Athlone's dreams built on Americans' adventure
From New Jersey to Athlone, it's been quite a journey for Madison Gibson, Dana Scheriff, Jesi Rossman and Lauren Karabin.
The American quartet all played together at Monmouth University in the USA. Now, they are the toast of the Irish midlands after helping the club to a memorable Sports Direct FAI Cup penalty shootout win over Shelbourne.
Scheriff was the first to make the move, arriving in 2021 after spells in England and Iceland. When Athlone needed another attacker, she coaxed her old college pal Gibson across the Atlantic.
Rossman and Karabin arrived later as Ciaran Kilduff revitalised the squad following his appointment as manager in June. The foursome's old ties have helped them to build a very effective on-field unit.
"Dana and I won four conference championships in college together so... we wanted to win one together here," Gibson reflected after Sunday's triumph.
"I think me, her, Jesi and Lauren all play so well together because we played in college. That's definitely a plus.
"Dana was basically the reason why I came over here so I'm super happy that she thought of me when she was looking for another forward to play on the team. I'm delighted we got to play together again and now we've won a Cup!"
Florida-born Rossman ended up scoring the winning penalty as her cool conversion was followed by Alex Kavanagh's decisive miss. She elaborated on the vibe the quartet enjoy on the pitch after a really gutsy and tough Athlone performance.
"We all played in college together. It’s nice to be back here, we have a good chemistry, it’s been fun to play with them again," said Rossman.
"I've never played in front of this many people. It was such a fun environment to be in. This doesn’t compare [to college football]. We had games with