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Avenue Utd's Ronan Kerin and Newmarket Celtic's Paddy Purcell in an aerial battle. The sides meet twice in the next five days in games that will decide the fate of their seasons.

Purcell’s hunger for success undimmed as Celtic chase big 10

Champion Chatter Podcast

Paddy Purcell has been there and seen it all. The experienced Newmarket Celtic centre half maintains the same level of hunger that he showed during his 10 year spell with Limerick FC and his subsequent time with the kingpins of Clare soccer.

With Newmarket Celtic trying to claim 10 Banner Carpets and Flooring Clare Cups in a row, Purcell insists this side’s drive to succeed is as strong as ever.

“We are as hungry and motivated as ever. This is why you play football. We are in the Cup final and are involved in the business end of the League too so we want to win our next two games.”

The Newmarket captain claims that completing the 10 in a row does not provide additional motivation for him or the team.

“I don’t think the whole 10 in a row is extra motivation. I don’t think the number matters really. Personally, it’s not on my mind. Our sole focus is this final. There are a lot of young fellas who haven’t won a Clare Cup so we want them to experience it. I know it’s an old cliché but you can only play what’s in front of you.”

After slipping to a 3-2 defeat to Shannon Town in the league, Purcell believes his side can take lessons forward in to the game with Avenue while he insists that avenging that loss this weekend is not something the group have discussed.

“With the weekend’s game nobody wants to lose any match. I think it adds focus for us because we have things to work on and we want to bounce back. To be honest if you are not motivated for a game like this then there is something wrong.”

The Oscar Traynor Cup winning captain knows that the next week is huge for both Newmarket Celtic and Avenue United. When the story of both clubs’ seasons are penned, the final chapter will ultimately reveal who had a successful 2021/22 campaign and who fell short of their goals.

“With the way the fixtures have worked out, it has come down to the last week. The goal was to be in the business end of both competitions and we are here now to try win two games. We are definitely underdogs going in to the last seven to eight days. It’s nice to still be competing.”

In 2013, Purcell brought an end to his 13-year League of Ireland football career. He first joined Limerick FC in September 2001. The defender was at the club for three seasons, winning the League Cup in 2002 as they overcame Derry City on penalties in the final.

In 2004, Purcell moved to Waterford United where he spent two seasons, before returning to Limerick in 2006, where he stayed until September 2013. Purcell captained Limerick FC as they won the First Division the season previous.

The 42-year-old admits that when he decided to join up with Newmarket Celtic after leaving Limerick FC, he only envisaged playing for one or two more seasons.

“I definitely didn’t think that I’d still be playing now. I probably won’t be playing too much longer. We have kept the motivation high in the group. I went back for a season or two after Limerick but with the way it developed it was easy to stay motivated. Everyone is pulling in the same direction so we will see where it goes from here.”

The Newmarket captain knows that his side have spent the best part of a decade conquering all would-be challengers and potential foes.

It is a strange situation to be in as Purcell’s desire to see the game grow in Clare is evident during the course of our conversation. In order for a sport to develop within an area, new teams need to emerge and conquer the champions.

It is a paradox in that the centre back wants his side to complete a fourth successive domestic double and consign Avenue to a trophyless season once more.

However, he believes that Avenue’s exploits in provincial and national competitions has helped the Clare league as he hopes to see the talent pool continue to grow within the county.

“The way Avenue have performed has been brilliant all season. This is the first time we are entering as underdogs so we will keep that mindset. They have developed the last few years as a team and as a club. Between them and us, it’s all down to the last few days now.”

“Credit to them they have done well in the FAI and Munster Junior Cups. It is good for Clare soccer to have a strong Avenue side.

“Although we want to keep winning, we also want to see as many teams developing as possible. It sets the league up to be better which helps us keep our players playing. It’s really important for Clare soccer to keep developing for the future.”

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