Offaly outfit Clara Town will be hoping to add their name to the Umbro John Farrell Combined Counties Cup for the sixth time in their history as the 2017 final takes place this weekend.
The final between Clara and new boys Camlin United will be the climax of the Combined Counties Football League season and will take place in Gainstown on Saturday evening next with a 6pm kick off.
This season sees two contrasting teams in the final when experienced Counties Cup campaigners Clara Town take on Camlin United in what promises to be a fascinating encounter. Camlin will be hoping to upset the odds in their first ever appearance in the final.
Formed in 1966 Clara Town are steeped in history with League and Cup honours at all levels down through the years. Progress was made in recent years when they opened their new facilities and also merged with the Clara Schoolboys Club. The club now boasts teams ranging in age from Under 9 right through to their successful over 35 team.
Clara's last appearance in the final was just two years ago, but that was a team in decline and they were beaten by a strong Willow Park team on the day. After dropping out of the Senior Division last year, Clara went on a rebuilding programme that has seen them win the Premier Division League and Cup double this year, adding to an Under 19 Cup victory last season.
The current team is made up of a few seasoned campaigners and some of that under 19 team as Clara are poised to return to the top table and will be favourites to win on Saturday evening.
Their path to the final included victories over Castlejordan, BBC United, Walsh Island Shamrocks, St Peter's and last year's winners Willow Park who they defeated 2-1 after extra time on Sunday in Birr.
Camlin will be no pushovers as they are an experienced team in their own right. Most of this team have accumulated three Division 1 Saturday titles, as well as Division 1 and Saturday Cup wins in recent years. This year they were unlucky when they lost the Division 1 Cup semi-final and the Saturday Divisions Cup final on penalties and also lost their Saturday Division 1 title during the last game of the season to a strong Moydow team.
Camlin were formed in 1998 when Elizabeth Kane's Teffia Harps and Tom Cunningham's Camlin boys got together to form an underage club, Camlin Utd. Most of the current players have come through this underage system and now Camlin will aim to be the first team from Longford to win this famous old cup.
Their run to the final came with wins over Melville Celtic, Monksland United, Tullamore Town, Ballymahon and Rosenallis, who they beat on penalties in last Saturday evening's semi final following an exciting game in Clara. With two Senior Division scalps on that record, Camlin will not fear anybody and will quietly fancy their chances of causing an upset.
The game takes place in Gainstown, Co. Westmeath on Saturday, May 20 at 6pm.
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