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Clare Cup gears up a notch for behind closed doors quarter-finals

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*Avenue’s Ronan Kerin. Photograph: John Mangan

Early rounds of the Banner Carpets & Flooring Clare Cup may have been paused due to COVID-19 but it’s full steam ahead as the quarter-finals of the competition take place this weekend.

Now chasing their ninth cup title in a row, Newmarket Celtic are away to Shannon Hibs on Saturday evening. Matters got heated when the sides met in the league in recent weeks and Hibs will embrace the opportunity to end Celtic’s historic cup run.

Goals from Ronan McCormack and Kieran Mahony saw Newmarket knock Shannon Town out of the third round. Darragh Leahy was the hero as Hibs upset Bridge Utd with a 2-1 win after extra time last weekend.

Avenue Utd A will face the Bridge Utd B. The Ennis side received a walkover from Shannon Town B last weekend but will be determined to make up for their disappointing finish in the league by bouncing back on Saturday. The Sixmilebridge side recorded a 4-1 success over Connolly Celtic with Jake Dinneen netting a hat-trick.

After claiming a 3-1 win away to Tulla Utd, Shannon Olympic welcome First Division winners Avenue Utd B to Olympic Park on Sunday in what is expected to be a close affair. Manus Doherty clinched the winner for Avenue B when they defeated Mountshannon Celtic in the third round.

Lahinch hosts the last of the quarter-finals with Sporting Ennistymon going toe to toe with Manus Celtic for a coveted place in the semi-finals. The exit of Ennistymon from the Clare SFC will benefit the North Clare side’s chances. Manus will be on a high following their 4-0 demolition against Inch Crusaders where Stephen Jordan hit the net twice with Aaron Green and Dylan Brown also contributing on the scoring stakes.

Semi-finals for the Clare Cup are fixed for Wednesday. 24 hours later the Michael O’Gorman Youths Cup Final will be held at Frank Healy Park between local rivals Shannon Town and Bridge Utd.

Elsewhere, Coole FC’s 4-1 victory over Kilkishen Celtic this week saw them crowned as winners of the Campion Insurance Second Division League.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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