First-half blitz ends Stradbally’s hopes

Stradbally's Paul Maher gets down low to to save a certain goal against Mullingar Athletic during the CCFL Over 35 Pat McBride Construction Cup Final at Stanley O'Hara Park, Clara. Picture: Ger Rogers/HR Photo.
Four goals in the first-half ended Stradbally’s hopes of claiming silverware in their first season in the Over 35 League as Mullingar Athletic completed the league and cup double in Clara on Saturday.

Four goals in the first-half ended Stradbally’s hopes of claiming silverware in their first season in the Over 35 League as Mullingar Athletic completed the league and cup double in Clara on Saturday.

On the day, the Westmeath outfit proved just too strong for Stradbally however the men in green can hold their heads high after reaching the cup final in their first season of Over 35s football.

For the opening 20 minutes, Stradbally were well in the game, limiting the opportunities for Mullingar Athletic while also looking confident in possession. Thomas Delaney caused problems for the Mullingar Athletic defence but Stradbally could not fashion a clear goal scoring chance in the opening minutes.

The game turned after 20 minutes when Mullingar Athletic opened the scoring when Michael O’Grady found the back of the net.

They turned that new found dominance in the game into dominance on the scoreline before half-time as they scored three goals in a blistering five minute spell before the break to put the game beyond Stradbally.

Jimmy McEntee doubled the advantage on the half-hour mark with Michael O’Grady adding his second and Mullingar Athletic’s third soon after. With Stradbally on the ropes, Marius Buividavicius administered the knock-out blow before the break to make it 4-0 when the half-time whistle sounded.

Any hope Stradbally may have had of mounting a comeback disappeared soon after the restart when Trevor Thompson added a fifth for Mullingar Athletic and while Stradbally were an improved side in the second 35 minutes, they couldn’t stop Stephen Norris adding a sixth goal midway through the half.

To their credit, Stradbally battled all the way to the final whistle but despite their best efforts, they couldn’t break down the excellent defence of their opponents to get themselves even a consolation goal.

Stradbally Town: Paul Maher; Des Rowan, Donal Kelly, Wes Maher, Conor Brady, Edward Kinsella, Raymond Mullally, Niall McCarthy, Seamus Lalor, Thomas Delaney, Ken Guidan. Subs: Paul Molloy, Fergal Graham, Richard Dunne, Adrian Lawlor, Colm Casey.

Mullingar Athletic: Nigel Croash; Niall Dunne, Stephen McNamee, Emmet Brennan, Dalibor Pesic, Enda Matthews, Trevor Thompson, Marius Buividavicus, Michael O’Grady, Stephen Norris, Jimmy McEntee. Subs: Trevor Kenny, Jim Thornton, Jason Finnane, Ross Brady, David Meade.

Referee: Daniel Sweeney