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Mervue United dig deep to take first points off Athenry

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From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Mervue United dig deep to take first points off Athenry Mervue United dig deep to take first points off Athenry

Mervue United 3

Athenry 3

Mervue United haven’t excited either themselves or anyone else with their performances in the Premier Division so far this season, but they have shown an ability to rise to the challenge when the big games come around.

Lying in the lower half of the table with three wins and three losses from their opening six games, it wasn’t the sort of form that should have troubled joint leaders Athenry in Fahy’s Field on Saturday afternoon.

By half-time, that outlook looked justified as the visitors enjoyed a two-goal advantage and looked to be in control of affairs, but while they certainly made the most of the opportunities that came their way in that half, it didn’t give a fair reflection of the overall exchanges as a young home side enjoyed their fair share of possession and threatened just as much as the visitors.

Mervue played the better football and building from the back, retained possession with greater ease. They got their reward in the second-half as early and late goals gave them a merited share of the spoils, as Athenry were generally outplayed for the 45 minutes.

The home side’s performance was similar to their FAI Junior Cup tie against Salthill Devon where they again rose to the occasion when winning on penalties. This time around it was Athenry who made the initial breakthrough when Gavin Gilmore cut in from the left flank and from a narrow angle guided a low effort beyond the advancing Tom Meehan to put them 1-0 up on 17 minutes.

The home side had gone close to an earlier breakthrough when the impressive front two of Kieran O’Connor and Colin Kelly combined, but while the latter’s shot got the better of TJ Forde, it went just outside a post.

The equaliser 10 minutes later was merited as Tommy Walsh and Lewis Waweru both got flicks to a Jason Molloy free-kick, before eventually falling to Kelly who was all alone as he made it 1-1 with a close-range finish. They almost added another when Forde had to react to an over-hit pass-back as he deflected it away from goal with his feet.

Pictured: The Mervue United squad that played out a 3-3 draw with Athenry in Fahy’s Field last weekend. Back row, from left: Oisin Coyne, Tommy Walsh, Tom Meehan, Lewis Waweru, Paul Healy and Darren Collins. Front: Colin Kelly, Jay Molloy, Kieran O’Connor, Dan Brennan, and Luke Gorman.  Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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