Clonmel Commercials bounced back from their recent South semi-final defeat to beat Cahir 0-14 to 1-9 and advance to the County quarter final on Sunday evening in Ardfinnan. In a thrilling finish, Commercials had to call on all their resolve to see off the challenge posed by a resilient Cahir outfit. Both sides went into the game knowing that the losers would be finished football for the year and both put in huge efforts in an attempt to reach the quarter final and extend their season.
In a tense opening there was little to choose between the sides. They were level at three points each after 20 minutes. For Commercials Seamus Kennedy, Aldo Mattassa, Ian Barnes and Michael Quinlivan were prominent and two converted frees from Quinlivan were added to by wing back Shane Taylor. Cahir were causing problems for the Clonmel side also and Dean Lonergan, Robbie Costigan, Edmund Meehan and Padraig Whelan were in fine form. Benny Hickey, Meehan and Padraig Whelan all got on the score sheet in these opening 20 minutes.
With the sides tied up Commercials began to gain the upper hand and in the final 10 minutes of the half Commercials opened a three point advantage. Michael Quinlivan, who was causing major problems for the Cahir side, pointed twice while John Harney tapped over on the stroke of half time. A feature of the game was the excellent fielding of Quinlivan around the middle of the field. Cahir failed to add to their tally in the closing stages of the half and a three point lead at the break was a healthy lead for Commercials.
Commercials took up where they had left off as Luke Moore pointed in the opening minute of the second half. Edmund Meehan narrowed the margin with a well taken point a minute later for Cahir. The game looked to be slipping from Cahir’s grasp as Commercials took control and had three unanswered points in as many minutes. John Harney, Aldo Mattassa and a Quinlivan free saw Commercials open up a 5 point lead and looked in total control.
Seamus Kennedy was brilliant at centre back, Michael Quinlivan was having a huge influence while Luke Moore, Aldo Matassa and Ian Barnes were working hard.
Cahir substitute Liam Casey pointed in the 9th minute and this was quickly followed by a Padraig Whelan point three minutes later. Whelan was now operating at the edge of the square and he was causing his own problems at the heart of the Commercials defence. An Ian Barnes point settled Commercials a minute later.
The game’s only goal came from Cahir with 10 minutes remaining. A game that looked to be heading Commercials’ way was suddenly turned on its head when a mix up in the Commercials defence saw Liam Casey gather possession 30 metres from goal. Casey broke the clutches of the Commercials defenders and he blasted past Evan Comerford to suddenly ignite his side as they now trailed by just a single point.
The closing 10 minutes saw tremendous endeavour form both sets of players. A Benny Hickey free levelled matters with seven minutes remaining. Aldo Matassa pointed for Commercials before another Benny Hickey free levelled matters again with just 4 minutes on the clock.
As both sides battled for the vital winning scores it was Ian Barnes and Colman Kennedy who came up trumps for Commercials. A free by Barnes and a fisted effort from county minor Kennedy saw Commercials through to the quarter final stage of the county championship.
Cahir will consider themselves a little unlucky given their great effort in the closing 15 minutes that so nearly saw them over the line. However it was Commercials that looked the better and more composed side over the course of the hour and they will be pleased by the manner in which they held that composure in the closing minutes as Cahir put up a huge challenge.
Commercials : Evan Commerford, Fergal Condon, Donal Lynch, Danny Madigan, Kevin Harney, Seamus Kennedy, Shane Taylor, Eamonn Hanrahan, Aldo Mattassa, Luke Moore, Niall Kelly, Richie Carroll, Ian Barnes, Michael Quinlivan, John Harney. Subs Used: Colman Kennedy, Jason Lonergan, Alan Lonergan, Fergal O’Callaghan.
Cahir: Brian Enright, Gerard Hally, Dean Lonergan, Niall McKenna, Sean O’Connor, Robbie Costigan, James McGrath, Michael Tarrant, Eddie Kendrick, Padriag Whelan, Benny Hickey, Edmund Meehan, Paddy O’Flaherty, Liam O’Gorman, Shane Murphy. Sube Used: Liam Casey, Eoin Donaghy, Tom O’Gorman.
Referee; Keith O’Brien (Kilsheelan/Kilcash)