Defending South and county champions Clonmel Commercials got the defence of their titles off to a good start with a comfortable win over the Cahir/Fr Sheehy’s combination at Ardfinnan on Sunday afternoon.
Two late goals for Commercials may have put a gloss on the score but in truth they were far too strong for their opponents.
It was the Cahir side that got off to a flying start and were three points clear inside the opening four minutes. A brace of points from impressive centrefielder Niall McKenna and a point from centre forward Ben Hyland saw the combination side race clear in the early stages.
Unfortunately for them though they would not score again in the first half as Commercials took control. Paudie White and Jack Kennedy both landed long range points before Richie Gunne raced through the Cahir rearguard and blasted to the net in the 7th minute.
This would be Gunne’s first of three goals in the game as he delivered a fine display.
Commercials tagged on five further unanswered points by the half time whistle as they went to the break leading by seven points. Paudie White, Jack Kennedy, Pauric Looram, Jason Lonergan and Sammy Ryan were all causing problems in the Cahir defence.
Commercials’ corner back Michael Connolly was shown a black card by referee Derek O’Mahoney in the dying seconds of the half as he hauled down his opponent.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first with Cahir showing the way. Points from Keelan Hickey and Niall McKenna narrowed Commercials lead to five points in the opening three minutes and had centre back Eoin Donaghy shown more conviction in his second minute goal attempt things may have been even closer.
It took ten minutes for Commercials to respond and a pointed free from Pauric Looram settled his side. A goal a minute later from Brian Walsh who began the game at centre back but was now operating at full forward broke Cahir’s resistance and when wing back James Walsh was shown a red card, his side’s resistance was all but gone.
Commercials completely took over from this point and registered 3-3 in the final 18 minutes. Two goals from Richie Gunne and another from Pauric Looram saw Commercials run out winners by 17 points.
Although the defending champions were comfortable winners, Cahir/Fr Sheehy’s did show at times that they could cause problems for teams at this grade. They had good performances from Eoin Donaghy, Niall McKenna, Conor Casey, Ben Hyland and Colin English and will take some positives from their first game.
Commercials had a better balance to their side and with Pauric Looram, Jack Kennedy, Paudie White, Sam Ryan and Ross Peters in this form, they will have a huge say on the championship.
Commercials: Jake McDonald, Robbie Lyons, Cathal McGeever, Michael Connolly, Ross Dennehy, Brian Walsh, Kyle Peters, Pauric Looram, Jack Kennedy, Jason Lonergan, Paudie White, Richie Gunne, Sam Ryan, Michael Nugent, Ross Peters.
Cahir/Fr Sheehy’s: James Conway, Stephen O’Driscoll, Brendan Doherty, Keelan Looby, James Walsh, Eoin Donaghy, Mickey O’Connor, Niall McKenna, Conor Casey, Aron Murphy, Ben Hyland, Colin English, Brian McKenna, Keelan Hickey, Ryan Murphy.
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney