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*Mark Roche scored two goals for Avenue Utd in their important win over Newmarket Celtic. Photograph: Oliver Fitzpatrick

Avenue Utd recorded an important win over rivals Newmarket Celtic to maintain top spot in the Maloney Garden Machinery Premier Division with Shannon Town proving too strong for Ennis Town.

Avenue make a statement

Newmarket Celtic 2
Avenue Utd 4
Venue: McDonogh Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus

League leaders Avenue Utd kept their place at the top of the table with a deserved and noteworthy victory away to reigning champions Newmarket Celtic.

A two goal final margin is somewhat kind to Newmarket as it was Avenue that appeared the far stronger collective outfit. Their new signings Cian O’Dea and Elias Kunz were influential in the win while the same cannot be said for the fresh additions to the Celtic lineup.

David Russell’s Avenue built up a three goal advantage inside the opening thirty minutes leaving the hosts shellshocked.

Winger Mark Roche converted from the penalty spot with the opener on fourteen minutes after Ronan Kerin was fouled by Darren Cullinan.

Dylan Casey started the move for Roche’s second goal on twenty seven minutes but it was the refusal of Kunz to give up on possession which made the goal for the clinical number seven. Roche turned provider for their third goal when his cross was headed to the net by Ronan Kerin.

David McCarthy got Newmarket off the mark on thirty three minutes when he dispatched a penalty past James Tierney, the spot-kick awarded following a challenge by Dylan Casey on Gearoid O’Brien.

Proceedings were missing a bite for the majority of the second half with Celtic needing to strike early if they were to work a comeback. This didn’t materialise and instead McCarthy added a second but with seventy six minutes on the clock.

An Avenue counter-attack predominantly involving Mossy Hehir and Stephen Jordan ended up with Eoin Hayes putting the ball in his own net to make it 4-2 in the closing moments.

While silverware will not be handed for months to come, Avenue have certainly started their bid for honours with aplomb. The challenge for them is to maintain this fight. Cian O’Dea was very dominant in the air for the winners while Mark Roche, Dylan Casey, Cullen McCabe, Elias Kunz, Alan Roche and Conor Mullen were best.

For Mark O’Malley’s Newmarket, the defeat comes as a timely wake-up call. They had to substitute both of their full-backs and will need to be much stronger defensively if they’re to compete with the best in Clare let alone in the FAI and Munster Junior competitions.

Newmarket Celtic: Shane Cusack; David O’Grady, Paddy Purcell, Eoin O’Brien, Darren Cullinan; Alan Kelly; Jamie Egan, Conor McDaid, Eoin Hayes; David McCarthy, Gearoid O’Brien.

Subs: Pa McDaid for O’Grady (HT), Garry Higgins for Egan (52), Eoin Kelly for Cullinan (75)

Avenue Utd: James Tierney; Cullen McCabe, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey, Conor Hehir; Alan Roche; Mossy Hehir, Cian O’Dea, Mark Roche; Ronan Kerin, Elias Kunz.

Subs: Stephen Jordan for M Roche (72), Jamie Roche for Kunz (85), Shane Brown for M Hehir (89), Simon Cuddy for Kerin (91).

Referee: Mark Reilis

Shannon town in control

Shannon Town 5
Ennis Town 0
Venue: Lynch Park, Shannon

Kieran Hackett scored twice with Gary O’Connell, Rob Wall and Ben O’Neill with one each as Shannon Town kept up their strong challenge for Premier League honours with victory over Ennis Town on Sunday.

Ennis Town missed a number of chances in the opening half and would not have been flattered had they led at the interval. The more experienced Shannon Town grew in confidence in the second half

Shannon Town: Darren Whelan, Aidan Leahy, Darren Griffin, Colum Treacy, Brian Monaghan, Jack Kelly, Rob Wall, Gary O Connell, Brian O’Connor, Kieran Hackett, Ben O’Neill

Subs: Cody Waller for Leahy; Nathanael Nyakujara for Wall, Charlie Morrison for O’Connor, Steve Carroll for Griffin, Shane Russell for Whelan

Ennis Town: Andrew Skerritt; Thomas Collins, Steven Horgan, Chibby Okoye, Sean Perrill; Eoin Keenan, Yashar Aliu, Dean Hegarty, Lee Clohessy, Davy Keenan, Joe Campbell

Subs: Robbie Gormley for Campbell; Kevin Barron for D. Keenan; Lafe Ifebajo for Perrill

Sporting Ennistymon on top

Shannon Hibs 2
Sporting Ennistymon 5
Venue: Riverside Park, Shannon

Sporting Ennistymon proved too strong for Shannon Hibs in this Premier League tie.

They took the lead through Sean McConigley who converted from the penalty spot after he had been fouled and Ciaran McMahon doubled their advantage before the interval when they led 2-1.

McConigley and McMahon both scored again in the second half before Cian Shannon sealed their victory.

Shannon Hibs finished with ten men after Darragh Leahy was sent off. Their goalscorers were Billy Connors and Darragh McDade

Shannon Hibs: Piotr Kaluzza; Bobby O’Connell, Thomas McDade, Pa Devanney, Ciaran McKee, Darragh Leahy, Mikey Wall, Liam Delaney, Darragh McDade, Adam Ryan, Billy Connors;

Subs: Jack Nolan for Delaney; Lee Wall for M. Wall; Darren O’Loughlin for Devanney; Conor O’Callaghan for A. Ryan

Sporting Ennistymon: Joe Gallagher; Tiernan Hogan, Michael Leigh, Jamesy McConigley, Shane Kearney; Eoin Marrinan, Chris O’Keeffe, Thierry Buton, Ciaran McMahon, Darren McNamara, Sean McConigley;

Subs: Cathal McConigley for Buton; Matthew Crowe for McMahon; Michael Gilna for Kearney; Cian Shannon for McNamara;

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