*Cullen McCabe takes on Éanna Culloo. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

AVENUE UTD advanced with ease to the quarter-finals of the Ennis Carpets Clare Cup.

Avenue Utd 5
Tulla Utd 0
Venue: Roslevan

Hopes of a third Clare Cup title in a row are still alive for Avenue Utd who powered past the challenge of Tulla Utd in Roslevan on Sunday morning.

Having reached the semi-finals of the Cup last season, a third round elimination is a blow for Tulla Utd. Their season can be described as stagnant at best as they have failed to climb up the table as they have produced a series of inconsistent displays.

For this last sixteen tie held on Mother’s Day, Gary Roche rose to the occasion by offering his white jacket to his mother Marie, still fresh from her recognition at a mayoral reception in the Ennis Municipal District, it’s fair to say the jacket suited Marie better than Gary.

In October when the sides clashed in the Munster Junior Cup, Avenue had a hard-fought 2-1 win over Tulla so the East Clare side knew if they performed to their best that they could match the reigning Clare Cup champions.

To do just that Tulla needed for everything to go their way but by the third minute they conceded a goal and hope quickly evaporated.

Cullen McCabe’s throw was recycled back to defence by Steven McGann to Dylan Casey and he expertly picked out Philip Talty on the left flank, he tore away from Fiachra Hale and tucked the ball beyond Simon Kilker.

Luke Woodrow had to be alert at the other end to snatch the ball from the advancing Éanna Culloo after he managed to get away from Jamie Roche. Kilker did likewise when a Stephen Jordan interception was about to put Mossy Hehir through only for the intervention of the Tulla netminder.

From almost getting an equaliser, Tulla suddenly found themselves two goals behind. Ian Macnamara nearly punished Woodrow at one end, only for Avenue to survive the danger with McGann playing the ball out wide to McCabe and he crossed the ball for Talty to tap home on nineteen minutes.

Tulla’s inability to clear their lines proved costly on the half hour mark when Avenue collected their third goal. An Avenue corner was not cleared nor was a half-attempted volley from Nnabuike Nneji, a dummy from Conor Mullen caught the Tulla defence off guard and the ball fell to Stephen Jordan who calmly dispatched to the net.

Frustration was beginning to crip in among the Tulla mentors with manager Mike Moloney receiving a yellow card for his verbals towards Avenue’s Steven McGann who himself had been cautioned moments earlier for a tackle on Sean Withycombe.

Before Michael Rock had a chance to sound the half-time whistle, Avenue had their fourth goal. Captain Ronan Kerin had the finish after Stephen Jordan’s cross was headed by Mossy Hehir and saved by Kilker but Tulla’s defence was far too lacklustre in trying to clear their lines which allowed Kerin to pounce.

Five minutes into the second half, Kerin collected his second goal after McGann combined with Gary Roche who was now on the field and not assisting supporters to take shelter from the elements, he would cause problems for the second half in their unsuccessful attempts to get a sixth goal.

A fight back from Tulla never materialised but their frustrations were evident with Liam McInerney picking up a yellow card after an exchange with Dylan Casey on the sixtieth minute.

Both mentors used the remainder of the tie to empty the bench. For Mike Moloney and Tulla it is now back to action in the Premier Division where they can only go about trying to cause an upset in their remaining ties and consolidate their status. Following Cup wins over Coole FC and Fair Green Celtic, they needed a more favourable draw to try negotiate their way back to the semi-finals but based on recent form they may have struggled regardless.

Not alone have Avenue secured their place in the last eight but it was an outing where some of their fringe players made a statement. Philip Talty who was one of two wingers surprisingly overlooked when management made the peculiar call to bring try Eoghan Thynne in a completely new position for their Munster Junior Cup exit to St Michael’s AFC, impressed on the left wing and has now scored four goals in the two games, a fine response if any to the snub from management.

Gary Roche was lively when introduced at half-time with Dylan Barry once again demonstrating that his composure on the ball is something that can benefit Avenue’s team. Conor Mullen also had a fine game in the heart of their defence.

Avenue Utd: Luke Woodrow; Cullen McCabe, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey, Jamie Roche; Nnabuike Nneji, Stephen Jordan, Steven McGann, Philip Talty; Ronan Kerin, Mossy Hehir.

Subs: Gary Roche for Hehir (HT), Mikey Dinan for Nneji (HT), Dylan Barry for McGann (53), Mohammed Annane for Kerin (61), Mark Roche for Jordan (83).

Tulla Utd: Simon Kilker; Fiachra Hale, Diarmuid Molloy, Dara Ryan, Adam McNamara; Ayoub Aguerram; Éanna Culloo, Liam McInerney, Sean Withycombe; Eoin Hassett, Ian Macnamara.

Subs: James Wallace for Withycombe (35) (inj), Neil Callaghan for Molloy (56), Jack McSweeney for Aguerram (56), Dan Withycombe for Culloo (56), Adam Kilker for McInerney (70)

Referee: Michael Rock

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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