulting corner kick when he got free at the back post to get on the end of a Kacper Zajac right-wing corner kick but his header was blocked on the line before Kyle Cuddy had a chance before the break however his left-footed chip flashed inches over the bar.

Athlone Town had a great chance to double their lead with 56 minutes on the clock when goalscorer Israel Kimazo sent in a cross from the right that picked out Jack Reynolds but his left-footed shot was inches wide of the back post before the same player had an angled effort saved by keeper Kyle Shelly minutes later.

Robert Bulmer had a chance to bring the sides level five minutes later when the tall midfielder got his head on the end of a right-wing delivery from Kyle Cuddy but he couldn’t direct his header from deep inside the penalty area on target.

As the Blues continued to press for the equalising goal, it was Kacper Zajac that was the next player to be denied by Athlone keeper Sean O’Toole after he took a pass from Sam Morrissey but his left-footed effort was well kept out by the netminder.

Although Waterford did try find an equalising goal in the dying minutes of the tie, they failed to breakdown a well marshalled defence that saw Athlone keeper Sean O’Toole make a couple of vital interventions in the dying minutes.

*WATERFORD FC: *Sean Maher, Killian Griffin, Cian Browne, Donal Porter, Ethan Flynn, Scott Delahunty, Robert Bulmer, Ian Byrne, Kyle Cuddy, Kacper Zajac, Tega Agberhiere, Sam Morrissey, JackDeegan, Abel Alabi, Dean Larkin,

Kyle Shelly, Ravelli Kilonda, Charlie Binions

*ATHLONE TOWN: *Sean O’Toole, Adam Cummins, Adam Dowling, James Farrell, Jack Keenan, Israel Kimazo, Adam Lennon, Ronan Garvan, Dylan Gavin, Ryan McCormack, Jack Reynolds, Ben O’Carroll,Ronan Sweeney, Tom Devine, Matty Cox, Travis Courtney, Oisin O’Farrell, Sean Tighe

*Referee: *Ian O’Keeffe assisted by James O’Neill and Paul Butler.

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