FROM an initial entry of 40 teams, only four remain in the race for the Clare Junior Cup and the pairings for this year’s semi-finals will be decided on Friday evening.
Avenue United are still in the running for the Premier League and cup double after they beat Newmarket for the second time in five days.
Bridge Celtic are also through to the last four after they proved too strong for Lifford at O’Briensbridge. Another premier division side Rock Rovers proved too strong for Burren United at Lisdoonvarna while the fourth spot is filled by second division outfit Bridge United B, who overcame Manus Celtic A in a tie that went all the way to a penalty shoot-out.
Bridge United are also chasing a double as they currently lead the second division league.
Avenue United A 2
Newmarket Celtic A 1
AVENUE scored their second win over Newmarket Celtic inside a week when they came out on top in this quarter-final tie at McDonough Park on Sunday.
Five days earlier, the Ennis side had moved into a very strong position in their race for the Premier League title with victory and they repeated the dose on Sunday.
Celtic were first to score through Eoin Hayes and they were a little unlucky not to have extended this lead as the first half progressed.
Just on the stroke of half-time, Avenue struck a decisive blow when Gary Flynn cracked a free to the net for what many of those present described as one of the goals of the season in Clare.
The winning goal came with time ticking away. Barry Nugent scored following a cross from team captain David Russell.
Avenue United: John Healy; David Smith, Simon Cuddihy, Mattie Nugent, David Russell; Gary Flynn, Pa Wilson, David Herlihy, Adrian McDonagh, Barry Nugent, Mikey Mahoney.
Subs: Anthony White for Smith; David McCarthy for Flynn; Colin Smith for Mahoney.
Newmarket Celtic A: Ciaran McGlynn; Mark O’Malley, Darren Cullinan, Seamus Lawlor, Michael Devitt; Gary Browne, Eoin O’Brien, Mike O’Malley, Michael Crosby; Eoin Hayes, Kieran Devitt.
Burren United 1
Rock Rovers 3
WINNERS of the title in 2008, Rock Rovers are through to the last four of this year’s competition thanks to this win in Lisdoonvarna on Sunday.
After a scoreless first half, the visitors took the lead when Marty McLoughlin scored but the home side fought back to level through Noel Downes. They were unlucky not to go in front but Stephen Moloney’s effort struck the crossbar.
Rock went back in front when Daryl Eade found the target before David Ryan sealed victory with a late strike.
Burren United: Eric Cahilane; Kevin Danagher, Michael Keating, Stephen Tierney, Dave Devanney, Sean Cormican, Noel Downes, Ghat Marine, John McDonagh, Martin McDonagh, Stephen Maloney.
Subs: Sean Cormican for McDonagh.
Rock Rovers: Eric Murphy; Ronan Judge, Gary Walsh, Shane Daniels, Jason White, David Considine, Rowan Eade, Daryl Eade, Dean Gardiner, Marty McLoughlin, David Ryan.
Subs: Barry Woods for Walsh; Brian Fitzpatrick for Considine; Cathal O’Sullivan for McLoughlin.
Bridge Celtic A 2
GER O’Connell gave Celtic the lead in this tie at sunny O’Briensbridge when his header from a Barry O’Connell free gave the home support reason to cheer with less than 10 minutes played.
Fabrice Baptista came close to levelling a few minutes later but his powerful effort was parried by Adrian Dhuig. The home side’s goalkeeper Dhuig was called on again a few minutes later when he saved from Gary McNaboe.
Both sides created chances as the game swung from end to end before Celtic sealed victory and a semi-final place with their second goal with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Ger O’Connell provided the cross from which Jimmy Fyffe scored.
Bridge Celtic A: Adrian Dhuig; Trevor Howard, Stephen McCarthy, William Slattery, Rob Seymour, Shane Byrnes, Ricky Mowatt, Barry O’Connell, Paul McEvoy, Ger O’Connell, David Hickey.
Sub: Jimmy Fyffe for B O’Connell.
Lifford: Colin Burke; Dylan Blake, Stephen O’Halloran, Darren O’Neill, Hamad Kukyu; Gary McNaboe, Ryan Boyle, TJ Ajisomo, Declan McMahon, Lunga Balman, Fabrice Baptista.
Subs: Liam Keane for Balman; Liam Meaney for Baptista (injured).
Bridge United B 3
Manus Celtic A 3
(Bridge United B won 4-3 on penalties)
BRIDGE United B caused a huge surprise when they progressed to the semi-final at the expense of Manus Celtic A on Sunday.
In the only one of the quarter-finals to require a penalty shoot out, the Bridge outfit came through thanks to some fine goalkeeping by Barry Deasy who produced three penalty saves in the shootout.
Manus conceded home advantage and got off to a terrible start, conceding three in the opening half hour.
Brendan Murphy opened the scoring when he finished an Albert Finnan free kick to the net. Gavin downes had his side’s second and within a couple of minutes, Murphy struck again to put them three up.
Other sides might have thrown in the towel but Manus came storming back and ten minutes into the second half, they opened their account when Kevin Clohessy scored. The gap was cut to one after another ten minutes of play when Conor Donnellan found the net. Within a matter of a couple of minutes, the sides were level thanks to a Conor Plunkett header.
Surprisingly, the final quarter produced few scoring opportunities and this led to extra time when the teams continued to be evenly matched.
Trevor Kearney came closest in extra time when he came inches away with a diving header following great work down the left from Chris Lake.
In the penalty shoot out, Bridge goalie Barry Deasy proved to be the hero saving two of Manus Celtic’s six efforts.
Chris Lake, Trevor Kearney, Paul Fitzpatrick and Albert Finnan scored for the winners.
The penalty scorers for Manus were Kevin Clohessy, Conor Donlon and Declan Frawley. Sean Travers had his effort saved while Eamonn Callinan’s effort went over the bar.
In the sudden death Danny Scanlon’s effort was saved.