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Maloney's 'meteor' a match winner for Merrion

MOUNT MERRION FC...................... ... ..2

WAYSIDE CELTIC ... ... ... .........................1

IS there a nicer place on the planet than Deer Park on a spring evening? It's a real sporting haven – runners, walkers, soccer, tennis, GAA. As Dana might say, all kinds of everything.

This 11C1 (Saturday) duel certainly added to the scenery. The pitch overlooks Dublin Bay, but everybody was keeping their eyes firmly on the action.

It was nil-all at the break. Both defences were in top form. And so was the home goalkeeper, Ivan Mooney, who made a couple of brilliant saves, one in each half.

Wayside might have snatched a draw. Nobody would have complained. They certainly deserved it.

With time almost up, Jamie Doolan hit a cracking shot that thundered off the Merrion bar. Had it gone in, it would have been a definite goal-of-the-season contender. The three goals scored had much merit about them.

Two minutes into the second period, the hosts took the lead at the pavilion end. The ball broke loose in the box and Rory Healy didn't have to be asked twice.

The equaliser came eight minutes later. It was a super move which began deep in the Celtic half. Shauna Carroll started the ball rolling and on it went until Doolan produced a classical finish, low to the right-hand corner.

Both teams went for broke. There was much excitement around the two hall doors.

Celtic were pouring on the pressure, but there was no way past the Merrion gates. And the Merrion maestros were dangerous on the break.

Five minutes from time came the winner. It was a beauty. Cian Moloney's 20-yard strike flew, express post, to the left-hand corner.

Doolan's delightful strike almost levelled it. "It was a tremendous shot. It would have been some goal," reflected Celtic's Dave Conroy, who is thrilled with the side's improvement.

"They have come on so well. Last season we didn't win a match. They are trying to play football in the right way and that is the most important thing."

Merrion's Maurizio Giani also believes in total football. "They are passing the ball very well. We are very proud of them. It was a super game," he said.

MOUNT MERRION FC: Ivan Mooney; Pearce Meehan, Traoloch Butler, Hubert Rebow, Robert Scanlon, Raul Farrell, Ben Rossiter, Adam Lawless, Mikey Byrne, Jack Farrell, Max Patterson, Cian Moloney, Rory Healy. Managers: Maurizio Giani, Eddie Farrell.

WAYSIDE CELTIC: Cian Fitzgerald; Charlie O'Donoghue, Adam O'Donnell, Adam Colbert, Shauna Carroll, Peter Lane, Ross O'Driscoll, Ryan Conroy, Joe Earls, Adam Walker, Robert O'Grady, Jamie Doolan, Peter Quigley. Managers: Dave Conroy, Tom Lane.

Referee: James Grogan