Killenaule were in the final for the first time, and with 11 minutes to go were level with the Munster Club champions of 2015, but in the final minutes Commercials found an extra gear, goals by substitute Richie Gunne and Jamie Peters tipping a finely balanced game in their favour.
It was Commercials’ 17th title and first since 2015, and the win sees them go forward to face All-Ireland club champions Dr Crokes of Kerry in the Munster Club championship, as the Clonmel lads bid to go one better than in 2015 when they were beaten in the All-Ireland Club final.
Their championship credentials were seriously challenged by Killenaule whose performance deserved better than a seven-point defeat. However, they were left to rue some erratic shooting, particularly in the second half when they had seven wides while the game was in the melting pot.
Killenaule showed no nerves as they settled in early on to race four points clear after 11 minutes, including a 45 converted by goalkeeper Matthew O’Donnell. Commercials found their rhythm, with Jason Lonergan and Michael Quinlivan the big threats, to draw level after 18 minutes and Jack Kennedy nudged them ahead from a free five minutes later.
Further points from Quinlivan and Eoin Fitzgerald had Commercials 0-7 to 0-4 ahead at the break, having registered seven unanswered points in the second quarter.
The third quarter, however, belonged to Killenaule who steadily reeled in their opponents to draw level with a John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer point 11 minutes from the end.
The momentum was with Killenaule and a shock seemed on the cards, but Commercials kept their composure and got back in front with a Jason Lonergan free after 52 minutes.
The Killenaule kickout went astray and sub Richie Gunne slipped through for a Commercials goal to turn the game on its head. The icing on the cake came as the game drifted into injury time when corner-back Jamie Peters’ foray into attack yielded a second Commercials goal for a flattering victory margin.
A satisfying win for Commercials but not an impressive showing before 2,451 spectators, though they always looked the more likely winners.
Their greater efficiency in front of goal won the day for them with Michael Quinlivan and Jason Lonergan their key attackers. Jack Kennedy, Danny Madigan, Donal Lynch and Jamie Peters were others to have big games for them.
Wasted chances hampered Killenaule’s bid for a first title but Declan Fanning, ‘Bubbles’ O Dwyer, Paidi Feehan, Jimmy Feehan, and Kieran Bergin worked very hard throughout.
J Peters, R Gunne (1-0 each); M Quinlivan (0-4), J Lonergan(0-3, 1 free); J Kennedy (free), E Fitzgerald (0-1 each)
K Bergin (0-3, 2 frees); J O Dwyer(0-2); T Doyle, M O Donnell (free), P Codd (0-1 each).
M O Reilly; J Peters, L Ryan, D Lynch; K Fahey, D Madigan, K Harney; S Kennedy, J Kennedy; P Looram, J Lonergan, R Carroll; R Peters, M Quinlivan, E Fitzgerald
I Fahey for Carroll (h/t); R Gunne for Fitzgerald (44), R Lambe for Looran (57).
M O Donnell; S Browne, J Feehan, G O Rourke; K O Dwyer, Joe O Dwyer, L Meagher; K Bergin, P Codd; John O Dwyer, T Doyle, P Feehan; M Doyle, D Fanning, E O Connell;
Subs- E Barry for O Connell (37), E O Brien for T Doyle (44), D O Connor for K O Dwyer (57), D Guinan for Fanning (57)
D O Mahoney, Ardfinnan