Moyle Rovers manager Niall Fitzgerald (centre) pictured during his playing days with the club is not happy that his team might be expected to compete in the South final replay with his county players.
The replay of the 2017 Clonmel Oil South Tipperary Senior Football Championship Final has been fixed for this coming Saturday at 2.30 pm in Cahir but at time of going to press a doubt remains as to whether the fixture will go ahead at all.
Clonmel Commercials and Moyle Rovers drew last Sunday week at Clonmel Sportsfield in what was an entertaining game considering the time of year and the difficult underfoot conditions on the day. But as hopeful as everyone was of seeing a conclusion to a competition carried over since last year, an hour’s play followed by 20 minutes of extra-time failed to separate these local rivals.
And so county champions Commercials and the Powerstown/Lisronagh club are down to do it all again on Saturday but it remains to be seen if this actually happens.
Both clubs have been “made aware” that county senior football boss Liam Kearns will not be making the Commercials and Moyle Rovers county players on his panel available, and according to Moyle Rovers manager, Niall Fitzgerald, “we will not replay the final without our full complement of players and I don’t think anyone should expect us to.” Clonmel Commercials have seven players on the county panel while Moyle Rovers have six.
“This is after all supposedly the showpiece of football for the year in South Tipperary and I see this decision as showing a complete and utter disregard for the clubs and for the players involved,” added Fitzgerald, himself a former Moyle Rovers and county football midfielder.
He went on to say:
“I am actually at a loss and frustrated with this decision and in my mind it shows a complete and utter disconnect between the administrators and the players in expecting them to play a serious competitive club game just a week before the county begins what will be a hugely competitive Division 2 National Football League campaign.”
“I can fully understand and I fully agree with Liam Kearns should he not want to release the Moyle Rovers and Commercials players to play in a tough competitive divisional final just days before they commence the National Football League. And I know from experience how tough the League is and how a highly competitive club game shortly before such a fixture would take a lot out of players. I 100% understand where Liam is coming from on this and I would fully agree with his call should he wish to hold back the players, added Niall.
“I can’t speak for Charlie McGeever (Commercials manager) but I am sure Charlie would also agree that this is not the time to be playing a South senior football final. This is the time of year when club players should be having a break from training and competitive games. The sporting year is long enough without expecting guys to be at the top of their game at this time of year, it is so frustrating for them.”
“We can go months during the summer without competitive games, the time of year when players want to be in action and which is the right time to be playing club games, not in the middle of January. But this decision to go ahead with this replay on Saturday is wrong because it shows a lack of respect to all the players involved and it shows a lack of respect for the competition also. It leaves me very disappointed and frustrated as a team manager that we might be expected to field without having the full complement of players available to us. And that will not happen.”
“We haven’t trained since the first final and we hadn’t done much before that either and getting five or six days notice of that final wasn’t good enough either for a South Senior final,”added the Moyle Rovers manager.
“Our injury situation since the last day is a little changed. Luke Boland (who missed the last day) is a potential starter this time. And Ross Mulcahy (team captain) who was out of the country for the drawn game is available. But on the other hand we lost both Danny Owens and Darragh Dwyer the last day, both having to come off late with injuries. And David McGrath who is going very well for us has also picked up an injury. But Luke and Davy are part of the county set-up (as are four other Moyle Rovers players) so they will be governed by that,” concluded Niall.
Clonmel Commercials are in a similar position as to how the week will pan out. But Danny Madigan who missed the last day due to injury will certainly not be available either for the replay. Ian Fahey and Michael Quinlivan both were unavailable due to injury the last day and it is highly unlikely that even if the game does go ahead that the 2016 All-Star Michael Quinlivan would start with a tender toe injury just a week ahead of the Cork v Tipperary Division 2 National Football League clash. Both Quinlivan and Ian Fahey are also part of Liam Kearns’ 40-man squad also, as indeed are five other Commercials players.
SEMI-FINALS LAST AUGUST
Clonmel Commercials qualified for this final when defeating Ardfinnan on 30th August last. Moyle Rovers needed two attempts to get over Killenaule, the first game was played in Ballyporeen on Tuesday night 29th August with the replay in Fethard on 10th September which Rovers won by a point.
THE CLUBS' COUNTY PLAYERS
Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), Ian Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials), Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials), Michael O'Reilly (Clonmel Commercials), Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials), Liam Ryan (Clonmel Commercials).
Luke Boland (Moyle Rovers), Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers), Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers), Seán Carey (Moyle Rovers), Ciarán Kenrick (Moyle Rovers), David McGrath (Moyle Rovers).