Athlone Town boss Tommy Hewitt could not hide his frustration after his side's FAI Cup final defeat to Shelbourne, fuming at crucial decisions that failed to go the midlanders' way.

Pearl Slattery and Jessie Stapleton goals settled it at Tallaght Stadium, but Scarlett Herron's effort was controversially ruled out for offside in the second half on a day when Hewitt felt his side just didn't get the rub of the green.

"Listen, I don't want to say too much but I have got to be honest," he said afterwards.

"We’ve worked very hard all season to be in a position we’re in today. Then you are asking three guys to do their job, and they didn’t do it. I saw it there now, it’s not that it’s close. There is no question [of offside].

"Their first goal, it is never a free-kick. I’m standing five yards away from it and genuinely I can’t understand how he can give that free-kick.

"It’s beyond our control. We can only control what we can control. Congratulations to Shelbourne but at the end of the day we’re bitterly disappointed that people can’t do their jobs properly.

"In the second half Shelbourne didn’t lay a glove on us and I think if we’d have scored a goal in that time we then go on to win the game. That’s how confident I was. But you’re relying on other people to do their jobs. That’s football isn’t it? That’s sport."

Regardless of the result, it's been a breakthrough campaign for Athlone.

They defied the odds to push Shels all the way in the title race - ultimately finishing second - and reached their first ever cup final.

They are an exciting young side with scope to keep improving, and Hewitt is confident even better things are yet to come.

"Why would [players] want to leave Athlone at this moment in time?" he said when asked about other clubs circling for his best players.

"Where we're going, I can’t see why they would want to go anywhere else. Maybe last year, but I think we’re creating something here that is going to be very, very big in the next couple of years. I know we will keep the group together because they know and believe that this is the place to be.

"We are going to be a different animal next season, I can guarantee you that. We will take decisions like that out of referees' hands. Sorry now, I am a bit emotional, but that’s the way it is.

"If you add one or two players to this group, we’ve also an exciting young group coming through as well. We will be ready for the next couple of years to take over this league.

"When we sit back and reflect on it, you can see there the girls are devastated about it, but I am immensely proud of this group of players, of the club. For myself to lead out this group of players, I am immensely proud."