*Ronan Kerin scored twice for Avenue Utd. Photograph: Natasha Barton

CLARE’S REPRESENTATIVES in the FAI Junior Cup have marched forward into the last 32 of the competition.

Avenue Utd and Newmarket Celtic continued their positive run of form and ensured trips to Galway and Wexford respectively would not hold them back from progressing in the national competition.

Several Clare footballers were also involved with teams outside the county lining out in the fourth round of the FAI Junior Cup.

Shannon’s Brian O’Connor gave a man of the match display for Regional United as they recorded a 3-0 against Coolraine FC in Offaly. O’Connor made a fine run on the half hour mark before crossing the ball to Eoin Duff also from Shannon who timed it to perfection to volley the ball to the back of the net. Newmarket-on-Fergus’ Rob Shier kept a clean sheet between the posts for the Limerick side, making an excellent save to deny Pa Murphy from pulling a goal back for the hosts.

Sean O’Callaghan of Ennis was part of the Athenry FC side that had a dramatic win on penalties away to Cork side Ringmahon Rangers. The tie finished 2-2 after extra time with the Galwegians winning 5-4 on penalties. It marked a memorable weekend for the O’Callaghans with Sean’s uncle Tom on Sunday evening winning out in the Fianna Fáil selection convention to be co-opted to Clare County Council following the resignation of Mark Nestor.

There was no such luck for Ennis’ Steven McGann and Pike Rovers whose backroom team includes John Earls. Last season’s beaten finalists were eliminated by Tipperary’s Peake Villa on penalties (2-4) after it finished 2-2 after extra time.

On the home front, Kilrush Rangers and Shannon Town collected important wins in the Premier Division.

Avenue too strong for Tuam

Tuam Celtic 0
Avenue Utd 4
Venue: Celtic Park, Tuam

A strong second half saw David Russell’s Avenue book their spot in the last thirty two of the FAI Junior Cup.

They went close to going in front inside the first ten minutes when a free kick from Ronan Kerin was well saved by Daragh Melia in the Tuam goal. Tuam had their first shot on goal after 12 minutes when a free kick from Ben Carroll was saved by Tom O’Brien.

Avenue went close again on 17 minutes when a great ball in from Eliaz Kunz was headed over by Conor Mullen. Good play from Eoghan Thynne in midfield put Ronan Kerin through on goal after 31 minutes. Kerin showed nice control and hit a sweet strike from the edge of the box to the back of the Tuam net to put Avenue in front. It remained 1-0 to Avenue at half time.

Avenue started the second half well and a well delivered cross from Mark Roche found Tomas Hehir in space. Hehir’s first time shot was saved but he made no mistake from the rebound to give Avenue a 2-0 lead after 49 minutes.

It was 3-0 to Avenue on 72 minutes when Calum Barrett played a great ball through to Kerin who finished well to score his second of the match.

A good passing move from Avenue on 83 minutes saw Conor Hehir and Barrett link up well. Barrett crossed for Gary Roche who fired an unstoppable shot to the top left corner to finish off the scoring as Avenue secured their place in the fifth round draw.

Avenue Utd: Tom O’Brien, Conor Hehir, Cullen McCabe, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey, Eoghan Thynne, Mark Roche, Nneji Nnabuike, Ronan Kerin, Tomas Hehir, Eliaz Kunz

Subs: Calum Barrett for Kunz, Kaylan O’Loughlin for Hehir, Jamie Roche for Mullen, Cian McDonough for Thynne, Gary Roche for Kerin

Tuam Celtic: Daragh Melia, Darragh Cunningham, Gerard Cunniffe, Pearse Farrel, Jack Davis, Conor Higgins, Calum Tiernan, Luke Higgins, Conor O’Neill, Ben Carroll, Graham Fallon

Referee: Marc Lynch

McCarthy double pushes Newmarket through

Shelburne Utd 1
Newmarket Celtic 4
Venue: Templeudigan, Ballywilliam.

Newmarket Celtic maintained their impressive winning streak by returning from Wexford with a 4-1 win in the bag.

Level at half-time with little chances to properly test either goalkeeper, Newmarket Celtic took the lead on the restart when Eoin Hayes finished from the edge of the box after putting together a well-worked passing sequence with David McCarthy.

Celtic were caught napping soon after to fall back to level terms but they responded through McCarthy to regain the lead.

Substitute Ronan McCormack with a well-executed cross find McCarthy who landed an excellent volley to make it 3-1 before teenager Tadhg Noonan sealed the deal to score the fourth goal for Paddy Purcell’s side.

Newmarket Celtic: Shane Cusack; James Fahy, Harvey Cullinan, David O’Grady, Jack Kelly, David McCarthy, Aaron Rudd, Darren Cullinan, Dean Hegarty, Eoin Hayes, Darragh Leahy.

Subs: Ronan McCormack for Leahy, Tadhg Noonan for McCarthy, Eoin Kelly for D Cullinan, Davy Lennon for Fahy.

Shannon Town get back to winning ways

Lifford 1
Shannon Town Utd 2
Venue: Tom Steele Park, Ennis

Lifford fell to their second defeat of the league when falling down to Shannon Town on Sunday morning.

The loss could yet prove costly to the Ennis side who currently hold second place in the Premier Division on sixteen points but third placed Avenue have two games in hand and are only a point adrift while Bridge Utd sit in fourth position and can draw level with Lifford if they win their extra game.

Having suffered a surprise defeat last week, Shannon Town bounced back and collected a valuable three points.

Goals from Brian Monaghan and Jack Ryan helped Steo Dolan’s side to the win and move them to sixth spot. Should they win their two games in hand, they could leapfrog Bridge Utd to fourth place in the league so the importance of every clash must now be realised by the Shannon side.

Shannon Town: Eoghan Casey; Aaron Kelly, Fionn McInerney, Craig Riordan, Brian Monaghan; Charlie Morrison, Liam Boland, TJ O’Dwyer, Kieran Hackett, Cody Waller; Jack Ryan.

Subs: Kai Khetan, Shane Russell, Steve Carroll, Natty Nyakujara

Two in a row for Kilrush

Tulla Utd 1
Kilrush Rangers 2
Venue: The Cragg

Kilrush Rangers made it two wins on the bounce when travelling to East Clare and earning the full three points on offer.

Hopes had been high within the Tulla ranks of claiming back to back wins following their victory against neighbours Mountshannon Celtic but this failed to materialise.

Although the home side took the lead on eight minutes, the West Clare outfit kept their composure and by the interval were on level terms, courtesy of an own goal.

The experienced Trevor Clancy proved to be the hero for Kilrush, scoring the winning goal on seventy five minutes.

This result means Michael Clair’s charges now have six points on the board following successive wins. Although they are level on points with Tulla Utd, the fact that they have two games in hand needs to be grasped if they are to remain out of the relegation zone.

Kilrush Rangers: Eamonn O’Dea, Tomasz Zajas, Kirill Antonov, Alan Behan, Luke Talty, Ciaran O’Donoghue, Dean Neary, Norbert Knucki, Danny Clancy, Trevor Clancy, Godwin Chiokoye.

Subs: Thomas Clair for D Clancy, Jack Clear for T Zajas, Patryk Potemski.

Maloney Garden Machinery Premier Division:
Lifford 1-2 Shannon Town
Tulla Utd 1-2 Kilrush Rangers

FAI Junior Cup Fourth Round:
Tuam Celtic 0-4 Avenue Utd
Shelburne Utd 1-4 Newmarket Celtic

Banner Fire First Division:
Bridge Utd B 0-6 Shannon Hibs

Brian Pyne Tiles Second Division:
Fern Celtic A 6-1 Shannon Hibs B
Inch Crusaders 6-1 Hermitage
Ennis Dons 4-2 Kildysart Celtic

Brownie’s Barbershop Third Division:
Coole FC 4-7 Shannon Town C

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