GAELIC FOOTBALL

Tipperary champions Clonmel Commercials well beaten in Munster Club Final

Eamonn Wynne

Reporter:

Eamonn Wynne

Email:

ewynne@nationalist.ie

Ross Peters

Ross Peters scored two points for Clonmel Commercials when they were beaten by Nemo Rangers in Sunday's AIB Munster Club Senior Football Championship Final

Nemo Rangers 0-15 Clonmel Commercials 0-6

Four years ago they boldly went where no Tipperary team had gone before by winning the AIB Munster Club Senior Football Championship. But there was to be no fairytale return journey for Clonmel Commercials in Sunday's provincial final at Fraher Field, Dungarvan, when Nemo Rangers exacted revenge for that shock result four years ago with this comprehensive victory.
The most disappointing aspect of their sub-standard performance was that Commercials are capable of much better. However it just never happened for them on the day, as they were outclassed by a superior Nemo side.
In a game played in perfect conditions for the first day of December, but devoid of any real sense of excitement, the Commercials players gave it everything but couldn't extricate themselves from the headlock into which Nemo placed them in the opening half.
Seamus Kennedy, Ross Peters, Jack Kennedy, Kevin Harney and Jamie Peters all ran the hard yards for Commercials. However too many of their players were out of sorts and struggled to make a meaningful impression in a game that was a damp squib for their large contingent of supporters in the 2124 attendance.
The Clonmel team had it all to do at the break, when they were behind by 0-7 to 0-3. They had plenty of possession in the early exchanges of the new half but all afternoon they never played the ball quickly enough through the lines. And when they did supply the forward line with possession they seldom managed to make it stick.
Nemo took up where they had left off in the opening half with scores from captain Barry O'Driscoll and the outstanding Luke Connolly in the 40th minute. Connolly was back tormenting the Commercials defence again shortly afterwards when Jack Horgan and Paul Kerrigan combined to send him haring towards goal, before Connolly's dangerous ball across the face of the goal was cleared by Jamie Peters.
Six points behind and badly in need of a lift, Commercials substitute Ryan Lambe thought he had struck a point but instead the ball hit the post, as they struggled to catch a break.
They finally gave their supporters something to cheer about in the second half when brothers Jamie and Ross Peters exchanged passes before Jack Kennedy kicked a fine point from distance in the 45th minute, which was their first score in 23 minutes.
However just when they might have entertained thoughts of creeping back into contention, Nemo firmly slammed the door shut on any such notions when Luke Connolly kicked two points in the space of three minutes, the second from a free.
Ross Peters had a Commercials point ten minutes from the finish when a lofted ball from his brother Jamie broke in his direction. But their scores never flowed regularly enough to put Nemo's dominance in jeopardy, while the basic errors that some of the Clonmel players started to make were a further distress signal.
The Cork side moved further into the comfort zone with points from Luke Connolly and Paul Kerrigan, the latter's first effort on target after he had kicked five of their eight wides up to that stage.
It was a landmark score for Kerrigan, his 300th point for Nemo coming on his 100th senior club appearance.
Nemo showed that they were taking no chances when they positioned seven players across the goal line before Michael Quinlivan tapped over a consolation score from a free for the Clonmel team with six minutes remaining.
Nemo added late scores through substitute Kevin Fulignati and Mark Cronin's free, but their 17th Munster title had been wrapped up long before then.
The signs that the pattern this final would follow were evident from an early stage, despite Commercials taking the lead through Jason Lonergan's free in the second minute.
Luke Connolly equalised and the same player curled the ball over the bar from a free in the 11th minute. It was a lead they never surrendered, as Connolly went on to finish the game with a personal tally of seven points, one more than the entire Commercials team scored all afternoon, while his total of five points from play almost matched Commercials' score.
Nemo had three glimpses of goal in the opening half, in contrast to the Clonmel side, who never had a sniff of a goal at any stage.
After a sweeping move up the pitch Luke Connolly palmed the ball over the bar when a goal was on in the 14th minute to put them three ahead; Paul Kerrigan had handpassed the ball straight at Commercials goalie Michael O'Reilly from a similar position seven minutes earlier.
But there was nothing straightforward about the super save that Michael O'Reilly made from Luke Connolly's goal-bound effort in the ninth minute.
Commercials were struggling to impose their game on Nemo and shots from Michael Quinlivan and Sean O'Connor that were blocked down were symptomatic of the difficulties they were experiencing, especially in attack.
They received a boost from a Ross Peters point after Sean O'Connor and Jason Lonergan had combined in the 20th minute. And after Mark Cronin converted a Nemo free the Clonmel side hit back again through Seamus Kennedy in the 22nd minute, after Michael Quinlivan had picked him out with a peach of a pass.
That meant Commercials were just two points adrift of Nemo after 22 minutes. However the Cork team quickly regained control with two points from Conor Horgan and Kevin O'Donovan.
The margin might have been only four points at the break but even then it was clear that Commercials would have to do something extraordinary after the turnover to pull this one out of the fire. Alas, that task proved beyond them.
Nemo now advance to play Connacht and All-Ireland champions champions Corofin in the All-Ireland semi-final next month, in a repeat of the 2018 final.
Commercials struggled to cope with their pace, teamwork and movement in a confident performance that was enhanced by the contributions of Luke Connolly, Conor Horgan, Paul Kerrigan, Mark Cronin, Jack Horgan, Stephen Cronin and James McDermott.
Clonmel Commercials: Michael O'Reilly, Danny Madigan, Liam Ryan, Cathal McGeever, Jamie Peters (vice-captain), Seamus Kennedy (0-1), Kevin Fahey, Jack Kennedy (0-1), Conal Kennedy, Kevin Harney, Colman Kennedy, Ross Peters (0-2), Jason Lonergan (0-1 free), Michael Quinlivan (0-1 free) and Sean O'Connor.
Substitutes: Padraic Looram for Colman Kennedy (half-time), Ryan Lambe for Conal Kennedy (41 minutes), Richie Gunne for Ross Peters (54 minutes), Donal Lynch (captain) for Danny Madigan (58 minutes) and Michael Murphy for Kevin Harney (60 minutes).
Nemo Rangers: Micheal Aodh Martin, Brian Murphy, Aidan O'Reilly, Alan Cronin, Kevin O'Donovan (0-1), Stephen Cronin, Jack Horgan, Alan O'Donovan, James McDermott, Luke Connolly (0-7, 2 frees), Paul Kerrigan (0-1), Colin O'Brien, Mark Cronin (0-3 frees), Barry O'Driscoll (captain, 0-1) and Conor Horgan (0-1).
Substitutes: Ciaran Dalton for Colin O'Brien (51 minutes), Kevin Fulignati (0-1) for Barry O'Driscoll (58 minutes), Ronan Dalton for Jack Horgan (60 minutes), Brian Twomey for Conor Horgan (60 minutes) and Kieran Histon for Brian Murphy (60 minutes).
Referee: Padraig O'Sullivan (Kerry).

For more Tipperary sport read Sean Treacys win their fourth West Tipp Junior A Football title