The Mullingar 1sts squad. Back row, from left: Craig Gillespie, Josh McCormack, Stephen Wiltshire, Torben Marl, Tristan Couper, Alex Kenny, Barry Watters, Tom Bowers. Front row, from left: Tommy Crowley, Takudzwa Hwato , Holger Marl, Craig Sweeny, Marc Watters, Stuart Synnott and Owen Wiltshire.

Hockey: Mullingar hit four against Galway in Challenge Cup tie

After last week’s disappointing defeat, it was time for Mullingar to turn their attention to Galway in their first group stage game of the Irish Challenge Cup. With Mullingar keen to get some silverware, it was vital that they start off with three points on the board.

Mullingar, with a full squad apart from two players who had to withdraw due to sickness, were determined to start off early and hit the ground running – and that’s exactly what they did.

Mullingar put the pressure on the Galway defence over and over again, but couldn’t seem to get the ball into the goals pass the over 50s Irish keeper, until Stuart Synnott had a shot on goal from the top of D. This was deflected by a Galway defender’s stick, which made the ball loop over Galway’s grounded keeper.

Mullingar came close to making it two, but both Takudzwa Hawto and Marc Watters couldn’t get it past the impressive keeper.

The second quarter brought frustration for the Mullingar team. Countless short corners were wasted, and with Galway slowly starting to gain a bit of confidence and putting pressure on the Mullingar defence, Tommy Crowley made some fine saves of his own to keep Galway out.

After those missed chances for both teams, Mullingar finally got their second goal with Synnott yet again applying the finish, making it three in two games for the speedy midfielder. Synnott pushed the ball in with ease at the penalty spot after a short corner was deflected into his path.

The third quarter brought more chances for Mullingar, but they couldn’t get the ball into the D with the Galway defence standing firm to not let Mullingar go 3-0 to the good.

After numerous efforts, Mullingar finally got their third with Alex Kenny getting his first goal for the 1sts. Takudzwa Hwato, from the top, passed into Kenny’s path and with no touch, he hammered it on the half volley into the bottom left corner.

The final quarter saw Mullingar with produce even more chances, with Watters hitting the post and Synnott getting close to the hat-trick. But it was Takudzwa Hwato who got the fourth and final goal after some good work from Josh McCormack down the right wing, and also by Watters who cut it back to Hwato from the end line to the centtr of the D, to where he smoothly applied the finish.

The game ended 4-0 in Mullingar’s favour, even though they weren’t firing on all cylinders. Mullingar will now turn their attention to next Saturday’s fixture when they face Pembroke at home. The hosts hoping to get their first league win of the season and get some points on the board.

Man of the match: Stuart Synnott.