Hide's 'Key man unlocks Joeys!
Mullarkey hat-trick bags Malahide first senior final
MALAHIDE CS 3
ST JOSEPH'S CBS 1
STRIKER Conor Mullarkey fired Malahide CS into their first ever Leinster Senior Cup final with a superb hat-trick in Tuesday's semi-final against St Joseph's CBS.
Goals either side of half-time from the classy finisher put Malahide in control at Clontarf Sports Centre following early chances for St Joseph's, before he wrapped up victory with an emphatic finish on the hour mark.
It was a scintillating display of finishing from the 17-year-old at the heart of an impressive team performance from Malahide, who dominated the second period in particular with their slick brand of passing football.
However, St Joseph's went away disappointed that their only reward from a contest where they carved out the first two real chances was a late consolation goal for Stephen Doyne.
It was hardly a surprise that the Fairview secondary school should adapt quicker to their local surroundings but Mark Byrne's glaring miss, when presented with an open goal at the back post from a Paul Gannon free kick five minutes in, was not in the script they hoped for.
Gannon had a chance to make up for the wasted opportunity himself on 22 minutes when he volleyed wide at the front post from Alan Gannon's set piece.
Despite limiting Malahide's threat up to that point, Joseph's were stunned by the opening goal of the game on the half-hour mark when Mullarkey tapped home after Jamie Walsh's original shot was blocked.
Mullarkey threatened with a long-range shot minutes later but Joseph's were rescued by the offside flag after Doyne finished at the back post from Ciaran Doyne's cross on the counter attack.
The half-time break came and went with it very much game-on, but within minutes the odds were stacked against St Joseph's as Mullarkey reacted quickest to head home Colm Curtis's long throw at the front post.
Malahide's surge in confidence from the two-goal cushion was obvious, but James Daly threatened with a long-range shot for St Joseph's just to remind the leaders they were in a game.
However, Mullarkey and Dylan Cashin beside him up front looked especially dangerous on the break and on 69 minutes the former sealed victory when he raced onto Glenn Daly's long ball and away from the defence to finish with ease.
Mullarkey fired narrowly wide on the turn as another long throw caused chaos in the Joseph's box and the ball dropped at his feet, before a phenomenal run and piece of skill from the striker drew gasps from everyone at the ground.
Malahide were totally in control and threatening at will as Mullarkey broke through the heart of the Joseph's defence and by three defenders before using a stepover to beat the final man and forcing a brave save from goalkeeper Graham Morrison.
Despite further chances for Cashin and substitute Jacob Ferguson, it was St Joseph's who finished on a high as Doyne's bundled finish beyond Kevin Dunne inspired them to a final push in the closing minutes, but it was always going to be too little too late.
ST JOSEPH'S CBS: Graham Morrison; Sean Corbally, Paul Gannon, Jimmy Hopkins (Alan Conroy 71), Cian Bowe, Mark Byrne, Ciaran Doyne, James Daly, Alan Gannon, Leon Grouse, Stephen Doyne.
MALAHIDE CS: Kevin Dunne; Jamie Walsh, Colm Curtis, Glenn Daly, Ciaran McGahan, Mark Brennan, Eric Harold (Jacob Ferguson 72), Shane Woods, Dylan Cashin, Conor Mullarkey, Ciaran McGahan.