By Seamus Hayes
Burren United 3 Newmarket Celtic 1
Burren United were crowned Clare under-17 soccer cup champions when they defeated Newmarket Celtic at a wet and windy county grounds on Saturday afternoon.
The bad weather conditions made it very difficult for the players who, in the circumstances, served up a good game with the North Clare side emerging as worthy winners.
Having played a 2-2 draw in the final game in the league the previous week in Lisdoonvarna, another close contest was expected. Incidentally they have finished on level terms in the league and must now play off for the title, a game expected to take place in the coming week.
They were dealt an early blow when they lost goalkeeper Cathal Guerin to injury and this resulted in the introduction of James Howard. Newmarket were also forced into a change in the opening half when they lost Jack O’Connor to injury.
Alan Sweeney and Thomas Cullinan scored for the winners in the first half to help them to a 2-0 half time lead.
Early in the second half Newmarket bounced back with a Killian Howard goal and he came close to levelling shortly afterwards but his effort from a free kick rebounded off the crossbar.
Burren sealed victory and the title when Evan Barrett scored their third on a day when Alan Sweeney, later named as the player of the game, had two goals disallowed when the match officials ruled that there were offside infringements.
Newmarket finished with ten men after Cathal Hayes was dismissed in the closing minutes.
After the game, Burren captain Austin Moloney was presented with the cup by Clare soccer league chairman Donie Garrihy;
Burren United; Cathal Guerin; Austin Guerin, Kevin Hughes, Padraic Kelly, Jack Sheedy; Alan Sweeney, Tomas Cullinan, Evan Barrett, Joseph McGann; Rohan Danagher, Ryan Burke;
Subs–James Howard for Guerin (inj) Caolan O’Brien for Cullinan
Newmarket Celtic; Cathal Finnucane, Conor McCarthy, Shane Mullaney, Liam O’Connor, Killian Howard, Finba Makoni, Cathal Hayes, Ian Collins, Adam Gilfert, Jack O’Connor, Andrew Russell
Subs;-Tazzy Nazvaura for J. O’Connor (inj); Rob Halpin for Gilbert
Referee—John Ferns; Linesmen—Martin O’Brien and Pa Gleeson