Rory Gaffney had the best chance of a dull first half when he overran the ball into the Athlone keeper after seven minutes, but the tempo increased after the break, with the home side stepping up the intensity.
Gamble’s goal was a little against the run of play but his finish was impressive, as was Denis Behan’s touch to control the high delivery and slip the ball into the Cork native. Athlone continued to press forward but it was only in the last 10 minutes that they started to create real chances.
The best of these fell to Jason Hughes, who pulled his shot wide from 12 yards after Noel McGee had caused confusion in the Limerick defence.
However, the visitors always looked potent on the break and late attempts from Behan and Paudie Quinn were closer to hitting the mark than anything Athlone could muster.
ATHLONE TOWN: P Jennings; J Woods, B McCarthy, T Barrett, R Kenny; W Conroy; D Coleman (N McGee), M Walsh, J Hughes, K Williamson (E Ohemiyi); M Sherlock.
LIMERICK FC: B Ryan; A Bhandarkar, P Purcell, S Guthrie, C Treacy (S Kelly); D O’Brien (P Quinn), D O’Leary, J Gamble, S Treacy (S Bradley); R Gaffney, D Behan.
Ref: Keith Callinan (Cork).