By Seamus Hayes
The Clare soccer cup final on May 31 will be between Newmarket Celtic A and Ennis Town A.
Newmarket justified favouritism when scoring a 4-2 win over surprise packets West Clare at the County grounds on Sunday morning. They dominated the opening half and led 4-0 at the break thanks to goals from Stephen Kelly, Eoin O’Brien, Eoin Hayes and Paudie Hayes.
Two minutes into the second half they should have extended their lead when they were awarded a penalty but team captain Michael Crosby saw his effort rebound off the crossbar.
West Clare were given a lifeline midway through the half when Jason Russell converted a penalty after he was fouled and twelve minutes from time he found the net again, this time from a free.
However, that was as close as they got as the more experienced Newmarket held control for the remaining time to record a merited victory.
On Saturday evening Ennis Town A knocked the title holders Avenue A out of the race. Avenue will wonder how they lost this one as they created the greater number of chances over the ninety minutes.
Avenue hit the front after just five minutes when David Russell scored from the penalty spot after David McCarthy was fouled in the area by Shane Daniels. This goal separated the sides at the interval but, in truth, Avenue would not have been flattered by a three or four goal lead at this stage of the game
Ennis Town stepped up a gear for the second half and they got backon terms with fifteen minutes remaining when the experienced Stephen Hickey scored following good work by substitute Ray Opinijio.
With the game in injury time and extra time beckoning, Ennis Town struck. A cross from Opinijio saw Hickey dive low to head goalwards. His effort deflected off Avenue defender Paddy O’Malley and flew past John Healy in goal for what proved to be the winning score.
The game was marred by an ugly after match incident as the teams headed for the dressing rooms.