Tuesday night saw MSL U10 cup action return to Gainstown, when Mullingar Hawks welcomed Mucklagh in the U10 Bowl Cup Competition group phase. With the Gainstown pitches in great condition and a sprinkling of rain during the day, everything was set up for a fast and entertaining game in front of a sizeable home support.
Mullingar Hawks could not have asked for a better start, as they went 1-0 up within a minute. The move was started and finished by attacker Sean Hayes. He picked the ball up deep In the Mucklagh half, got his head up and he picked a neat pass to Michael McLoughlin who played it to Sean Plunkett on the right hand side. Sean unleashed a powerful shot across the six yard box, which was forced in by the advancing Sean Hayes and the under pressure Mucklagh defender. If Mullingar Hawks thought that this was a sign of things to come, they were mistaken as this well organised Mucklagh defence proved stubborn.
Robert Hogg and Robert Clinton were combining well on the left and Louis Willems was initiating some good moves from his right back position. However, Mullingar Hawks were finding it difficult to create clear cut chances. In the tenth minute, central Midfielder Michael McLoughlin did have his powerful long range shot strike the cross bar. After fifteen minutes, following a tremendous run along the right hand side and end line, Captain Michael Moloney drove a fantastic pass across the Mucklagh goal line which was nearly turned in by pouncing Sean Hayes. Meanwhile, at the back Mullingars strong defence of Louis Willems, Robert Hogg and the commanding Charlie Foy ensured that Mullingar Hawks Goalkeeper Tom Daly was having a quite first half. The first half whistle sounded with Mullingar Hawks 1-0 up, but knowing that they were in a tight match.
Mullingar Hawks started the second half on the front foot. Conor Caffrey started to get his head up in central midfield and use the width of the pitch and his wide players. Robert Clinton with Robert Hogg now playing further forward, provided power and pace on the left hand side. Dylan Brown and Mikee Weir increased the pressure on the Mucklagh defence. Indeed it was Mikee, with a moment of individual skill, who through a well executed bicycle kick, that nearly added Mullingar Hawks’ second goal.
However, it was on the right hand side, through the surging and skilful runs of Captain Michael Moloney that Mullingar Hawks were having most joy. Finally in the fifteenth minute of the second half, Michael’s good work bore fruit for Mullingar Hawks, when he broke through the Mucklagh defence on the right hand side and his shot was sweep home by the ever alert Charlie Foy.
Meanwhile, Mullingar Hawks defence of Enrickas Siliauskas, Michael McLoughlin and Sean Plunkett ensured that they remained tight at the back. They were well marshalled by Goalkeeper Tom Daly who quickly snuffed out any half chances that arose. With the 2-0 lead, and that tight defence Mullingar Hawks were on top and comfortably saw out the rest of the game.
As the final whistle sounded, Mullingar Hawks were delighted to have secured a hard fought 2-0 victory. In doing so, they had extended their unbeaten run in the competition whilst adding more goals and another clean sheet. Mucklagh can take lots of consolation for the part they had played in a very competitive and tight match.