Buncranna in Co.Donegal was the base for Clonmel Commercials at Féile Péil Na nÓg 2013 last weekend. What a weekend it proved to be as on Sunday morning at the County Derry centre of excellence at Owenbeg the club defeated Wicklow champions Blessington to win the division 3 title. Departing Clonmel on Thursday morning the action began with a game against their host club Buncranna at 1.30pm on Friday. A wonderful start to the competition resulted in a win on a score line of 3-8 to 2-4. Then it was off to the historic city of Derry for the Féile parade. The sight of over 4,000 children and over a dozen bands parade through The Bogside in Derry was simply incredible and was a highlight of an unforgettable weekend.
Saturday was a day packed with action. Wins against Letterkenny Gaels and Laragh United from Cavan sent Commercials to a semi-final. The performance against the Cavan champions gave an indication that this team may just be good enough to win this title. An excellent team performance against a highly rated team saw Commercials record a 10 point win and a place in the semi-final against North London in the Co.Derry village of Graigbane. Again the team performed very well and looked comfortable midway through the 2nd half as they led by 10 points. However the exertions of a busy day began to show as the lead was whittled to just three points late in the game. A storming finish booked a place in Sunday’s final with Blessington as the opponents.
Preparations for final began immediately with a dip in the icy cold waters of Lough Swilly back in Buncranna to ease the aching muscles. There was a reception hosted by the Buncranna club on Saturday evening which was hugely enjoyable. The players retired to their beds early.
The journey to Owenbeg started at 8.30am. Hopes were high but having lost three finals in recent years some in the travelling party were hesitant to even dream of a win.
Playing with the aid of a breeze in the opening half Commercials got off to a great start and were 1-01 up after 4 minutes. A solid opening half saw Commercials lead by eight points at the break and this situation was improved 10 minutes into the second half as the lead extended to 10 points. A brilliant fight back by Blessington saw the Wicklow team lead by two points just three minutes from the end.
To many it seemed lost but the Commercials players were having none of it and in a tremendous display of courage and skill the final three minutes produced 2 goals and a point for Commercials and as the final whistle sounded parents, mentors and supporters swarmed onto the field to greet the team and begin wild celebrations. Captain Adam Peters led his team up the steps as they received their medals from GAA President Liam O’Neill.
The long journey back to Clonmel finished at The Clonmel Park Hotel at 7pm where the team were greeted by the Mayor Cllr Pat English, club president John McNamara and many club members who turned out to welcome home this wonderful bunch of players.
The team manager Tom O Ceallaigh did a wonderful job all weekend as did his selectors Mickey Peters and Stephen Napier. Brian White was a huge help to Tom also and the work of physio Paula Kearns was invaluable.
This was a massive effort by all involved. The parents were a great help and their support of the team and the manager was fantastic. Matt, Gavin and Siobhan all gave a hand out when asked also.
The panel was: Patrick Murchan, Cian O’Dwyer, Arron Phelan, Josh Ryan, Jamie McGuire, Joe Gunne, Matthew Brophy, James Brophy, James Hawkins, Daniel Traas, Graham Foran, Peter O’Dowd, Adam Peters, Calvin Boland, Ryan Lambe, Oisin Napier, Sean Kennedy, Aiden Tobin, Keenan Bates, Ian Fahey, Niall Hoctor, Conal Kennedy.
West Tipperary Bord Na nOg