Sarsfield Park stroll as Melville FC advance to third round of Combined Counties Cup in style


Mullingar Celtic were hit for six as Melville FC advanced to the third round of the Counties Cup at Sarsfield Park last Sunday morning, a first half hat trick from Mark McConnell doing the damage, the tie over as a contest by the break.

The final outcome was surprising as the early stages were evenly contested, both teams competing out of Division Two where Celtic had yet to taste defeat. There was little goalmouth action up to the midway point of the opening half, Melville earning their first corner kick after 25 minutes and then opening the scoring a minute later as Kevin Lawless delivered a left-wing cross which fell to McConnell who fired home. The experienced striker was again on target two minutes later. Lawless was again the provider and McConnell finished with a neat flick past the advancing keeper.

The number ten then made it three after 36 minutes. Liam Flowers provided the assist this time and McConnell completed his hat trick with a looping header. Corners were exchanged as the half drew to a conclusion but Mullingar never looked like mounting a comeback. Full back Adam O’Brien ended the tie as a contest with the home team’s fourth goal just before the break. Cian Hayden completed the action in the half when firing wide.

The second half turned out to be a non-event as Mullingar failed to respond at any stage, a solitary free kick just after the hour mark the only time they troubled the home rear-guard. Melville grabbed two more goals as the scoring was surprisingly completed by the hour mark. Adam Dowling celebrated his introduction to the action by finding the net, his fierce shot crashing off the bar and over the line after 50 minutes. Another corner followed for the hosts and the rout was completed after 57 minutes. Melville kept pressing hard as Celtic tried to clear the danger. Mark Duffy further punished the visitors as he scored a great goal following a well struck volley.

The tie was over at this stage but the visitors still had another half an hour to endure. Their only chance in the half came from a free kick when substitute Dylan Cannon tested the otherwise redundant goalkeeper Ryan Jinks. Both teams went through the motions for the remainder of the half, the hosts having all the chances without looking likely to add to their goal tally.

Another substitute Kelin Quinn fired over as a corner followed. Malachai MacCormaic was also brought on and he too fired off target. Three more corners were earned by Melville before the final whistle while another set piece afforded the hosts the chance to make it seven. Duffy though was wide with his free kick strike.

Mullingar never came close to grabbing even a consolation score and must now concentrate on pursuing league honours. Melville can look forward to the draw for the third round where possible opponents include local rivals St Peters and the holders Monksland United.


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