*Newmarket Celtic captain, Eoin Hayes. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Newmarket Celtic captain Eoin Hayes goes into this Saturday’s Clare Cup final searching for a tenth cup medal.

The much-decorated player who has represented Ireland on a number of occasions has previously captained his club to the title and was ever present when the club won this coveted Clare title on nine successive occasions.

They were beaten in the final two years ago by Avenue Utd and didn’t get to the decider last year but last season will always hold a special place for the club as they became the first Clare club to win the prestigious FAI Junior cCp title while also contesting the Munster Cup final.

Subsequent to this, they have won the President’s Cup and the Tom Hand cup, beating Rockmount in the latter.

Acknowledging that there is “a little bit of a shift in power in Clare soccer”, the secondary school teacher at St. Anne’s College in Killaloe noted “we did win the league title last year, something many seem to forget, but Avenue knocked us out this year. We didn’t get to the cup final last year for the first time in a decade. We are seeking to win back the cup title”, the talented sportsman who is the holder of an All-Ireland under 21 hurling medal which he won with Clare said.

In the recent meeting of the sides in the league, a tie which decided the destination of the title, Eoin believes Newmarket “played well. We gave it our all and played quite well. We were 1-0 and 2-1 up. They (Avenue) are a very good side, there is no doubt about that”.

Hayes continued, “for us it has always about what we do ourselves. If we realise that we are playing the game and not Avenue United we should do well. Look it’s great for Clare soccer to have clubs like Newmarket and Avenue. Avenue have really improved and so have Bridge United and Shannon Town and this can only be better for Clare soccer”.

There is no shortage of experience in the Newmarket Celtic panel which is managed by Paddy Purcell who has Eoin O’Brien, Steve Austin and Daniel Cregan in his management team.

David O’Grady is another who has been on nine winning cup sides while Colin Smyth and David McCarthy have helped the club to a lot of success. Jack Kelly and former Clare footballer Kevin Harnett are also key members of a side that could be without the injured Harvey Cullinan for Saturday’s eagerly awaited decider which takes place at Frank Healy park.

As the soccer season draws to a close, it doesn’t mean that Eoin Hayes will be able to take a break as he is expected to switch attention to hurling and join the Blues senior squad as they step up their preparations for the upcoming race for the Canon Hamilton trophy.

For now all the focus is on Saturday’s Clare soccer cup final and while there are mixed views amongst Clare soccer followers as to who will win a tie in which the Newmarket skipper is likely to be a key player, Celtic fans remain confident that he will be accepting the cup for the second time in his career.

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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