FOUNDED in 1887 by Orlando Robert Coote, Athlone
Town is the oldest club in the eircom League. While not a
founder member of the League (Athlone joined a year later
in 1922), the Club did participate in the inaugural Free State
And it wasn't long until the Blue Riband of Irish football
was making its way out of the Capital, and down to the midlands.
In 1924, Athlone Town won the Free State Cup for the one
and only time, but did so in style. Beating Bohs and Shels
along the way, not one goal was conceeded. Recognition soon
followed, with five members of the side that beat Fordsons
in the Final; Dinny Hannon, Frank Ghent, Paddy Reilly, John
Joe Dykes and Tommy Muldoon all selected on the first ever
side to represnt Ireland in the 1924 Olympic Games held in
Despite this early Cup success, a failure to make any real
impact in the League saw the Club drop out in 1929. A full
40 years were to pass before Athlone Town played with the
big boys again - when they were elected to the League along
with Finn Harps in 1969. Success was a little slower to arrive
this time, but in 1975 Town were runners-up in the League
to Bohemians, thus earning entry to the UEFA Cup.
And so on August 18th 1975, the Vikings of Valerengen came,
and saw, but they did not conquer. Athlone won their first
ever European match 3 - 1 in St. Mel's Park before doing enough
in the second leg with a 1 - 1 draw in Oslo. Athlone Town
were in the draw for the Second Round of the UEFA Cup. The
rest is of course history......
.....but for those among you that don't know your history,
we shall fill you in. The Club were drawn at home to the mighty
AC Milan in the next round. Mick O'Brien, John Duffy, Andy
Stevenson, Dougie Wood, Kevin Smith, Noel Larkin, Carl Humphries,
Eugene 'Pooch' Davis, John Minnock, Paul Martin and Terry
Daly, assisted by substitutes Joe Healy and Cyril Barnicle
went out and held the Italian giants to a 0 - 0 draw. Despite
losing the second leg 3 - 0 in the San Siro, the pride in
their first leg feat lives on to this day, and rightly so.
Town's Golden Era was to soon follow under the guidance of
Turlough O'Connor. The League Championship was won twice and
the League Cup was won three times, with the Tyler All-Ireland
Cup also making it's way to St. Mel's Park during O'Connor's
five year tenure. It is fair to say that the Club have failed
to reach such heights again since, but plans are in place
to bring Athlone Town back to their rightful place at the
fore of Irish football.
Work is continuing on the Club's new 6,000 all-seater stadium
which will see the Club vacate St. Mel's Park after over 80
years, during the up-coming 2006 season.