Friday 24 January 2020

Murphy hat trick helps put Millstreet through


PICTURE: BARRY PEELO Knockraha's Jonathon Coughlan clears his lines despite the attempted intervention by Millstreet Celtic's Chris Cleary
PICTURE: BARRY PEELO Knockraha's Jonathon Coughlan clears his lines despite the attempted intervention by Millstreet Celtic's Chris Cleary

Millstreet star's hattrick sends home side through in cup Knockraha 1 Millstreet Celtic 4 TADGH Collins grabbed a hat-trick as Millstreet claimed their place in the second round of the Murphy's Irish Stout County Cup after a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Knockraha at Pigeon Hill on Saturday in the first round of the County Cup.

It was a devastating display by Collins of what clinical finishing is all about.

He proved throughout to be too-hot to handle for the Knockraha defence and aside from his hattrick he also did some tremendous work on the left before setting up Brian Kelleher for number two.

It was Knockraha's first defeat of the season but Millstreet looked the livelier of the two even in the early exchanges.

A Chris Cleary shot forced a save by the Knockraha keeper early on, and Brian Murphy was unlucky to see his forceful effort flash narrowly wide. After another industrious Millstreet move, Cleary was in action once again when he fired over from a good position.

Knockraha started to compose themselves somewhat and when Shane Aherne's long clearance picked out Raymond O'Connor in a good position, Brian Sheehan and John Lehane combined to snuff out the threat by outmuscling the Knockraha's striker to avert the danger.

However, O'Connor came close minutes later when after subtle skill brought him beyond his marker, his rifling effort flashed agonisingly wide of the upright for a close call.

Steven Aherne was accorded a chance in similar circumstance moments later but shot wide of the target to waste a good chance.

Millstreet started to gather their momentum once again and went ahead as a result of a lovely slick move.

Mark Ellis picked out Brian Murphy on the right with a nicely weighted pass.

Murphy steadied himself on the flanks before delivering a pin-point curling cross that found the head of Tadgh Collins to nonchalantly power home the opener on 40 minutes.

The visitors could have gone further ahead when Brian Kelleher's flicked effort from Barry Lawlor's free kick went inches wide.

But Knockraha nearly found themselves on level terms going into the break when Martin Buckley's header came back off the post and just seconds afterwards, Paul Fenton failed to keep his stinging effort down from 20 yards out before referee Alan O'Connell blew for the interval.

Millstreet continued to show the initiative in the opening exchanges of the second period and Chris Cleary nearly made Ronan Aherne pay for being out of position when his low effort travelled narrowly wide of an unattended target.

But it was all square once again when Leonard Hanley leapt unchallenged to head home the equaliser from Paul Fenton's corner on 59 minutes.

Knockraha's relief though was short-lived when a cross from Tadgh Collins finished up with Brian Kelleher guiding home to restore the lead once again for the visitors just one minute later.

Millstreet were to go further in front when a clipped pass from Chris Cleary picked out the unstoppable Tadgh Collins to head home – making it 3-1 to the visitors with 15 minutes to go.

Millstreet were on song by now and the goal-of-the-game followed when Brian Kelleher's diagonal pass picked out Tadgh Collins to volley home with tremendous aplomb from an acute angle to round off what was a superb individual performance for him but overall – a great team performance by Millstreet.