Clonmel Credit Union Premier League
ST. MICHAELS FC 0 CLONMEL TOWN 1
Clonmel Town lifted their 16th TSDL championship their 11th since the Premier League was formed - with this victory over arch-rivals and recently-crowned Munster Junior Cup holders St. Michaels in Cooke Park, Tipperary town last Wednesday night.
This Premier League showdown saw Clonmel Town needing victory in this, their last game of the season, while St. Michaels, with two games in hand, just needed a draw. But to the disappointment of Saints supporters they left their shooting boots at home.
In a game that opened at a hectic pace Saints Richie Ryan fired in a shot in the opening minute at his namesake in the Town goal. Towns Ted OConnor did well to clear the ball off the goal-line when Pa Quinn thought he had scored after 5 minutes after good work from Padraic Fogarty and Richie Ryan. Jimmy Carr broke at pace in the 12th minute but John Connery delayed his shot.
Paul Breen was booked for a challenge on Barry Ryan after 23 minutes and Micky Comerfords direct free-kick was misjudged by keeper Derek Breen to give a delighted Town side a 1-0 lead.
Saints hit back straight away and James Walshs back post trademark header hit the crossbar from John Connerys corner kick. Jimmy Carr had a shot saved after 27 minutes and then hit a free-kick over the crossbar on the half-hour. Paul Breen was then just wide from a Chris Higgins cross. After 43 minutes Towns John Shanahan forced Derek Breen into a near post save from an Evan Maguire pass. As the halfway stage was reached Saints looked to have a good shout for a penalty when Richie Ryan in the Town goal looked to have taken down John Connery, but only a fruitless corner kick was the outcome.
The second-half saw St. Michaels continuing to probe for openings, with Thomas Fahey shooting straight at Richie Ryan after 50 minutes. John Connery then shot over the crossbar 9 minutes later. Padraic Fogarty shot at the keeper as the hour mark was reached. Pa Quinn shot wide after 65 minutes as these costly misses for Saints began to mount up.
Town were working their socks off to keep Saints at bay and goalkeeper Richie Ryan was in inspired form, saving from Fogarty after 67 minutes. In the gathering dusk Town again scrambled the ball off the line with 15 minutes to go. Sean OHalloran came on for Paul Tobin, as Saints gambled on three at the back as they tried to restore parity. However, despite all the huffing and puffing there was an inevitability about the result long before the final whistle sounded, with St. Michaels unable to break Clonmel Towns resolve.
It was fitting that Clonmel Town should lift this Premier League trophy that is named in honour of TSDL founder member and long time Town administrator, the late Liam Delahunty, who passed to his eternal resting place earlier this year.
For the record books two Clonmel Town players extended their record number of medals. They are Tony Scully and Raymie Condon, who now hold 10 TSDL championship medals each, and which were won in 1998,99, 2002, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09 and 2011.
St. Michaels still have two important trophies out there that they can add to the Munster Junior Cup already in the trophy cabinet. The big one is on this coming Sunday against Pike Rovers in the FAI Junior Cup, while there is also the TSDL blue riband trophy the Tipperary Challenge Cup, when they meet Clonmel Celtic in the final.
St. Michaels FC - D. Breen, P. Tobin (S. OHalloran 88), C. Higgins, P. Breen, J. Walsh, T. Fahey, J. Carr, R. Ryan, P. Quinn, P. Fogarty (S. Guerin 72), J. Connery (D. OBrien (60).
Clonmel Town - R. Ryan, T. Davis, D. Loughnane, T. OConnor, R. Condon, T. Scully, J. Shanahan, M. Comerford (N. Kelly 78), B. Ryan (B. Murphy 66), I. Cleary (L. Whelan 85), E. Maguire.