Hugh Kelly Premier Division Cup Final: Newmarket Celtic A 3-0 Avenue United A
Newmarket Celtic completed a clean sweep of all top level domestic soccer titles in Clare with a comfortable win over rivals Avenue United on Tuesday night.
It means the Liam Murphy and Davy Ryan coached side can now add this title to the league and cup crowns as they put the icing on a remarkable domestic season for the club.
The victory also continued their recent dominance over their Ennis rivals, who are the team that pushed them closest in both the league and cup throughout the season. The last time they met in Frank Healy Park was in the Clare Cup semi-final, when only a second-half David Reidy goal separated the sides.
Newmarket A showed no complacency in their team selection with all the big hitters included despite having the Clare Cup final just four days previously. It showed on the pitch as they dominated the game for large spells.
It was Avenue who almost got off to the perfect start, but Mikey Mahoney saw his shot just miss the target. Newmarket were denied moments later when David Reidy’s header from close range was cleared away.
There was no stopping the opener when it arrived, as former FAI Junior International of the Year Steven Kelly powered home. It all came after a corner was headed back across goal by Eoin O’Brien, and Kelly came through the centre to give the Avenue defence no chance with the finish.
Fresh from his scoring exploits in the Clare Cup final, the current Junior International of the Year Eoin Hayes doubled his side’s lead just moments later. He produced a deft finish to loft the ball over the Avenue net-minder to put Newmarket into a commanding position at the break. Both sides would be reduced to 10 men, as Kieran Mahoney and Mark Roche saw their games finish early after being dismissed.
The second-half was largely uneventful, but Shane Cusack was called into action to deny Avenue a goal that could have brought them back into the game. The win was wrapped up late on, as Garry Higgins fired a low shot to the bottom corner of the net to put the result beyond any doubt.
The two sides will meet again on Friday evening in final game of the regular Premier Division season at McDonough Park, where the champions will be bidding for an 18th straight league win of the campaign to make it the perfect domestic season.