Newcastle almost shock Newmarket as Junior Cup takes centre stage

Frank Nelligan

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Frank Nelligan

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Newcastle almost shock Newmarket as Junior Cup takes centre stage

Seoirse Joyce scores Newcastle Wests second goal to force Newtown Celtic into extra time during their FAI Junior Cup tie last weekend Picture: Kieran Ryan-Benson

Newcastle West Town almost pulled off a huge shock in the 3rd round of the FAI Junior Cup when they came from 2-0 down at half-time at home to last season’s semi-finalists, Newmarket Celtic, to level the game at 2-2 before losing 3-2 in extra-time.

Outsiders going into the game, one could have got any odds on Newcastle West Town when they found themselves 2-0 down after 32 minutes. The opener was scored in the 21st minute by junior international striker, Eoin Hayes, after a clever 1-2 with Colin Smith inside the box. Hayes then set up the second goal, turning his marker and squaring to David McCarthy who drilled inside the left-hand post on his second touch.

Newcastle West gave themselves a lifeline when they pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute. Seoirse Joyce headed the ball down to James Cussen who set up Paul Downes to fire past keeper Shane Cusack from 14 yards.

Newmarket, who also reached the semi-finals of the Munster Junior Cup last season, were now staring at the prospect of being eliminated from the competition far earlier than they or anyone else had envisaged. However, showing the quality that has made them the top team in Clare over the last few seasons, they won it in the first period of extra-time. Hayes was involved once again, crossing to substitute Daithi O’Connell who flicked the ball first-touch across Ruddle.

Newcastle West Town can grow from this honourable defeat. They looked like a proper team and manager Peter Clarke showed he had confidence in his bench by using five substitutes, with Noel Callanan making the most positive contribution.

Newcastle West: Andrew Ruddle, Peter Shanahan, Darragh Quilligan, Eoin Murphy, Paudie Fitzgerald, Paudie Kinehan, Scott Hurley, James Cussen, Shane Stack, Paul Downes, Seoirse Joyce. Subs: Mike Mulcahy for Quilligan, inj (37 mins), Noel Callanan for Kinehan (60 mins), Jason Brouder for Shanahan (54 mins), Alan Connors for Cussen (75 mins), Darragh McCarthy for Hurley (81 mins), Kevin Mee, Clei de Souza.

Newmarket Celtic: Shane Cusack, David O’Grady, Darren Cullinan, Colum Treacy, Stephen Kelly, Kieran O’Mahony, Kevin Harnett, David McCarthy, Eoin O’Brien, Colin Smith, Eoin Hayes. Subs: Tino Nzvaura for Smith (53 mins), Callum McNamara for O’Mahony (67 mins), Ian Collins for Harnett (74 mins), Daithi O’Connell for McCarthy (87 mins), Paddy Purcell for Cullinan (107 mins), Cathal Hayes, Niall Quinn.

Referee: Ger O’Connor.

GREAT COMEBACK BY CARRIG

Three more Limerick Desmond League teams joined Rathkeale in progressing to the fourth round of the FAI Junior Cup on Sunday.

Carrig Celtic’s victory was the most dramatic, coming from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2 at home to Clare Premier side, Lifford Celtic.

Killeaney/Bally Rovers won 3-0 at home to Shannon Hibs, who play in Clare Division 1. Michael Thornton scored the only goal of the first-half, with Ger Stack and Adrian O’Sullivan on the mark in the second-half.

Glin Rovers were expected to win away to Kerry 2A side, Strand Road FC, and did so on a 3-1 scoreline.

Ballingarry are still looking for their first win of the season after losing 1-0 away to Castleisland, whose goal came in the 82nd minute.

ABBEYFEALE HUNGRY FOR MORE GLORY

In December 2016, Abbeyfeale United had the greatest day in the club’s history when they won the Munster League Champions Trophy by beating the mighty St. Michael’s in the Final in extra-time.

Abbeyfeale would love to repeat that success and they can take the first step in that direction when they meet West Cork Champions, Drinagh Rangers, in the quarter-finals in Riverside Park on Sunday at 2 pm.

Abbeyfeale will go into the game, deprived of the services of a number of key players due to injury, namely, goalkeeper Billy Quirke, junior international Chris Smith and attacking wide midfielder Kevin Murphy.

However, they still have plenty of strength in depth, with the likes of centre-halves Cormac Roche and Shane Mulvihill, midfielders Darrren Keane and Fiachra Cotter and striker Jamie O’Connor.

Forecast: Abbeyfeale United.

Munster Junior Cup

There are also two ties in the second round of the Munster Junior Cup on Sunday. Pride of place goes to the all-Premier clash between Newcastle West Town and Broadford United in the Demesne at 11.30.

In recent years, Broadford would be favourites in this tie and that will probably still be the case on Sunday.

However, I was impressed by the team spirit in evidence from Newcastle West on Sunday against Newmarket Celtic.

They work hard for each other, they have potential match-winners in Shane Stack, Paul Downes and Seoirse Joyce and they have a strong bench.

Change personnel and the same could be said for Broadford, who have won all four of their games in the Premier Division. Most of the injuries that have afflicted them in recent weeks have cleared up but they will still definitely be without Willie O’Brien and probably James Molyneaux as well, the latter having picked up an injury in the Munster Youths Cup victory over Askeaton last Saturday.

It has the makings of a classic Cup tie and I think that Newcastle West Town’s turn may have come.

Forecast: Newcastle West Town.

Shountrade (Division 1) v Ballingarry (Premier)

Ballingarry are still looking for their first win of the season in all competitions but that didn’t stop them putting up a decent performance last Sunday when they only went down 1-0 away to the Kerry Premier A side, Castleisland.

Shountrade have already claimed the scalp of a Premier team in this competition, winning 4-1 at home to Kildimo United in the first round. Repeating the trick is not impossible but I think it is unlikely.

Forecast: Ballingarry