IT hasn’t been a long hot summer, but summer nonetheless. And now that it’s over and the evenings are closing in it’s time for the soccer bof- fins around the county to come out of deCoJDupeDloloomercIN(O)EE
Suitably sated by the action from the European Championships and Olympic Games, in which Spain and Argentina prevailed, the big kick-off to the Clare League Premier Divi- sion is penciled in for this Sunday, weather permitting of course.
Newmarket Celtic are defending the title they won last year from their closest challengers Avenue United and Lifford. The new teams on the Premier block for this season are Corofin Harps, the Clare Cup cham- pions in 2005 and 2006, and Bridge United who were Premier champions in 2006 before being relegated the following season.
Newmarket have a difficult opening tie this weekend when they travel to the Micho Russell Centre in Doolin to take on Burren United — the north Clare side are in their second season in the top flight having consolidated their position in their debut year last year under manager Donie Garrihy.
The north Clare flag is also being flown by Moher Celtic, the unlucki- est team over the past number of sea- sons having come desperately close to winning both the Premier title and the Cup.
Like every year Avenue United will be one of the teams to beat — win- ning tradition alone built up over 25 years means that they won’t be
far away, while Lifford have been the other standardbearers from the county capital over the past number of years.
Bunratty will be hoping to build on their cup run last year that only ended in defeat to Rock Rovers, while Bridge Celtic who were cham- pions in 2005/06 will aim to put their poor 2006/07 campaign behind
them. Then there’s Rineanna Rov- ers, cup semi-finalists last year who are a match for any team on their day — especially on their home turf on the back road from Newmarket to SJar-vepeeyee