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David Russell congratulates Steve Jordan following their Premier League clinching game with Newmarket Celtic at Roslevan. Photograph by John Kelly

Russell – Avenue’s belief was rewarded

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Avenue United manager David Russell has lauded his charges for securing the club’s first League and Clare Cup double since 2010.

The Clarecastle native credited his side’s commitment and appetite to improve for helping them end Newmarket Celtic’s stranglehold on both competitions.

“It’s great. It’s our first double in about 10 years. To do it against Newmarket who’ve dominated Clare soccer for so long makes it better. It’s a great achievement by a great bunch of players there. They put their shoulder to the wheel for the whole season and they got what they deserved.”

In what was a demanding campaign for Avenue with runs to the Last 16 of the FAI and Munster Junior Cups, a final appearance in the League Cup and victories in the Banner Carpets and
Flooring Clare Cup and Moloney Hardware Premier Division, Russell insists himself nor the players ever felt that any part of the season was a slog.

“The lads never baulked at training. There was no point where we thought it was a slog. It was enjoyable because we were competing in the FAI and Munster Junior Cups and then going for the Cup and League.”

“The objective was to be in both big competition after Christmas so once we were then we had plenty to play for.”

Russell admits it would have been difficult to go again had the players lost out on both fronts.

“It was on the back of my mind the whole time that it would be hard to remotivate myself and the lads. I was confident that we had a great bunch of lads and I felt we could do it this year. We had gained the experience in the last few seasons so I felt we could win both.”

Russell, who captained Avenue to the double in 2010, states that when Newmarket led 1-0 at half time, there was no panic within the Avenue dressing room. Instead they refocused on the task at hand with Dylan Casey’s strike sending Roslevan into raptures.

“We had the same message that we’ve had all season. That was to show our composure, calmness and belief in our conditioning and fitness. Against Bridge United we scored in the 95th minute of that game so we knew that if we stayed composed and kept our discipline that we could get the breakthrough. Then Dylan stepped up to seal it for us.”

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