Banbridge Rangers were on cloud nine on Saturday after they a-nine-hilated local rivals Seapatrick at Cheney Park in an Intermediate A league match.
A late hat-trick by Gers star Jeff Brady capped a man of the match performance which also included two assists for striker Davis ‘Jerry’ Philip who made it four goals in two appearances for Richard McMinn’s free scoring team.
The home side were without influential players Mark Wilton and William Frazer for the return league fixture but welcomed Stuart Mallen to the fold after the talented left footer signed during the week from Glenavon.
It took 19 year old Mallen all of nine minutes to find the back of the net on an impressive debut with a deadly strike from the edge of the box. Jonny Porter’s willingness to overlap saw him cross low for Mallen who controlled and volleyed in one swift movement into the bottom corner.
On 17 minutes, Rangers had doubled their lead when a free -kick on the half way line saw Chris Chambers arrow his pass into the path of Colin Cousins who had made a run beyond the last defender and looped his header into the far corner from an acute angle.
The course of the game could have taken a different twist on 24 minutes had Seapatrick’s Dean Lennon been able to convert when he picked up a loose pass across the back but he shot straight at Harker.
From the resultant counter attack, Jonny O’Neill curled just over the bar but the combative Rangers player wouldn’t take long to get onto the score-sheet. It was in the 31st minute that O’Neill drilled his shot low into the corner from ten yards after tenacious work from Brady and Philip inside the box.
Davis ‘Jerry’ Philip should have made it four before the break but miscued his header from four yards after being left unmarked at a corner.
The boy from St Lucia wasn’t to be denied his name on the score-sheet as he emerged from changing room and netted twice within 15 minutes of the restart
Both goals were created by Jeff Brady who was revelling in an advanced role with the first goal being converted from a low cross after Brady was released by the quick thinking Beattie. Philips’ second goal was a well-taken effort from an inswinging Brady corner on the hour mark.
On 65 minutes, Brady himself made it 6-0 after finding acres of space on the right and he poked his shot under the Village keeper after checking the covering defender.
With 20 minutes to go, it was going to be a case of how many the hosts could get as Seapatrick’s Mark Myles went for an early bath after a second booking for dissent.
Mallen went close to doubling his tally when played in on goal by Adam Beattie but McGrath saved well with his feet. The Seapatrick stopper could do nothing with the seventh goal which was a peach from centre half Ryan Gregg. A Brady free-kick was cleared out with Gregg reacting quickest to control with his right and loop a shot with his left into the far corner.
With just under ten minutes to go, Brady got another after a sliced volley fell fortuitously into his path and he made no mistake from eight yards out.
It took less than sixty seconds for him to complete his hat-trick, this time nipping in between two defenders before slotting home to cap another excellent performance in a Rangers shirt.
Captain Colin Cousins was then denied the chance to make it ten before the end when he robbed Buchanan but saw his shot cannon off the post.
Banbridge Rangers now have three important Cup fixtures coming up over the next few weeks. That starts on saturday with a home tie against Tandragee Rovers in Round Three of the Irish Cup (kick off 1.30pm).
After that it’s Newry City at home in the quarter-finals of the Premier Cup before a trip to Crumlin United in the Intermediate Cup.