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Mooney causing stir in the Cup

FORMER Cork City man Dave Mooney has established a real love affair with England's cup competitions since his move from Ireland five years ago - and he aims to keep that record going tonight when his Leyton Orient side face big-spending Championship outfit Hull City in an FA Cup replay.

The Dubliner's strike-rate in the cups - a career total of 17 goals in 22 games in all cup competitions, and seven goals in six cup ties this season - is something that Mooney is proud of.

His latest effort almost caused an upset, as Mooney scored to give his team, who are in League One, the lead away to Hull city in the FA Cup third round, Hull then needing a late equaliser to earn a replay at Orient's home of Brisbane Road tonight.

"The cups are great, they give people over here great excitement and I always seem to be able to raise my game for those matches," Mooney told the Herald.

Space

"It's hard to explain but the cup games have more of a feel to them, they're more open, you might get just a shade more space than you'd normally get in a league game and as a striker that might be all you need.

"In the cups, the teams go out to win the match, no one sits off in the hope of a draw, they're nice games and we seem to get decent teams.

"And that's where you get a chance to show people what you're about, when you play the better teams," added Mooney, who scored for third-tier side Orient against a top-flight club, Blackburn, last season.

"And we have two chances to get to Wembley, we play Southend in the local area final of the Johnstone's Paints Trophy next month, if we win that we get to Wembley."

It's not always a good day out for Orient as they were hammered 5-0 by Everton in the League Cup earlier this season (though ex-Longford Town and Shamrock Rovers man Mooney can avoid the blame for that one as he was an unused sub) but the 28-year-old relishes those clashes with the bigger sides.

"You seem to get more time on the ball against the teams from higher leagues," he said.

"In League One, which is our bread and butter, it's all hustle and bustle, 100 miles an hour. But when we played Hull last week it was a good game of football, and we are a good footballing team on our day. We got on the ball as much as they did even though they had internationals and big-money signings in their side," says Mooney, who won't face up to his former Cork City team-mate David Meyler tonight.

Despite a mid-table position in the League One table, Orient - who also have Irishmen Leon McSweeney and Martin Rowlands in the side -- insist they are capable of getting past Hull, a club who showed their Premier League intentions by spending almost £4million on David Meyler and Robbie Brady last week.

Mood

"Our performances have been good, we've won 10 and drawn two of our last 14 games so we're in confident mood - and that was against all levels of opposition, so Hull coming to our place tonight won't worry us as it's a tough game for both teams, I don't think Hull will fancy coming to our place all that much," Mooney admits.

"We should have won the first leg as we were the better side, I scored a nice goal and it was just very unfortunate for us that we conceded a goal in stoppage time. I should have had a penalty a few minutes before the goal, Alex Bruce took me down in the box but it wasn't given, I was just hoping for that one chance to come my way, a good cross came into me and I managed to get across Paul McShane and finish it.

"It was a good day for me personally, I have been playing well recently and I just want to keep that up, if we get through here we have Barnsley in the next round and that's another chance for us to get one over on a team from a higher league."

Playing in a higher league is still on the agenda for Mooney.

Flourished

He made a splash when he joined Reading, from Cork in 2008, but where Shane Long and Kevin Doyle flourished, Mooney struggled to impress and in three years at the Madejski Stadium he failed to make a single league appearance.

But in his loan spells, and since his permanent move to Orient in 2011, the goals have flowed. Out of contract at the end of this season, Mooney could be on the move again in the summer depending on how the rest of the campaign goes.

"I have 10 goals this season so if I can keep up my own form, who knows what could happen?" he says.