Newmarket Celtic A 2 Bridge United A 1
Two goals in a minute midway through the second half helped Newmarket to an historic sixth Clare junior cup title in a row when they overcame Bridge United at sun splashed Frank Healy park in Doora this Sunday afternoon.
After a scoreless first half, the defending champions found themselves in arrears five minutes after the break when Terry Lenihan got the vital touch and his looping header beat Rob Shire in the Newmarket goal. They had a chance to double their advantage seven minutes later but Derek Fahy’s effort flew wide of the target.
While there was a touch of luck about Newmarket’s equaliser when Bridge defender Darren Murphy saw his attempted headed clearance end up in the net over the advancing Paul Tuohy, credit must go to Newmarket substitute Cathal Hayes who pressurised their defence
The cheering had barely died down when the holders hit the front. They won a free in midfield and centre half Stephen Kelly came forward and rose highest to powerfully head David McCarthy’s free to the roof of the Bridge net.
In a repeat of the final of 2015, Bridge United made the better start and created the early chances but efforts from Derek Fahy and Kieran Quinlan flew narrowily wide before a Darren Cullnan corner for the winners caused some anxious moments for the Bridge United defence,
Ronan McCormack, Eoin Hayes and Stephen Kelly had efforts go narrowily wide before Bridge United, in the fortieth minute, almost hit the front. Derek Fahy won possession just inside his own half from a kick out by Rob Shire. Seeing that Shire was off his goal line, Fahy let fly and the back peddling Newmarket custodian was relieved to see Fahy’s effort land on top of the net.
Overall the first half wasn’t particularly exciting but the standard of play did pick up in the second half. Newmarket returned with Ian Collins in their line up in place of Ronan McCormack and as things heated up referee Trevor White produced yellow cards for Darragh Fitzgerald (Bridge United) and Dave McCarthy (Newmarket).
Five minutes into the half the Bridge followers were cheering loudly as Terry Lenihan got the vital touch for the game’s opening goal. It’s a sign of Newmarket’s experience that there was no sign of panic in their ranks and, if anything, it was their opponents who appeared a little nervous in the subsequent exchanges
The introduction of Cathal Hayes, fifteen minutes into this half, helped Newmarket cause problems for their opponents and this led to the equaliser which came in the twenty first minute when Darren Murphy’s attempted clearance ended up in his own net. Newmarket drove forward from the kick off and won a free in midfield. Irish international Stephen Kelly went forward and he powerfully headed Dave McCarthy’s free to the net for the lead goal which proved to be the winning score.
Adding to the excitement for the winners was the announcement of Eoin O’Brien as the man of the match.
The fact that there was a winner saved a number of the players involved in both sides from having to make a choice next week. The replay was set for Saturday evening and, also on that evening, Sixmilebridge (Derek Fahy, Alan Mulready, Conor Deasy), and Newmarket (Colin Ryan, Eoin O’Brien, Eoin and Cathal Hayes Ronan McCormack and Stephen Kelly) are scheduled to play first round games in the senior hurling championship.
Newmarket Celtic; Rob Shire; Colin Ryan, Darren Cullinan, Stephen Kelly, Paddy Purcell; Tino Nzvaura, Eoin O’Brien, David McCarthy, Eoin Hayes (captain), Ronan McCormack, Brian Monaghan;
Subs; Ian Collins for McCormack; Cathal Hayes for Monaghan; Daithi O’Connell for McCarthy.
Bridge United; Paul Tuohy; Terry Lenihan, Christy Griffin; Darren Murphy, Alan Mulready; Conor Deasy, Eoghan Pewter, Darragh Fitzgerald (captain) Jon Okoro, Derek Fahy, Kieran Quinlan;
Subs; Mike McNamara for Quinlan; Lee Wall for Okoro
Referee; Trevor White; Linesmen Shane Hayes, Michael Rock; Fourth official, Mark Ellis
By Seamus Hayes