Played in miserable conditions, and before a disappointing 780 attendance, Commercials fully deserved their victory, which comes on the back of three consecutive county minor titles.
In the process, Commercials reversed a defeat in last year’s semi-final at the hands of Thomas MacDonaghs, a combination drawn from six clubs in the North division.
The win sets up a date with Dr Crokes in the Munster Club championship quarter-final in a fortnight.
At the end of an uninspiring first half, the sides were level on two points apiece. Commercials opened well with points from Ian Barnes and Colman Kennedy inside 12 minutes but MacDonaghs finished the half strongly with Joe Carroll and Padraic O’Meara dragging their side level. Commercials manager, former Tipperary goalkeeper, Philly Ryan, admitted he was unhappy with this team’s first-half performance but “a few choice words at the break seemed to have the desired effect”.
Points from Aldo Matassa, and Ian Barnes (2) inside seven minutes of the restart had Commercials in the driving seat. Seamus Hennessy replied for MacDonaghs in the 39th minute but the decisive score came two minutes later as minor star, Colman Kennedy, had the game’s only goal when he finished an excellent move involving Ian Fahy, John Harney and Jason Lonergan. Philip Austin, MacDonaghs’ most influential player, tried to rally them with a point but Kennedy kept Commercials six clear with 12 minutes remaining.
The holders piled on the pressure in the closing stages, but found the Commercials defence in mean mood and their ability to score on the counter attack saw them finish a comfortable seven points clear.
A delighted Ryan admitted: “We knew we had lots of good young players but they had to prove themselves on the big stage. They did that today and they are the future of the club. We face Dr Crokes next and we will give them a rattle.” Former county minor stars Michael Quinlivan, Ian Fahy, goalscorer Kennedy and goalkeeper Evan Comerford were to the fore in this victory, along with Seamus Kennedy, Danny Madigan and the accurate Ian Barnes.
Former Tipperary player, Kevin Mulryan, coach to MacDonaghs, said: “We won the title last year and we’ll be back next year to give it another lash.”
Scorers for Commercials: C Kennedy 1-2; I Barnes (0-4,3fs), A Matassa, J Lonergan, A Lonergan(0-1) each.
Scorers for MacDonaghs: P Austin (0-2), S Hennessy, P O Meara, J Carroll (0-1 each);
CLONMEL COMMERCIALS: E Comerford; F Condon, D Lynch, C O Connell; D Madigan, S Kennedy, J Peters; K Harney, A Matassa; L Moore, C Kennedy, I Fahy; I Barnes, M Quinlivan, J Harney.
Subs: J Lonergan for Moore; R Carroll for Fahy; A Lonergan for J Harney; S Taylor for Matassa; E Hanrahan for C Kennedy;
THOMAS MACDONAGHS: J McDonnell; M Minehan, D Buckley, R Gleeson; F Hayes, N O Meara, J Carroll; L England, G Hannigan; J Gallagher, P Austin, P O Meara; D Young, S Hennessy, T Connors.
Subs: A Austin for England; A Hannigan for P O Meara; A Ryan for Young;
Referee T McGrath, Loughmore-Castleiney.