*Paddy Purcell rises highest to head the ball. Photograph: Joe Buckley
Newmarket Celtic have gone five points clear at the top of the Maloney Garden Machinery Premier Division following the shortest game in the history of Clare soccer.
Newmarket Celtic A 3
Avenue Utd A 1
Venue: McDonough Memorial Park, Newmarket-on-Fergus
A ten month wait to find out the winner of an abandoned contest between two clubs in the Clare District Soccer League (CDSL) Premier Division ended on Saturday evening as Newmarket Celtic not alone maintained their lead but added to it to go top of the table.
An injury to an Avenue player in their September meeting prompted the game to be called off with six minutes remaining. The highly awaited refixture which was called “a shambles” by some supporters also saw a brief half-time interval take place with only three minutes played.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Newmarket Celtic had reason to celebrate as an excellent free-kick from Ronan McCormack ended up in the back of James Tierney’s net. Mark Rellis was forced to award the free when David McCarthy was brought down by Dylan Casey.
In need of the three points, Avenue Utd played with only three men at the back but were unable to test Shane Cusack throughout the duration of the game. Their opponents managed by Mark O’Malley not alone upset them on the scoreboard but also by slowing things down for the few breaks in play.
O’Malley was joined on the sideline for the first time by Donal Magee. The two-time Premier Division winning manager has joined Newmarket’s set-up following on from his departure from Ballynanty. It’s the start they were looking for as competitive action resumes and it tees them up to maintain their bid for three league titles in succession.
There was further joy for Newmarket Celtic as their B team also overcame Avenue Utd on Saturday evening. Ciaran McCoy’s header on the forty first minute kept them on top spot of the T Shiels & Company First Division League, the Ennis club are just one point adrift with a game to spare.
Newmarket Celtic A: Shane Cusack; David O’Grady, Paddy Purcell, Eoin O’Brien, Darren Cullinan; Kevin Harnett, Colin Smyth; Ronan McCormack, Kieran Mahony; Eoin Hayes, David McCarthy.
Avenue Utd A: James Tierney; Mikey Dinan, Simon Cuddy, Wayne Browne; Alan Roche, Dylan Casey; Gary Roche, Conor Mullen, Mark Roche; Phillip Talty, Ronan Kerin.
Referee: Mark Rellis