Two early goals stun Mullagh
By David Mannion
Loughrea advanced to the penultimate stage of the senior hurling championship after defeating Mullagh in their quarter-final reply at Kenny Park on Sunday by 2-10 to 0-13.
Loughrea were first out of the starting blocks to punish the Mullagh defence with two early goals. This shaky start for Mullagh resulted in them chasing the game from the outset and made it difficult for them to settle. The goals coming from Kenneth Colleran in the first minute and the same player fed full forward Johnny Maher in the ninth minute who subsequently shook the net.
Loughrea’s long deliveries caused mayhem among the Mullagh defence and they led 2-2 to 0-3 after 12 minutes with early points from Sean Sweeney (free) and county star Johnny Coen, and the goals from Kenneth Colleran and Johnny Maher.
Mullagh, with points frm Niall Cahalan (2) and Finian Coone, upped their game and had the better of the exchanges for the remainder of the first half, scoring four points without reply to reduce the margin to two points at the interval, 2-4 to 0-8.
However Loughrea extended their lead through a long-range free from Sean Sweeney before Mullagh, through a Niall Cahalan free and a further effort from Justin Gaynor, were just a point behind.
It was then Loughrea wrested control again, tagging on a further five points over the next 15 minutes, while Mullagh only managed one point in this period. Although they piled on the pressure in the last five minutes, they were restricted to two points