Thornton a thorn in Athlone’s side

Colleges A semi-final St. Patricks, Dungannon           0-10 Athlone CC                               1-5 Athlone Community College were denied a place in the All-Ireland colleges senior A football final when St. Patrick’s, Dungannon scored two points in the final two and a half minutes to edge past the gallant Leinster champions in an exciting semi-final played at Clontibret, Co. Monaghan on Saturday last.   Dungannon were first to score after nine minutes when Tiernan O’Hagan was on target with a point from play but Athlone were ahead three minutes later when dangerman Ian Coffey was on target with a well-taken goal. After 24 minutes Coffey pointed a close-in free.    Ace Dungannon free-taker Diarmuid Thornton was on target with a free shortly afterwards and then Dungannon were reduced to 14 men when Paddy Doherty was sent to the line after receiving a second yellow card. Two further points from Thornton left the half-time score Dungannon 0-4 Athlone 1-1.   On the re-start John Egan pointed to put Athlone in front but O’Hagan quickly levelled with a fine point for the Tyrone men.   Ian Coffey gave Athlone the lead again with another good score after 8 minutes, however Thornton had the sides level again after 12 minutes. Then three minutes later Egan pointed to put Athlone ahead again and hopes were rising that a famous win could be achieved.  Thornton levelled again with a ’45 and Ciaran Gervin gave Pats the lead with six minutes left on the clock. But the drama continued. Coffey levelled again with a pointed free and Athlone had a good chance to go ahead but Darren Dolan was wide with a good chance.   Dungannon scored two points in the final two minutes to break the hearts of the Athlone lads (through Niall McKenna and John Grimley) and Pat’s had squeezed through by a two-point margin. It was very hard luck on a gallant Athlone CC who gave everything but were just unlucky on the day. Athlone CC: J McMahon; B Moran, A Hanna, N Byrne; D Donoghue, N Daly, J Byrne; A Fitzpatrick, E Sheehy; I Coffey (1-2), J Egan (0-3), M McCallon; P Cunningham, R Kenny, D Dolan. Subs: A Ward, M McBride, J Coyne.