Dean George bags a hat-trick as Athlone stun Shels
Ian Morris’ side crash out of the FAI Cup after being well beaten at Lissywollen
File photo of Athlone Town’s Dean George who netted a hat-trick in their FAI Cup win over Shelbourne. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Athlone Town 4 Shelbourne 1
Dean George scored a brilliant hat-trick, his first goals of the season, as Athlone Town stunned Premier Division Shelbourne at Lissywollen to book their place in the semi-finals of the FAI Cup.
Adrian Carberry’s side, who finished second bottom of the First Division, will now host either Bohemians or Dundalk in the midland club’s first appearance in the semi-finals of the Blue Riband since 1998.
Though Shelbourne started with the strong breeze at their backs, Athlone punished sloppy defending to take a third minute lead
Shelbourne defender Dan Byrne misjudged the bounce of Jack Reynolds’ ball forward to allow George in behind to force a save from Jack Brady.
Athlone recycled the ball well with Taner Dogan feeding it wide right for Adan Lennon whose cross was drilled low to the net by George.
Ian Morris’ Dubliners responded to level within four minutes.
Pressing well from an Athlone throw-in, the ball ran kindly for Ciaran Kilduff and the striker drove a low shot to the far corner of the Aaron Myles’ net from the edge of the area.
And though the visitors then enjoyed a decent spell of possession they conceded a poor second goal on 20 minutes from Athlone’s first corner of the game.
Left-back David Brookes’ whipped his delivery deep to the far post. Shels didn’t deal with it, allowing home skipper Scott Delaney to sweep the loose ball to the roof of the net from close range.
And it could well have been 3-1 on 32 minutes as Ciaran Grogan got his head to another terrific corner from Brookes to hit a post before Brady scooped it clear with Athlone claiming to no avail that the ball had crossed the line.
Brookes hit a post with a curling free kick on 55 minutes before Athlone extended the lead 10 minutes later.
Under no pressure, Shelbourne right-back Aidan Friel passed straight to George who took the ball between two defenders to rifle a left-foot shot to the bottom corner of Brady’s net.
The hat-trick arrived on 78 minutes and was the pick of the 22-year-old striker’s goals.
Ronan Manning threaded a perfect pass through the middle for George to run onto and shoot to the net from the edge of the area.
Athlone Town: Myles; Tlou, Delaney, Grogan, Brookes; Birrane, Dogan (Carroll, 90+4); Lennon (White, 90+1), Manning, Reynolds; George (Nealon, 90).
Shelbourne: Brady; Friel (O’Reilly, 71), O. Brennan, D. Byrne, O’Hanlon (Dobbs, 71); Deegan, M. Byrne; Fernandes (Sheppard, h-t), R. Brennan (Farrell, 61), Rooney (Moore, 61); Kilduff.
Referee: Damien MacGraith (Mayo).