By Gerard Mulreaney (@gerardmulreaney)
In a game many observers felt would be a cakewalk for Dundalk, perennial First Division strugglers Athlone Town produced a worthy performance to dump the Lilywhites out of this season’s Leinster Senior Cup at Oriel Park last night.
The midlanders headed to Dundalk, before even beginning the First Division campaign, with a completely overhauled squad from 2018. Manager Terry Butler has brought in huge experience this season, including former title winner with Dundalk, Darren Meenan, who incidentally was made captain on the night.
Dundalk fielded a completely changed team from their 1-1 draw with Sligo Rovers on Friday, with Aaron McCarey, Jordan Flores, Aaron McNally, Lido Lotefa, Jordan Flores and Mark Hanratty all making their first-team debuts.
The game was settled by a single goal, scored by on-loan Shamrock Rovers striker Dean Williams, as he got on the end of a Kaleem Simon cross from the left before turning to fire a low shot past McCarey.
— Shamrock Rovers FC 🇮🇪 (@ShamrockRovers) February 19, 2019
The striker, from Kevin Street in the heart of Dublin, left Rovers to gain some playing time, and luckily for him and Athlone it’s already paying off.
Williams, who turned 19 ten days ago, was understandably delighted saying, “I was delighted to get my goal. As it was cut back to me I knew I had to score.”
“I thought we defended really well throughout the game, and when it’s 0-0 you always know you’ve a great chance of winning.”
Athlone kick-off their league campaign on Friday with a home game against Wexford FC. It’s a game the midlanders will be looking to take all three points from and Williams can’t wait to get started, “I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and I think we’ve a really strong team. We’ve a lot of young players but some great experience in the team too. All I want to do is score as many goals as I can to help the team.”