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It was a great weekend for Clare soccer as two of the league’s premier sides advanced to round 4 of the FAI Junior cup when recording impressive away victories.

Avenue United made the long journey to Wexford where they knocked out a fancied Courtown Hibs side by the odd goal in three while fellow Ennis club, Ennis Town went to Limerick and overcame the challenge of another fancied side in Star Rovers. Both clubs are also still in the race for Munster Junior Cup honours.

Hehir lands the winner for Avenue

Courtown Hibs 1
Avenue United 2

Avenue United’s impressive early season form continued at Wexford on Sunday when they proved too strong for Courtown Hibs.

After a scoreless first half, the game was just five minutes into the second period when Dylan Casey gave the visitors the lead.

Midway through the second half the home side tied up the game when they got in for their goal.
Substitute Tomás Hehir scored what proved to be the winner for the Clare outfit with nine minutes remaining.

Speaking this week after their win, Avenue manager David Russell told The Clare Echo, “the minute we got the draw I contacted the manager of Evergreen, a top side in Kilkenny who had lost out to Courtown. He was able to give me a lot of information on the which was most helpful and we adopted that information. They were very physical with a partisan home crowd. There was no quarter asked or given and at the end of the day we deserved our win”.

Clarecastle man Russell acknowledged that Avenue “are on a very good run at the moment” and admitted “we got a good draw in the Munster junior cup which gives us home advantage. We understand that we won’t have a competitive game until after Christmas so we have momentum for a good training spell over the Christmas period”.

Avenue United is the only Clare club to have reached the final of the FAI Junior Cup, a feat they achieved in 1990. “We are reminded regularly about this by Gearoid Mannion and Jimmo Purtill and we are trying to emulate what they achieved. The draw for our game in the last 32 of that competition will take place later this week. We will work hard over the coming weeks in training as we seek to advance in both the FAI and Munster Junior competitions. After twelve weeks on the go we had looked for and got a free weekend next week. The league is taking a break after December 5 so our next competitive outing will be a Premier league fixture in early January,” the Avenue boss explained.

For last week’s game the Avenue party departed Ennis at 9am and after stopping for a break, they arrived at the Courtown pitch at 1p.m.. They were back in Ennis at 10.30p.m,. “It was a long day but the craic was great on the return journey, helped by the result. We had eighteen players togged yesterday”, explained the manager who added that they will be without Ronan Kerin for the remainder of the season as he has gone to the Lebanon for six months. His replacement Eliaz Kunz has been excellent as have a number of other new signings”.

Avenue United; James Tierney; Cullen McCabe, Conor Hehir, Conor Mullen, Dylan Casey; Cian McDonagh, Stephen Jordan, Cian O’Dea, Eliaz Kunz, Alan Roche, Mark Roche;

Subs: Eoghan Thynne for McDonagh; Tomas Hehir for Jordan

Clohessy’s brace sees Ennis Town march on

Star Rovers 3
Ennis Town 4

This game played in Limerick was  very entertaining with plenty of goal mouth action.

Ennis Town got off to a great start and went in front in the fourth minute when Tom Collins rose highest to head a corner from the right to the Star net.

The home team worked hard to get back into game and won four corners in quick succession but good defending by Town’s well organised defence kept them out.

Town increased their lead in the 38th minute when Conor Meaney running onto a pass from midfield, shot low past Diarmuid Whelan to the net. Tony Downey’s side took a 2-0 lead to the interval.

At the start of second half Star pressed hard to get back into the game, and scored in the 50th minute when Jason Daly’s well struck free kick hit the net from 25 yards.

They were level in the 57th minute when Brian Thompson got on the end of a cross from the right to score.

Minutes later Town were back in front, when Lee Clohessy made a run into the Star area on the left and shot low past Whelan.

Star hit back quickly, winning a free 25 yards out and again Jason Daly hit the net to tie the game at 3-3.

However Town were not done and the lively Lee Clohessy out paced the Star defence to score his second and ensure the Ennis side’s place in the last 32 of the Centenary Junior Cup.

Ennis Town; Andrew Skerritt; Ultan Shields, Stephen Horgan, Johnston Mununkum, Sean Perrill; Peter O’Brien, Thomas Collins, Jashar Aliu, Conor Meaney, Lee Clohessy, Donal O’Halloran;
Subs; Davy Keenan for Shields; Seun Olanrenaju for O’Brien; Robbie Gormley for O’Halloran.

Munster Junior Cup

The draw for the next round of the Munster junior cup took place on Monday morning. Avenue United will have home advantage against Youghal but both Shannon Town A and Ennis Town will have to travel to play Cork opponents.

Shannon will take on Carrigaline B while Ennis Town will be away to Avondale The game are expected to take place in January.

Other pairings of interest include Fairview Rangers v Ballynanty Rovers; Pike Rovers v Regional United A, Prospect v Coachford and Carrick Unirted v Ashling Annacotty.

Premier Division

Shannon Town A and Newmarket Celtic A kept up their challenge for Premier Division honours with wins over Bridge United A and Sporting Ennistymon respectively on Sunday.

They clash in the competition this Sunday when Newmarket Celtic will enjoy home advantage. The recent transfer of Ian Collins from Celtic to Shannon adds extra intrigue to an anticipated clash.

Monaghan hits the winner for Shannon Town

Bridge United A 1
Shannon Town A 2
Venue: Sixmilebridge

Shannon Town took the lead in this premier league game played in Sixmilebridge five minutes before half time when Brian O’Connor found the target.

Ten minutes from time the home side’s pressure paid off and they were awarded a penalty but Darren Whelan saved from Kieran Quinlan.

As the winners attempted to clear their lines, they were penalised and the home side was awarded a free kick on the edge of the area which Quinlan converted to level the tie

Shannon Town piled on the pressure and five minutes from time Brian Monaghan scored the winner from a free kick.

Shannon Town A; Darren Whelan; Aidan Leahy, Colum Treacy, Darren Griffin, StevenCarroll; Cody Waller, Gary O’Connor, Ben O’Neill, Brian O’Connor, Brian Monaghan, Colin Scanlan

Subs: Chris Dunning for O’Neill; Rob Wall for Waller; Josh Lindsay for B. O’Connor.

Bridge United A; Paul Tuohy; Dan Larkin, Jason Loughnane, Gavin Whyte, Storm Devanney; Jonathan Downes, Leon Kelly, Alex Collins, Brian Corry, Leon Daly, Jordan Downes.
Subs; Conor Deasy for A. Collins; Michael Carr for D. Larkin; Kieran Quinlan for B. Corry; Stephen Stuart for J. Downes; Conor Maxwell for J. Loughnane.

Newmarket in control

Sporting Ennistymon 0
Newmarket Celtic A 6

Premier Division champions Newmarket Celtic, maintained their challenge to retain the title with this comfortable win over Sporting Ennistymon on Sunday.

David McCarthy and Eoin Hayes both scored twice while Aaron Rudd and Daithi O’Connell also got on the scoresheet for the winners who led 2-0 t half time.

Sporting Ennistymon: Conor Gallagher; Jamesy McConigley, Jack O’Dea, Michael Leigh, Ciaran Monahan; Chris O’Brien, Thierry Bouton, Patrick Doherty, Ciaran McMahon, Sean McConigley, Shane Kearney;

Subs: Mike O’Brien for Bouton; Matthew Crowe for C.. McMahon; Ross Doherty for Kearney.

Newmarket Celtic A: Shane Cusack; David O’Grady, Paddy Purcell, Eoin O’Brien, Conor McDaid; Cathal Hayes, Eoin Kelly, Aaron Rudd, Kevin Harnett, David McCarthy, Eoin Hayes;

Subs: Conor McCarthy for McDaid; Daithi O’Connell for P.Purcell; John Davoran for E. Hayes.

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