A FIRST half five-goal fusillade left the good ship Tullamore badly holed below the waterline in Leah Victoria Park last Saturday and ultimately saw their Counties Cup campaign sink.
The chief architect of their misfortune was Jordon Scally, Mullingar’s clever centre forward, whose quick feet and close control wrecked havoc in the home rearguard.
Tullamore began brightly with David Maloney picking out David Kluz on the right but his cross was too deep and then Barry Walsh got on the end of a Jack Goodings free kick, but his header was well taken by Trevor Martin in the Mullingar goal.
They again went close when Maloney threaded the ball through to Glen McEvoy but Martin was quickly off his line to avert the danger.
The visitors hit back with Stephen Norris picking out Jordon Scally whose effort flew outside the right post but, with 17 minutes gone, they made the breakthrough when Liam Brennan slipped the ball through to the overlapping Sam McCartan and he cooly rolled it into the bottom right corner of the net.
Within minutes they had added to their advantage when Sean Mahon played a great ball down the left to Jordon Scally and he drilled it into the far corner to put his side two goals in front.
Tullamore went back on the attack with Barry Walsh firing in a dangerous cross that saw Niall Kearns taken down in the area and Kearns duly stepped up to drive the resultant penalty into the top right hand corner of the net.
Mullingar restored their two-goal advantage minutes later when Sean Mahon’s free kick was deflected wide and, from the corner, David Masterson headed home at the far post.
With Gio Russo coming on the home side tried to get back in the game and they went close when Ben Kilroe got on the end of Niall Gorman’s long pass but Trevor Martin brought off a fine save down low to his right.
With half an hour gone Mullingar struck again when lovely play from Jordon Scally saw him lose his marker before putting the ball on a plate for Liam Brennan to score from close range.
Scally again threatened when he was played in by Brennan but he was denied by a great point blank save from Dean Molloy.
As the pressure continued to mount Sean Mahon fired across the face of the goal and, with minutes remaining in the first half, Scally again tormented the home defence before picking out Mahon at the far post for an easy finish to leave the score 5-1 in favour of Mullingar at the interval.
On the resumption Tullamore tried to reduce the arrears with Derek Coolahan picking out Stephen Dwane on the right but his cross was well taken by Trevor Martin while, at the other end, Sean Mahon and Eoin Mulread combined to create an opening for Liam Brennan but Dean Molloy kept his effort out.
The home side were unlucky on 55 minutes when Barry Walsh found Jack Goodings in the area but his shot struck the underside of the crossbar and was scrambled clear.
Mullingar should have increased their lead on the hour when Fola Ayondra was taken down in the area but Dean Molloy produced a superb save to keep out Liam Brennan’s spot kick.
Good play by Gio Russo saw him pick out Derek Coolahan but his effort flew outside the left post and then Stephen Dwane cut the ball back to Jack Goodings but he fired over.
They again went close when David Maloney’s free kick came back off the post and, with 75 minutes gone, they pulled a goal back when Emmet Brennan turned Gio Russo’s cross into his own net.
Tullamore never gave up on the game but the damage done in the first half was just too much to repair.
Tullamore Town: Dean Molloy; Ben Kilroe, Scott Martin, Niall Gorman, Shane Minnock, Jack Goodings, Barry Walsh, Glen McEvoy, David Kluz, David Maloney, Niall Kearns. Subs: Derek Doolahan, Stephen Dwane, Gio Russo, Dion Daly, Raphael Tshorzewski.
Mullingar Athletic: Trevor Martin; Oisin Tyrell, Sam McCartan, David Masterson, Emmet Brennan, Jason McGrath, Eoin Mulread, Stephen Norris, Jordon Scally, Liam Brennan, Sean Mahon. Subs: Fola Ayondra, Aaron McLoughlin.
Tullamore are at home to Clara Town this Saturday, March 16, kick-off 7.pm in Leah Victoria Park.