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Avenue United’s Eliaz Kunz and double goal scorer Ronan Kerin. Photograph by Natasha Barton

Clare sides motor on to next round of FAI Junior Cup

Champion Chatter

Clare champions Avenue United made the short journey to Celtic Park in Tuam last Sunday and came away with a 4-0 win. Played in what can best be described as tough conditions both teams went at it straight from the off, writes Derek Dormer.

Star striker Ronan Kerin went close early with a well struck free kick forcing a fine save by Tuam keeper Daragh Melia. Similarly, moments later a Ben Carroll free kick tested Tom O’Brien in the Avenue goal.

The game was frenetic and with the elements wreaking havoc both teams had chances but it took until the half hour mark for the deadlock to be broken.

Midfielder Eoghan Thynne controlled the ball superbly with his first touch before releasing a quality through ball to striker Kerin who duly blasted home with a sweet strike from the edge of the area.

Avenue maintained possession quite well and were happy to take a one nil lead to the sanctuary of the dressing rooms at half time.

On the restart the David Russell side moved through the gears with consummate ease when almost immediately Tomas Hehir doubled their advantage after shooting first time when meeting a superb Mark Roche delivery.

Melia somehow saved Hehir’s effort but the rebound fell kindly for the Clare outfit and Hehir made no mistake from point blank range. This seemed to demoralise the home side as from here to the finish it was one way traffic.

Dylan Casey went close just before the hour mark but moments later Kerin cemented his side’s place in the next round with his second goal after tremendous work by Callum Barrett.

The best was yet to come though as a superb one two between Barrett and Conor Hehir was played just inside the Tuam half. The ball was transferred with pace to Gary Roche who met the delivery first time firing an absolute rocket into the top left hand corner.

The finish was one of the highest quality but was most certainly outdone by Roche’s exuberant celebrations taking his cue from Qatar 2022.

Overall a thoroughly deserving victory on the road for the Clare Champions, in turn securing their place in the draw for Round 5 of Ireland’s premier cup competition.

Tuam Celtic: Daragh Melia, Darragh Cunningham, Gerard Cunniffe, Pearse Farrel, Jack Davis, Conor Higgins, Calum Tiernan, Luke Higgins, Conor O’Neill, Ben Carroll, Graham Fallon

Avenue United: Tom O’Brien, Conor Hehir, Cullen McCabe, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey, Eoghan Thynne, Mark Roche, Nneji Nnabuike, Ronan Kerin, Tomas Hehir, Eliaz Kunz
Subs: Calum Barrett for Kunz, Kaylan O’Loughlin for Hehir, Jamie Roche for Mullen, Cian McDonough for Thynne, Gary Roche for Kerin

Newmarket Celtic progressed through to the Last 32 of the FAI Junior Cup as four second half goals proved decisive, writes Ivan Smyth.

Paddy Purcell’s side ensured their name would be in the hat for the draw today as they raided away soil in a second half where the winners showed their class ultimately running out 4-1 winners.

In a first half of few chances, Newmarket Celtic were holding their own away from home. The Maloney Premier Division leaders began to control possession as the opening 45 minutes progressed but they faced a robust Shelburne United side who were determined to spring an upset at home.

With both outfits struggling to carve out chances in the first period, the sides were deadlocked at the break. However, the first goal of the game arrived in the opening stages of the final period.

Some excellent link up play between Eoin Hayes and midfielder Davy McCarthy resulted in the former firing home to give Newmarket Celtic the lead they craved. The Irish amateur international’s strike appeared to set Paddy Purcell’s men on their way.

However, a lapse in concentration at the back allowed the Wexford side to draw level less than 10 minutes later as Newmarket’s hard work had been undone.

Credit to the Maloney Hardware league leaders for how they refocused as they continued to play the game in the right areas of the pitch. McCarthy went from provided to scorer as his excellent left footed strike rattled the net to give Newmarket Celtic the lead once more.

This time they refused to allow the home side a way back in to the contest. As Shelburne tired, Newmarket were able to pick holes in their defence.

The Clare side’s third goal came when a cross from Ronan McCormack found McCarthy with the experienced midfielder volleying home his side’s third goal.

Newmarket Celtic finished the game in style, grabbing a fourth late on to continue their rich vein of form. Paddy Purcell’s side will know that they must refocus quickly with a huge home tie against reigning league and Clare Cup champions Avenue United this Sunday.

Newmarket Celtic: Shane Cusack, David O’Grady, Harvey Cullinane, James Fahy, Aaron Rudd, Dean Hegarty, Eoin Hayes, Davy McCarthy, Jack Kelly, Darren Cullinan, Darragh Leahy Subs: Cathal Hayes for Cullinan, Ronan McCormack for Leahy,

About Derek Dormer and Ivan Smyth

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