*Brian Corry. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

BRIDGE UTD dumped last year’s beaten finalists Lifford FC out of the Ennis Carpets Clare Cup with a convincing victory on Sunday.

Bridge Utd 4
Lifford FC 0
Venue: Frank Healy Park, Doora

A tie that was postponed already on two occasions almost had a third strike but at the eleventh hour on Sunday or to be more precise minutes before the scheduled kick off of 2pm, Tom Steele Park was deemed unplayable and the County Grounds was appointed as the match venue.

Players, mentors and the handful of supporters then made the quick dash across town to Frank Healy Park and the waiting game continued with kick-off delayed until 3pm.

In all honesty the game itself was not worth waiting for as Bridge Utd completely bettered Lifford who were a pale reflection of their usual selves.

Their cause was certainly not helped by the loss of five starters, namely Darren O’Neill, Sean Collins, Eddie Prunty, Emmauel Ikiebey and Chuks Obadeyi. The loss of Chuks in the warm-up served as a major blow in disrupting their plans.

From the get-go it was the Bridge who dominated and it was only a matter of time before they took the lead. On eight minutes Ronan Tuohy got his head to a cross from Brian Corry and then Jack O’Halloran’s effort was headed from the danger zone by centre half Eoin Monaghan.

Lee Mulready produced a brilliant shot on fifteen minutes but the stop from Kuba Ruminowicz was just as good. Moments later, Christy Griffin’s diving header from a corner by O’Halloran came within inches of breaking the deadlock.

On the half hour mark, they finally took the lead, Podge Collins may have made a mess of his first attempt off his left leg but recovered in record time to pull a shot away from his right boot to put Bridge in front.

They doubled the advantage on their next attack, Alan Mulready played a textbook pass from defence into space for Ronan Tuohy to run onto and the striker made no mistake in sticking the ball to the back of the net.

Referee Brian Punch had to knock on Lifford’s dressing room door to get them out onto the field for the second but hopes of a revival were quickly dashed. Fiachra Roche appeared to accidentally trip Brian Corry but the foul was undeniable, Punch pointed to the penalty stop and Jack O’Halloran stepped up to make it 3-0 on fifty one minutes.

Just like the first half, the Bridge then struck for another goal in their next attack. Captain Corry was found with a nice delivery and he calmly slotted the ball to the back of the net for their fourth goal on fifty two minutes.

Given that Lifford prevailed 2-0 when the sides met in the Premier Division back in November a much closer affair was expected rather than the dull spectacle which unfolded in the County Grounds.

Without question, the under-strength aspect hindered Lifford’s challenge but nonetheless it is no excuse for the lazy performance that they brought to the table. Having enjoyed a run to the Cup final last season, to be knocked out in the second round is a massive step back for Adrian Walsh’s men. Johnson Mununkum and Fiachra Roche were their only players to show any semblance of desire during this contest.

Like Lifford league success is not going to happen for Bridge this year but silverware is still on offer in the Clare Cup so the manner in which they grabbed the opportunity on offer with both hands is encouraging. Against better quality opposition they will be punished for taking so long to go ahead in a game in which they were in complete control. Jack O’Halloran, Alan Mulready and Brian Corry stood out for Mark Culbert’s side.

Bridge Utd: John Mulready; Luc Fitzpatrick, Alan Mulready, Christy Griffin, Ciaran Monaghan; Eoin Keenan; Brian Corry, Podge Collins, Lee Mulready; Jack O’Halloran; Ronan Tuohy.

Subs: Ryan Perez for L Mulready (66), Kyle Kirby for O’Halloran, Dominic Griffin for Corry (73), Aidan Maloney for Keenan (80), Darragh Hayes for Tuohy (82)

Lifford FC: Kuba Ruminowicz; Eoin Walsh, Johnson Mununkum, Eoin Monaghan, Chiby Okore; Fiachra Roche, Harry Griffin; Emmanuel Obadeyi, Josh Ryan, Pheilpe de Souza; Vincent Onouha.

Subs: Paul Martin for Griffin (HT), John Maher for Okore (54), Lase Ifebajo for Roche (65), Wayne Ryan for de Souza (79).

Referee: Brian Punch

Avenue thump Coole FC

Meanwhile in the CDSL Premier Division, Avenue Utd put ten goals past Coole FC who are on their way towards lining out in the First Division next season. Nnabuike Nneji netted a hat-trick, Mossy Hehir, Ronan Kerin and Philip Talty all scored twice with Dylan Casey hitting the target too in an all too facile win for David Russell’s men.

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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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