Commercials dig deep to clinch final spot

Clonmel Commercials 4-11 Loughmore-Castleiney 4-9 (AET)

Leading by two goals with time running out, Clonmel were rocked by a brace of goals from 14-metre frees by former Tipperary All-Ireland winning captain Liam McGrath, which saw Loughmore level the scores (4-7 each).

Commercials were the better side all through. A Michael Quinlivan goal after ten minutes set them up, and though Liam McGrath netted a penalty three minutes later when John McGrath was fouled, Ian Barnes had a Commercials goal in the 24th minute to give them a 2-5 to 1-4 interval lead.

Paul Brennan’s goal in the 41st minute brought Loughmore level but two goals in two minutes by Michael Quinlivan and Ian Fahey gave Commercials a commanding 4-7 to 2-5 lead with ten minutes to play.

Loughmore were down to 14 men, having had Tom King red-carded in the 38th minute, but they rallied magnificently, Liam McGrath completing an incredible hat-trick with two goals from 14-metre frees to send the game to extra-time. To add to Commercials misery, they had Niall Kelly red-carded just at the finish.

Eight minutes into extra-time, Commercials had John Harney sidelined but they forged ahead by a point, 4-9 to 4-8 at the break. Shane Hennessy levelled for Loughmore in the second half, but points by Ian Barnes and Colman Kennedy sealed a place in the final for Commercials.

Barnes was the Clonmel hero, scoring 1-6, 1-2 from play, but Seamus Kennedy, Michael Quinlivan, sub Colman Kennedy and goalkeeper Evan Comerford were others to shine. For Loughmore, David McGrath in goal, John Meagher, Noel McGrath, David Kennedy and hat-trick man, Liam McGrath were most prominent.

CLONMEL COMMERCIALS: E Comerford; D Madigan, D Lynch, F Condon; J Peters, S Kennedy, S Taylor; A Matassa, K Harney(0-1); I Fahey(1-0), N Kelly(0-1), R Carroll; I Barnes(1-6), M Quinlivan(2-1), J Harney.

Subs: L Moore for Condon; C Kennedy(0-2) for Carroll; J Lonergan for Taylor.

LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY: D McGrath; T King, J Meagher, T Long; A McGrath, K McGrath, W Eviston; N McGrath, D Kennedy; E Sweeney, L Treacy(0-2), C Hennessy; L McGrath(3-3, all frees), P Brennan (1-0), J McGrath(0-2).

Subs: J Nyland for Sweeney; D Bourke for Hennessy; T McGrath for Brennan; S Hennessy for J McGrath; J Scully for A McGrath.

Referee: D O’Mahoney, Ardfinnan

* Holders Thomas MacDonaghs play Killenaule in the second semi-final at Templemore today, 2.30

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