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Avenue’s Steven McGann who put in a player of the match performance during their 5-2 Munster Junior Cup win over Togher Celtic

McGann fires Avenue into final four of Munster Cup

Avenue United 5 – Togher Celtic 2
A twenty year wait to reach the semi-final of the Munster Junior Cup has been ended by a scintillating away day performance from the Ennis based club. David Russell’s charges were simply put- a class above their West Cork opponents and inspired by a player of the match performance from Steven McGann they ran out convincing winners. Starting on the front foot with a massive determination it only took the current premier league leaders seven minutes to draw first blood with midfielder McGann creating the opening for centre forward Ronan Kerin with a delightful delivery to the back post. The number 10 rose highest and powered a header past the helpless Ciaran Murray in the Togher goal.
Buoyed by this positive start Avenue kept up the pressure and an Elias Kunz effort from outside the box went narrowly wide moments later. McGann was instrumental throughout, pulling the strings in the centre and another beautifully weighted delivery released Tomas Hehir in the 25th minute but his powerful strike was superbly saved by Murray.
Some tidy one touch football between Nnabuike Nneji and Kerin then provided the men in yellow with yet another opportunity but once more they were denied by the impressive Murray.
At the interval it was still only that precarious one nil lead for Russell’s troops but rather than sit back and defend this advantage they continued to apply pressure and were rewarded when winger Mark Roche was bundled to the floor just after the hour mark. Up stepped player of the match McGann to coolly fire low into the bottom corner, extending the visitors lead.
Almost immediately the tie was clinically ended as a contest when Nnabuike with a deft pass found McGann free at the edge of the box. McGann showed superb control to evade the Togher defender with his first touch before his second virtually booked the Ennis club’s place in the final four.
Avenue then seemed to relax and take their foot off the pedal with Togher pulling a goal back from the penalty spot in the 67th minute when Eoin Murray slotted home. The concession of this goal though ignited Avenue back into life and Kunz forced Murray into another fine save. Russell’s troops kept up the pressure and were rewarded when substitute Witness Odirile released Roche who firmly booked his sides spot in the semi final when finishing well with six minutes left. Another substitute Philip Talty then scored the goal of the day when unleashing a bullet from just outside the area and despite conceding in additional time Avenue can now look forward to a mouth watering trip to Tipperary in two weeks to take on Tipperary kingpins St Michaels. This will be a huge test for the Ennis based outfit as nine time winners St.Michael’s will probably start as favourites but with McGann in such inspirational form the Clare club can make the journey with renewed optimism and hopes of Munster glory firmly in their sights.

Avenue United: Luke Woodrow, Cullen McCabe, Jamie Roche, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey, Steven McGann (Witness Odirile 82), Mark Roche (Stephen Jordan 85), Nna Nnejibuike (Michael Dinan 79), Elias Kunz, Ronan Kerin ( Eoghan Thynne 62), Tomas Hehir (Philip Talty 68)

Togher Celtic: Ciaran Murray, Jamie Lucey, Eoin Murray (Daniel McSweeney 82), Kevin Cotte, Liam Creedon (Adrian Hurley 45), Brian Hogan (Paudie Crowley 80), Luke Hurley, Robbie Lucey (David Hogan 90), Cathal Daly (Patrick Collins 89), Niall Hurley, Ian Crowley

Referee: Tim McDermott
Assistant Referees: Colin Clancy, Sean Doyle

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