Kestrels toppled last years runners-up in a rip roaring encounter in the opening round of the Division 1 Mens Cup by the narrowest of margins in Rochfortbridge on Saturday night.
After trailing all game long, Mullingar managed to get themselves level with seconds left on the clock. Kestrels took a time out and executed their out of bounds play perfectly with Dan Debosz finishing off a back door pass leaving Mullingar no time to respond.
Kestrels started strongly and jumped out to an early 8-0 lead with scores from Liam Guinan, Martas Kranaiuskas and 16 year old underage international Sean Smith.
Mullingar responded with a pair of three pointers before a couple of scores from Dan Debosz left Kestrels leading 15-10 after the first quarter.
Kestrels pulled away again in the second with Anthony Dunne and Glen Mitchell getting in on the scoring but Mullingar responded again and only trailed 29-25 at half time.
There wasn’t more than a couple of scores between the teams throughout the second half and three, three point efforts from Niko Dudko kept Kestrels noses in front heading into the last quarter.
Mullingar responded with a brace of scores from Richard Vilkas. The 6 foot 7 inch Martas Kranaiuskas finished a couple of inside moves and Smith and Mitchell hit two vital shots to edge Kestrels ahead once more.
With the clock winding down and Kestrels three ahead, a Mullingar player was fouled on a three point shot. He went to the line and drained all three shots under pressure.
Kestrels immediately called a time out and drew up a play with seconds left on the clock. Kranaiuskas and Debosz combined beautifully to create an open lay-up and Kestrels just about managed to escape with the victory.