*Man of the match Conor Finucane prepares to hit a free. 

COOLE FC and Mountshannon Celtic were the biggest names to exit the Ennis Carpets Clare Cup while in the Kilmaley derby it was Inch Crusaders who claimed the bragging rights.

It took extra time for Sporting Ennistymon to overcome Mountshannon Celtic in East Clare in the first round of the Ennis Carpets Clare Cup while in Gort, Tulla Utd A were deserving winners over Coole FC in the only clash pitting Premier Division sides against each other.

Seven second round games were held with Newmarket Celtic A, Bridge Celtic, Fern Celtic, Shannon Town A, Ennis Dons and Inch Crusaders prevailing. Callan Utd’s win over Manus Celtic may be considered the only upset in round two.

Wasteful Tulla claims spoils against Coole

Tulla Utd 2
Coole FC 0
Venue: St Colman’s Park, Gort

Tulla Utd were by far the better side in this contest but almost ended up getting dragged to extra time.

Neutrals and indeed Tulla Utd have defender Adam McNamara and goalkeeper Simon Kilker to thank for shortening their stay in Gort on Sunday morning with the duo stepping up when the pressure mounted in the closing stages.

This was of course prior to Dan Withycombe sealing the deal in the final attack to give Tulla a 2-0 victory when by right they should have led by far more than that when the half-time whistle sounded never mind the end of the game.

Eoin Hassett had Tulla off the mark inside the opening ten minutes but despite threatening to do so the East Clare side didn’t double their advantage until the last kick of the game.

Coole FC’s Joel Smith made an excellent save to push Diarmuid Molloy on nineteen minutes and then kept out a David O’Donnell effort after Tulla worked the ball into the danger area from a corner.

Fiachra Hale made an excellent connection with his head to a precision cross from Liam McInerney but Smith managed to keep the ball out with his chest on the twenty three minute mark.

An intervention from centre-half Dara Ryan was essential to stopping Coole from getting an equaliser on fifty minutes, he produced a last-minute tackle as they were about to pull the trigger on fifty minutes.

Somehow Éanna Culloo saw his free richocheted off the post and avoid crossing the line in Tulla’s next attack while further attempts from Ayoub Aguerrau and James Wallace were kept out.

Full-back Molloy can have no excuses for missing what should have been a certain goal on sixty eight minutes. Culloo won a free, his second time earning one on the edge of the box as he continued to threaten the opposing defence, the opportunity as the set piece was played into goal fell to Molloy and his volley should have went into the back of the net but instead the ball was driven back into Co Clare.

Tom O’Neill almost had an equaliser for the hosts on eighty three minutes but his effort went just wide.

By this stage, Tulla who had not lined out with their strongest eleven had introduced some of their first-choice starters as Coole were beginning to look the more threatening.

Goalkeeper Simon Kilker stopped an effort from Adam McMahon with his legs in the first minute of additional time as the nerves really began to become evident within the Tulla camp.

They weathered the storm and worked the ball up field where Dan Withycombe was on hand and he managed to round Smith before tapping the ball home to send Tulla into the second round where they will face Fairgreen Celtic, a clash of the beaten semi-finalists in last year’s Clare Cup.

Liam McInerney impressed for the winners who must be grateful to McNamara and Kilker for stepping up in the closing stages to see them hold on.

Tulla Utd: Simon Kilker; Fiachra Hale, Adam McNamara, Dara Ryan, Diarmuid Molloy; Ayoub Aguerrau, Liam McInerney, David O’Donnell, Éanna Culloo, James Wallace, Eoin Hassett.

Subs: Ian Macnamara for O’Donnell (71), Dan Withycome for Hassett (71), Sean Withycombe for Wallace (71), Raymond Bane for Ayoub (92)

Coole FC: Joel Smith; Aurillo, Jamie Gunning, Carlos Neto, Richard Oliveria, Kieran Doyle, Carlos Neto, Jimmy McDonald, Ivan Vico, Adam McMahon, Jack Beakey, Tom O’Neill.

Subs: Thomas Murahy for Beakey (30), Cian O’Neill for Vico (38) (inj), Jack Grannan for Aurillo (69), Yusef Ibrahimi for Oliveria (82).

Extra time needed for Sporting to overcome Mountshannon

Sporting Ennistymon 4
Mountshannon Celtic 3
Venue: Mountshannon

Two years ago both Sporting Ennistymon and Mountshannon Celtic competed in the Premier Division so Sunday’s first round encounter was always going to be a tight affair.

Therefore it came as no surprise that extra time was needed to separate two teams who are now languishing towards the bottom end of the First Division.

Despite Martin Cunningham pushing the hosts in front, Sporting replied with goals via Cathal McConigley and John O’Brien to hold the advantage at half-time.

Mountshannon again stuck their noses in front, first they equalised through Cathal Doyle and then regained the lead thanks to Cathal Moloney.

However, Ciaran McMahon a man who has picked off many valuable scores for Ennistymon in gaelic football again stepped up, this time for Sporting Ennistymon, to force extra time.

John Forson was the hero in extra time, reacting first to a saved McConigley free to tap the ball home and send Sporting into the second round.

Inch Crusaders take bragging rights in Kilmaley derby

Inch Crusaders 3
Connolly Celtic 1
Venue: Kilmaley

From the first play, a strong strong tackle by Mikey O’Malley on Conor Finnucane gave an indicator that this could be a tense showing between the neighbours.

Given that many of the players in opposite camps are either teammates on the hurling field with Kilmaley or the football field with Lissycasey the sense of familiarity ensured there would be nothing left behind in the bid to secure bragging rights.

However, Inch’s greater balance was key and by the twenty fifth minute they had a two goal advantage which really took the energy from the game.

Had any Premier Division manager been in attendance they would have been struck by the performance of Conor Finnucane. A talented footballer with Lissycasey and Clare underage sides, he stood out from the off on the left wing.

Finnucane had the assists for all three of Inch’s goals and made the smart decision when in possession.

Another player with more than enough ability to serve as a key player for a team in the Premier Division is Connolly’s Sean Kennedy. What appeared to be an injury ended his involvement before the half hour mark but he’d make a difference to the midfield of some of the top teams in the county.

Yet another player of Premier Division quality is Thomas Collins who produced a save from Michael O’Malley while falling to the ground on eight minutes. Just before this, there was some panic in the opposite box as a free from Finnucane bounced off goalkeeper Christopher O’Loughlin and into the path of Enda Finnucane but danger was cleared.

Colin Carmody opened the scoring on eleven minutes when getting a flick to Finnucane’s cross. The influence of the Lissycasey man continued, Sean Crowley picked up a yellow card for a foul on him and he sent the resulting free into the danger zone and his older brother Enda headed home on twenty two minutes.

In between goal one and two, Connolly had chances from Joe Carmody and Sean Kennedy, the latter from Kennedy a free which was saved by Collins.

Francie Hayes was next to receive a yellow card for Connolly but matters got worse when a blunder by O’Loughlin was capitalised on by the poacher Padraig Talty on twenty six minutes.

O’Loughlin moments later produced an excellent save to deny Bradley Higgins a goal in what was an expertly worked Inch passage of play.

Ryan Courtney headed home on seventy three minutes to give Connolly a goal for their efforts but the foundations were laid in the opening period by Inch to ensure they advance to the third round.

Inch Crusaders: Thomas Collins; Ronan McCarthy, Darragh Killeen, Niall McCarthy, Martin Moran; Enda Finnucane, Colin Carmody, Peter Ronan, Conor Finnucane, Bradley Higgins, Padraig Talty.

Subs: Cian Neylon for Higgins (HT), Sean Ronan for P Ronan (67), Luke McMahon for Talty (80).

Connolly Celtic: Christopher O’Loughlin, Joe Carmody, Francie Hayes, Sean Crowley, Paul Scanlon; Michael O’Malley, Sean Kennedy, Eoin Keane, Kevin Sharkey, Brendan Dillon, Ryan Courtney.

Subs: Evan Courtney for Kennedy (26), David O’Donoghue for Hayes (HT), Thomas Lynch for Dillon (60).

Referee: Michael Rock

Shannon Town stick nine past Newmarket’s C team

Shannon Town A 9
Newmarket Celtic C 0
Venue: McDonough Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus

One-sided as was anticipated, a gulf in class was evident as Shannon Town A marched into the third round.

It was the only Shannon Town game to survive the weather last weekend and Steo Dolan’s side didn’t disappoint with Jack Ryan (4), Kieran Hackett (3) plus Dean Devanney and Cody Waller their goalscorers in a comprehensive rout.

Newmarket’s A team better than Bunratty in parish affair

Newmarket Celtic A 5
Bunratty Cratloe 2
Venue: McDonough Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus

Where Bunratty lies in Co Clare is something that has been questioned in recent times. Geography will show that it lies in the parish of Newmarket-on-Fergus, something parishoners are certainly proud of, outsiders may neglect the fact and maybe the confusion is fuelled by their merger with Cratloe in the soccer scene.

In the 2000s, Bunratty FC were one of the top teams in the Premier Division, winning league titles in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2008/09. In 2010, Bunratty FC amalgamated with Cratloe Celtic to become Bunratty Cratloe. Although the club is much stronger at underage level since and is particularly thriving for underage girls, it has not returned to the lofty heights it once stood at when it comes to adult football.

Brief history lesson aside, on Sunday the club stayed within the parish but travelled up the road to face Newmarket Celtic A who are looking to win the Cup for the first time in three years.

Early goals from Eoin Hayes and Darragh Leahy but Celtic in the driving seat while David McCarthy had an effort disallowed for a handball. Bunratty/Cratloe hit back before the break to reduce the arrears to a single goal with the talented Jack McInerney hitting the net.

Leahy collected the hosts’ third goal when heading a Nathan Boaventura cross beyond Andy Lees. McCarthy had their fourth, this time it was let stand with his shot from close range sealing the deal. This followed Jack Kelly and Conor McDaid almost adding further goals.

Kevin Patten hit Bunratty/Cratloe’s second goal but they wouldn’t finish with their full contingent as Mark Relis was forced to dish out a red card when tempers flared to a small degree.

Billy McNamara wrapped up the scoring and ensured he was among Newmarket’s goal scorers for the second weekend in a row.

Newmarket Celtic A: Shane Cusack; David O’Grady, Ethan Fitzgerald, Harvey Cullinan, Conor McDaid; Jack Kelly, Aaron Rudd, Eoin Hayes, David McCarthy, Nathan Boaventura, Darragh Leahy.

Subs: Cael Gaffney for O’Grady, Kevin Harnett for McDaid, Ronan McCormack for Leahy, Davy Lennon for Rudd, Billy McNamara for Hayes.

Bunratty/Cratloe FC: Andy Lees; Emmet Costigan, Jack Manley, Liam Hayes, Jamie Costigan, Páidí Fitzpatrick, Eoin Deegan, Barry Gleeson, Kevin Patten, Ethan Ballard, Jack McInerney.

Callan Utd claim the scalp of Manus Celtic

Callan Utd 3
Manus Celtic 0
Venue: Clarecastle

Joe Campbell, Paudie Murrihy and Jason Cushen were the clinical goalscorers as Callan Utd were deserving winners in what was their first ever outing in the Ennis Carpets Clare Cup.

Callan created the bulk of the chances but Campbell’s strike was the only goal in the opening half.

Murrihy’s goal arrived following nice teamwork but Cushen’s strike was the moment of the match as he produced a memorable finish.

This exit is a setback to Manus Celtic following the high of their win over Fairgreen Celtic to progress to the Munster Shield Cup semi-final tie where they will play Ballynanty Rovers B.

Home comforts help Bridge Celtic

Bridge Celtic 4
Hermitage A 2
Venue: Bridgetown

Goals from Julian Heaney, Colin Scanlon, Dylan Howard and Stephen Fitzmaurice sent Bridge Celtic into the third round.

Dons do the business

Ennis Dons 3
Hermitage B 1
Venue: Ennis

Ennis Dons carried the favourites tag in this contest and duly obliged to see off Hermitage’s second team.

It was double elimination for The Tage who saw their first team bow out to Bridge Celtic also in the second round.

Horatio, David McCready and Aaron Fitzgerald scored for the winners with Adam Kamis Barra getting what proved to be the consolation goal for The Tage.

Fern require extra time to shake off Tulla’s second string

Fern Celtic 2
Tulla Utd B 1
Venue: The Cragg

Tulla came close to double success in the Clare Cup on Sunday. Their first side progressed and their second side were almost behind them.

They played some nice passages of football and took the lead via Alex Madigan.

This strike was cancelled out by a Noel Frawley equaliser before half time but spectators would not witness a goal for the duration of the second half which prompted extra time.

Here it was Noel Meaney who nabbed the winner to ensure Richard Cahill’s charges avoided a shock exit.

Tulla Utd: Sam Cooper, Joe O’Sullivan, Donal Sheedy, Mick Ryan, Tom Vaughan, Sean Walsh, Luke Meade, Denis Whelan, Craig McNamara, John Brigdale, Alex Madigan.

Subs: Owen Clarke for Sheedy, Eoghan Ryan for McNamara, Cormac Hale for Bridgale, Cathal Culloo for Meade, Darragh Madigan for M Ryan.

Ennis Carpets Clare Cup Round 1

Mountshannon Celtic 3-4 Sporting Ennistymon AET

Coole FC 0-2 Tulla United A

_________

Ennis Carpets Clare Cup Round 2

Bridge Celtic 4-2 Hermitage A

Tulla United B 1-2 Fern Celtic AET

Shannon Olympic B P-P Shannon Town B

Newmarket Celtic C 0-9 Shannon Town A

Manus Celtic 0-3 Callan United

Newmarket Celtic A 5-2 Bunratty Cratloe

Ennis Dons 3-1 Hermitage B

Connolly Celtic 1-3 Inch Crusaders

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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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