Keith McInerney, is in his first season as manager of Newmarket Celtic A and when he leads his team to the county grounds on Sunday, it will be his first time being involved on cup final day.
Having served as manager with Connolly Celtic for the past few years he moved to Newmarket Celtic this season. “I was involved under manager Liam Murphy with the Oscar Traynor team last year and this led to me getting the Newmarket manager’s role this season”, explained McInerney who part of the Rock Rovers set up some years ago when they got to the cup semi-final
“Expectations are always high in Newmarket. They are one of the big powers of the game in Clare and having silverware on the mantlepiece at the end of each season is always a priority. Its not a good season if the club doesn’t win a title”, the manager agreed.
Newmarket are still in the running for the league and cup double, a feat they achieved just two seasons ago. “We have a very tough run in with six league games still to play in addition to Sunday’s cup decider. Its difficult, trying to avoid injuries and rotate the team with this in mind”, he said before pointing out that experienced central defender Mark Donlon is a major doubt for Saturday’s final having suffered a broken nose in last week’s mid week league tie.
A final decision on Donlon’s fitness for this weekend won’t be made until near match time but “we will be giving him every opportunity to be ready to play. He missed out last year’s final due to injury but came on for the final couple of minutes”.
Earlier this year, Newmarket reached the Munster semi-final but went out to Clonmel. “Our progress in that competition is the reason we are behind in the Clare league programme”, according to Keith who knows that victory for his charges over Ennis Town this Saturday will make club history.
They have won the last two cup titles but the club, despite having won every honour in the game, has never won three cup titles in succession. “Avenue are the only ones to have done that and, naturally, we would love to have that achievement in our roll of honour.
The Newmarket boss agrees that “it has all the ingredients for a great final. It’s the first season in quite a while that it’s an all premier final. Ennis Town are currently on top of the premier division and we are chasing them for that title. It makes for a great final”.
McInerney stressed that to be successful “clubs must keep bringing players through the underage ranks. Our under 17’s won the league on Friday last and a couple of these lads are playing regularly with us. Look at Dylan Casey and what he has achieved. He was playing junior football with Avenue at 16 and just last week he signed a professional contract in England. It’s important for clubs to be bringing young players through and hopefully they will keep doing that”
McInerney who is joined in the backroom team by Colm Hassett and Davy Ryan, says he is “delighted with the set up at Newmarket. The facilities are good and we have a good squad of players who give freely of their time.
Being manager of a successful club ‘does put pressure on’, McInerney admitted. “We have a great opportunity. The cup is one of the main competitions and to win it for the third year in a row would be a massive achievement. It’s a big carrot”, he said agreeing that he will be a happy man if Michael. Crosby is called on to accept the cup at the end of play. Seamus Hayes
Concluding, the Newmarket boss expressed the hope that “every soccer supporter in Clare will come to what has the ingredients for one of the best finals for some time”.