Luckily for Mullingar Athletics’ high flying Eagles their match at the weekend against T & S did not succumb to the downturn in the weather on Friday & Saturday. The Eagles traveled to Timahoe last month and ran out triumphant winners 9-0 on the day. It was always going to be very difficult to replicate that result especially as the visitors made a conscious effort to keep things as tight as possible.
Darragh Mullen, the Eagles vice-captain and goalkeeper started his first match as centre half alongside Colm Duffy. He did not put a foot wrong in an outstanding first half performance where he excelled in the position. His counterpart Duffy had his best game of an awesome season for himself personally. It took only a few minutes for the latter to open the scoring. Receiving the ball outside the box following a set play, Duffy composed himself to drill home from distance, his first league goal of the season. The centre half has been immense in defence all season, usually partnered by the mountain Tadgh Kelly, however Kelly came on midway through the opening half to allow Duffy a chance to maraud forward in midfield long side Matthew Thornton & Matthew Doyle. Both of whom played very well but were unable to find a breakthrough of their own.
Callum O’Halloran started up front as the main target man, putting in a great shift as he cleverly played in his team mates in attack, Simon Jorgensen & Gavin Pierce. Jorgensen had an unusual quite day by his recent very high standards but was still a huge menace to the Laois team. Gavin Pierce was brilliant at times as he tormented the defence with some very dangerous attacks. Stephen Battle & Cillian Kelly were also introduced to the wide areas, they too battled trying to get another goal for the Eagles but the visiting side’s new goalkeeper was in top form.
The Eagles hot shot striker Callum Lynch came close on many occasions throughout but he met his match with the Laois stopper. It was only in the second half when the hosts doubled their advantage again that man Duffy, this time a trademark free kick. For such a young footballer he gets tremendous power on his shots and this was another example as he rifled home a brace. In fact later in the game he could have got a hat trick and this all from the centre half position.
At various points the Eagles showed great endeavour, Hayden Nolan & James Sugrue both had efforts on goal. Ruairi O’Dowd played some good passes in midfield as did Sean Tully, both of home are maturing into very good young players.
Credit to the visiting team as they did their best to stand strong from start to finish, midfield maestro Jack McCann found it difficult at times for space but his determination and quality stood out as he drove his side forward. Emmet Brennan has also excelled in recent weeks and this was no different as he looked a class apart with his use of the ball and reading of the game.
So, 2-0 it ended to the Eagles. Another clean sheet for the brilliant Eagles keeper Carl McCormack who never put a foot wrong in the game, clearly improving each and every week too which is a major positive for the Gainstown squad.
It was great to see long term injury hit Eagle Gary Brannigan make the effort to support his team mates as did Mohamed Mugtaba who was given a weekend of rest. The Eagles now have 20 points from a possible 24 and boast a handsome 10 point lead at the top of the league table. This is an outstanding achievement for a side newly introduced to Major League football.
Man of the match had to be Colm Duffy who was fantastic yet again, this time weighing in with two goals that he more than deserve following a string of five star performances over the past few months, however Matthew Thornton, Emmet Brennan, Darragh Mullen & Sean Tully all did very well for the team on the day. But every Eagle worked hard for the cause and earned themselves a sixth win out of eight.