The second leg of the new Midlands Shield took place at the weekend in Gainstown with Mullingar’s high fliers boasting an impressive 6-0 lead from the first leg played in Cadamstown a fortnight ago.
The Eagles welcomed back Sean Tully in midfield and Tadgh Kelly at the back both of whom were rested for the first leg. They also suffered a pre-match injury to Vice-captain Darragh Mullen which meant Carl McCormack had the full game in the goal as he continued to work hard and develop with a string of impressive displays behind him.
The home side started with great purpose and menace, in particular Jack McCann on the left and James Sugrue on the right. McCann was devouring the left flank as he tormented the visiting defence. So it came of no surprise that the opening goal came from a McCann inspired attack which was hammered home by one half of the Eagles two tower strike force, Matthew Doyle. Who has been in red hot form of late in front of goal. His counterpart, goal hungry Callum Lynch has also been in incredible form. He grabbed a second moments later following some good play from Simon Jorgensen.
Despite the score line the visitors refused to lie down, and their efforts were rewarded with a goal as the ball broke on the edge of the box and unexpectedly caught McCormack off guard. The Eagles continued to press with Colm Duffy driving his team on from the heart of midfield and were probably unfortunate not to get a third before the interval.
In the second half as fatigue began to play a part the Eagles rang the changes with great success. Callum Lynch grabbed his second after Mohammed Mugtaba made a wonderful assist. Mugtaba himself would grab a goal late on with another McCann assist, who was enjoying his best game in an Eagles Jersey.
Simon Jorgensen scored the goal of the game, a magnificent header from a delightful Matthew Thornton cross fly into the goal passed a helpless BBC keeper. Callum O’Halloran also played well in and around the box and on another day he would have got on the scoresheet. But it was the two Matthews that finished off proceedings. Doyle grabbed his brace, a powerful precise finish after some great play down the right from Hayden Nolan. As Callum Lynch’s bid to get his hat-trick a magical moment of team spirit and all that is good about these Eagles saw the striker selflessly square the ball to his captain Matthew Thornton to score the seventh and final goal with practically the last kick of the match.
This was another brilliant performance from a young side that is showing more and more every time they take to the pitch. Not only was the spirit of the side shown at the death with Lynch’s play but also midfielder Ruairi O’Dowd playing through injury as he refused to let his team mates down. Stephen battle played both full back and right midfield and was excellent when called upon, he is also developing and working hard every time he takes to the field.
The Eagles will now enter the Semi-Final stage of this maiden competition, hell bent on being its first Champions.
Man of the Match was tough to call with all the goals and excellent play on show, Strikers Matthew Doyle and Callum Lynch were unplayable as was Matthew Thornton who lead by example from start to finish but Jack McCann stole the show down the left and weighed in two assists and some truly outstanding overall play.