Thirty eight years after they last met in the final of the Clare junior cup, then known as the Haughey cup, near neighbours and arch rivals Newmarket Celtic and Bridge United will battle it out for the 2015 Clare junior cup title at the end of the month.
Bridge were 3-0 winners over Shannon Olympic on Friday evening while, twenty four hours later, holders Newmarket Celtic booked their passage to the decider with a 5-2 win over Burren United.
Both games were played at the county grounds in Doora which will also host the final.
Midway through the first half of Friday’s game, Bridge United took the lead when Darren Murphy headed home from a Chris Lake corner. This score separated the sides at half time and the score was still the same as the game entered the ninetieth and final minute
Then, in the space of two minutes, Bridge added goals from substitutes Derek Fahy and Kevin Kelly to seal a merited win but the final scoreline was a little flattering in their favour.
Newmarket, who need just one point from their remaining three league games to seal the premier league title, went into Saturday’s semi-final as favourites to take a step closer a record fourth successive cup title.
Dave McCarthy played a key role in their merited win, scoring a second half hat trick after been taken down for a penalty in the thirty sixth minute which led to the opening score of the game when Eoin Hayes scored. This goal separated the sides at the interval.
Eight minutes into the second half McCarthy doubled his side’s lead when he shot low into the corner and five minutes later he struck again to make it 3-0.
Within a minute Burren pulled one back when Evan Talty turned quickly on the edge of the area and fired low into the corner. Burren were right back in the contest at the mid point of the half when Maccon Byrne volleyed to the net following an Evan Talty corner.
The experienced Newmarket side didn’t panic and twelve minutes later they went two clear again as McCarthy completed his hat trick. As the game went into injury time the holders sealed victory when substitute Daithi O’Connell hit the target.
By Seamus Hayes