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‘Most unusual’ game Ryan & Newmarket Celtic had to prepare for

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*Martin ‘Monty’ Mulqueen and David McCarthy compete for possession. Photograph: Mark Hayes

In the clash of Newmarket Celtic’s A vs B side on Friday night, the club and it’s families were split as it’s two adult teams faced off in the Banner Carpets and Flooring Clare Cup Final.

For the Ryan family it was a very peculiar scenario to be in. David was Joint Manager of the As alongside Liam Murphy with his younger brother Kieran fulfilling the same role with Bs side by side with Mark O’Malley. One sibling that could not lose regardless of the result was Johnny who had a foot in both camps as goalkeeper coach. There was the extra connection with their father Christy ensuring Frank Healy Park was in tip top shape through his work as groundsman.

“It’s the most muted I’ve ever been on the line because I don’t think I celebrated any of the three goals. Anyone involved in the club and the committee will say the real winners are Newmarket Celtic football fans,” David commented following Friday’s eight in a row success for the As.

He admitted that preparing for the game and being on the sideline was the ‘most unusual’ experience he’s had in his decade plus stint in management.

Approaching the game, the message was simply, Davy outlined. “The lads in the dressing room were extremely professional beforehand, we knew what we had to do to setup, we knew what they were going to bring to the table. We get these types of games in the Clare League week in week out so we know what to expect, patience is the thing and once the first goal comes the space opens up”.

Such space presented itself for their second goal, Shane Cusack launched the counter attack hitting Kieran Mahony in space and he set Eoin Hayes through and effectively it was game over. “It was a fabulous goal, it started with Shane Cusack and to be honest that’s something he does every year, he is probably the best passer in the team, that might look like a long punt forward but it landed exactly where it needed to be. Kieran controlled it with a cushion header and then Eoin Hayes finished, hit them on the counter which is what we set up for”.

Twenty minutes previously as they sat in the dressing room, the Limerick based secondary school teacher revealed they were unsatisfied with their first half showing. “We weren’t happy in the dressing room, we found that we hadn’t forced them to break it down enough, we were playing into their game and they were forcing us and packing the pitch, we needed to be creating the space and be on the move that bit more, we got a bit of a talking to at half-time about our movement off the ball and create more space off the ball and luckily that worked”.

While it was Darren Cullinan of the As that received the Clare Cup from Oliver Fitzpatrick, Ryan reiterated that the club itself was the main beneficiary, the performances of some younger players has convinced Davy that they will reap success outside of the county in the future. “The two squads mix really well together and we’d hope that some of the younger B team players would make the stepup to the A team and enjoy nights like this. At the end of the day, we’re all one club and it’s a celebration for the club”.

“Oisin Cavanagh is one of the younger lads and we were unlucky we had two injured players tonight, Adam and Callum plus there’s Alex Collins, the future is bright, a lot of them lads are very young, keep building and we’ll knock down the doors of the provincial and FAI ones yet”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, 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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