NEWMARKET Celtic travel to Waterford on Sunday in search of a place in the Munster Junior Cup final.
Carrick United from Carrick-on-Suir provide the opposition for the Clare side, who are still very much in contention for the domestic double. They are well ahead in the race for the league title and it will be a major shock if they fail to capture it, while they are through to the quarter-finals of the Clare Junior Cup.
Twelve months ago, the Clare side got to the Munster semi-final, where they suffered a comprehensive 4-0 defeat from Geraldines from Limerick. Many of the players who made up that team will be in the squad on Sunday, including Seamie Lawlor, Eoin O’Brien, Darren Cullinan, Stephen and Alan Kely, Ronan McCormack, Eoin Hayes and Alan Brigdale.
They make up an experienced squad and the arrival of Clare Oscar Traynor captain, Pat Purcell has strengthened the squad this year, while another newcomer to the panel this season is goalkeeper, Niall Quinn.
Newmarket previously contested the Munster final in 1985, when they suffered a 2-1 defeat against Star Rovers. The Clare side went in front in that tie through Bernard Collins but Star quickly equalised, before hitting the winner late in the second half.
Manager Liam Murphy has enjoyed huge success with Newmarket Celtic in recent times. Having led them to the Clare double a couple of seasons ago, he stepped down to concentrate on managing Clare’s Oscar Traynor side for the past two seasons, before returning to take charge of his club side this year.
To date they have been in sparkling form in domestic competition, while on their way to the provincial semi-final, they have beaten Avenue United, Shannon Olympic, Bridge United and Lifford in Clare, before overcoming Clonmel Celtic and Dungarvan United in Munster.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 2pm in Ozier Park in Waterford.
By Seamus Hayes, sports editor