AIB Munster Club SFC: Commercials reach decider
AIB Munster Club SFC Semi-Final
CLONMEL COMMERCIALS (TIPPERARY) 0-9 ST JOSEPH'S MILLTOWN-MALBAY (CLARE) 0-7
By Eoin Brennan at Hennessy Memorial Park
Clonmel Commercials maintained their Indian sign over St Joseph's Miltown, this time in dramatic circumstances after a late four point rally overturned their hosts to progress to the Munster Senior Club Football Final in Hennessy Memorial Park.
Having also prevailed in previous provincial clashes in 1990 and 2015, the Tipperary champions completed their hat-trick in unlikely circumstances when only hitting the front for the first time in the 58th minute.
Up to that point, it was last year's Munster Finalists that appeared set to repeat the dose after setting the pace from the outset, thanks in the main to the aid of a strong wind. Points from Oisin Looney and Conor Cleary within the opening 90 seconds were equalled by Kevin Fahey and Michael Quinlivan.
But as the half developed, St Joseph's grew in stature as brothers Gordon and Graham Kelly along with twins Eoin and Conor Cleary kicked four of the last five points to ensure a 0-6 to 0-3 half-time cushion.
Clonmel would have been relatively satisfied themselves to only trail by three but despite the backing of the conditions for the new half, they would be left frustrated as three wides from frees resulted in a dearth of scoring for the third quarter.
A brace of Jason Longeran frees finally opened their second half account but a Conor Cleary placed ball still left Commercials 0-7 to 0-5 in arrears by the 55th minute.
The Tipperary champions never panicked though and it was the Kennedy clan that would finally reap the rewards as first midfield brothers Conal and Jack regained parity by the 57th minute before namesake Seamus inched Commercials in front for the first time from 40 metres in the next passage of play.
With six minutes of additional time to come, the hosts did their utmost to find an elusive equaliser but were left searching for goals when Jack Kennedy struck a valuable 64th minute single on the counter-attack.
And it would ultimately prove the insurance point to tee up a second Munster Club Final showdown in five seasons with Cork's Nemo Rangers in a fortnight's time.
*Scorers for Clonmel Commercials: *Jason Lonergan (2fs), Jack Kennedy (1f) 0-2 each, Kevin Fahey, Michael Quinlivan, Colman Kennedy (1f), Conal Kennedy, Seamus Kennedy 0-1 each.
Scorers for St Joseph's Miltown: Conor Cleary 0-3 (2fs), Oisin Looney, Gordon Kelly, Eoin Cleary (f), Graham Kelly 0-1 each.
CLONMEL COMMERCIALS: Michael O'Reilly; Danny Madigan, Liam Ryan, Cathal McGeever; Kevin Fahey, Jamie Peters, Seamus Kennedy; Jack Kennedy, Conal Kennedy; Padraic Looram, Michael Quinlivan, Ross Peters; Colman Kennedy, Sean O'Connor, Jason Lonergan
Subs: Kevin Harney for Looram (Half-Time), Ryan Lambe for Fahey (48 mins), Richie Gunne for R. Peters (53 mins), Looram for Conal Kennedy (60 mins, inj).
*ST JOSEPH'S MILTOWN: *Sean O'Brien; Enda O'Gorman, Seanie Malone, Eoin O'Brien; Aidan McGuane, Gordon Kelly, Gearoid Curtin; Oisin Looney, Conor Cleary; Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary, Micheál Murray; Brian Curtin, Cormac Murray, Graham Kelly
Subs: Jamesie O'Connor for Graham Kelly (39 mins), Euan Reidy for Curtin (42 mins, inj), Gerard Malone for M. Murray (59 mins), Kelly for K. Malone (60+7 mins)
REFEREE: James Bermingham (Cork).