Clonmel Commercials 0-11 Ardfinnan 0-7
Although it took all of 26 minutes for Commercials to register their first score of this Clonmel Oil South senior football championship game played in Cahir on Sunday last, they were full value for their win and in the process secured a semi-final spot by topping the group.
Ardfinnan held all the aces for much of the opening half but a late flurry by Commercials saw them enjoy an unlikely one point lead at the break.
A second minute free from Billy Hewitt gave Ardfinnan an early lead and as the game settled into a pattern Ardfinnan enjoyed supremacy in most areas of the field for much of the opening half. Perhaps the player who made the biggest contribution to the game was Ardfinnan’s Daniel O’Regan who was excellent throughout scoring all of his side’s remaining six points. He was a constant thorn in the side of the Commercials defenders. Three points from play from O’Regan gave Ardfinnan a four point cushion after 22 minutes.
Commercials were struggling throughout the field and found Ardfinnan difficult to break down. It took until the 26th minute before centre fielder Conor Walsh pointed and this score seemed to immediately give his side a lift and there followed 4 more unanswered points by the break. Michael Quinlivan and wing back Danny Madigan each pointed while two converted frees from Shane Power saw Commercials enjoy an unlikely one point advantage at the interval.
The sides were level five minutes after the restart through a Daniel O’Regan point from a free. Ardfinnan were now playing with the wind but it was Commercials who gradually took control as changes made by selectors began to reap rewards.
Half time substitute John Harney pointed excellently in the 7th minute to restore his side’s lead and Michael Quinlivan fisted a point 5 minutes later. Aldo Matassa who had replaced the injured Luke Moore before half time was having an influence on proceedings as was Fergal O’Callaghan who was using his vast experience to good effect. County minor Jason Lonergan was now introduced to the action and he made an immediate impact with a well taken point. O’Regan again delivered with a brace of points to reduce the margin to just a single point with 13 minutes remaining. Lonergan and Quinlivan each had points in the 19th and 20th minutes respectively to restore a three point advantage for Commercials.
The Clonmel side were reduced to 14 men when Shane Taylor received a second yellow card late in the game but Commercials settled the issue when Michael Quinlivan pointed from a dead ball a minute from time.
Ardfinnan will wonder how they surrendered a four point lead in just 5 minutes before the break but Daniel O’Regan will be happy with his personal contribution. He was quite simply superb.
Commercials will be pleased to continue their winning run and the defence of their divisional crown has been excellent to date. Although they will examine the poor start the management will be pleased at the character and attitude of the team to turn things around.
Danny Madigan at wing back put in an excellent hour. Eamonn Hanrahan, Fergal O’Callaghan and Michael Quinlivan all contributed well to the win as did subs Aldo Matassa, Jason Lonergan and John Harney.
Commercials: Paul Nolan, Jamie Peters, Ciará O’connell, Shane Taylor, Danny Madigan, Donal Lynch, Stephen Buckley, Conor Walsh, Eamonn Hanrahan, Luke Moore, Fergal O’Callaghan, Richie Carroll, Shane Power, Michael Quinlivan, Brian O’Hara. Subs Used: Aldo Matassa, Jason Lonergan, John Harney.
Ardfinnan: Niall Hickey, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Thomas Maher, Eoin Walsh, Hugh Bannon, Peter Hally, Philip Murphy, Johnathan Ryan, Johnny Walsh, Aiden Savage, Brian Lonergan, David Lonergan, Billy Hewitt, Daniel O’Regan, Johnny English. Sub: James O’Mahoney.
Referee: Paddy Russell