Athlone Town players celebrate Kellie Brennan's goal in their 2-0 win over Shelbourne last weekend. (Photo: Bernie O'Farrell)

Hewitt calls on fans to get behind Athlone Town women

The manager of the Athlone Town women's team has issued an appeal for more locals to come out and support the high-flying side as they face holders Wexford Youths in the semi-final of the FAI Women's Cup in Lissywollen this Saturday afternoon (kick-off: 4.30pm).

“I've seen it at other grounds, when we went to Sligo and Galway, that the players do feed off the energy of the crowd,” said Tommy Hewitt.

“We had a decent enough crowd against Shelbourne last weekend, but I would be putting out a public appeal for anybody who has a couple of hours to spare at 4.30 this Saturday to come down and support the team.

“We're going to need all the support we can get, and I guarantee you that if you come down to watch a women's game for the first time you'll be pleasantly surprised at how high the standard is.”

This has already been a memorable campaign for Hewitt's charges and they generated more material for the 2022 highlights reel last Saturday by defeating reigning league champions Shelbourne 2-0 in a game televised live on TG4.

Second-half goals from Scarlett Herron and substitute Kellie Brennan earned the three points, while defender Jessica Hennessy claimed the player of the match award.

The result means that, with four league games remaining, Athlone now sit fourth in the table, just two points off Shelbourne, in second place, and six points off leaders Wexford.

Hewitt said the victory on Saturday was “a proud night” for the players, management, and club as a whole.

“It keeps us in the title race,” he said. “When I came into the club two years ago, one of our goals was to try and compete with the top teams, so to beat one of them was extra special.

“In the first half we played well, and in the second half we were outstanding. The girls are very fit, we've loads of strength and power. Our transition from defence into attack is powerful, and so is the way we press teams to win the ball back.”

Athlone Town women's team manager Tommy Hewitt.

Having overcome one giant of the women's game in this country, Athlone now face another. Hewitt said his players would be respectful of Wexford, but wouldn't fear them.

“We haven't beaten Wexford, and we haven't taken any points off them either, so it's going to be a tough task,” he said.

“They seem to have a knack of winning cups, and there's no doubt that they have some special players in their team, in the likes of Ellen Molloy and Kylie Murphy.

“It's going to be a massive task for us but we'll try to stay in the game for as long as we can and if we use our strengths, our attacking players, you never know.”

He said the players picked up “one or two” minor knocks on Saturday, and would be assessed at training last night (Tuesday), but he had no fresh injury concerns ahead of the weekend.

“We've been fortunate that we've nearly had a full squad every week to pick from,” he said. “That's a credit to the girls, and the way that they look after themselves off the pitch with their strength and conditioning, their diet, and their rest and recovery.

“It's an amateur league but the girls treat it like a professional league. They're reaping the rewards for that now, and hopefully they can go a step further.”

Saturday's cup semi final will not be on television, but the TG4 cameras will be back in Lissywollen on Saturday, October 1, when the two teams meet again in a league fixture.

Shelbourne and Bohemians are meeting in the other cup semi final (in Tolka Park at 2pm this Saturday), while the final will be in Tallaght Stadium on Sunday, November 6.