Clonmel Commercials needed late goals from Richie Gunne and Jamie Peters to land a 17th Tipperary Water county senior football championship title, writesfrom Semple Stadium in Thurles.
First-time finalists Killenaule were level with ten minutes left at 0-8 apiece when county hurling star John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer pointed, and sensing an upset.
But in front of 2,451 spectators at Semple Stadium, Commercials had enough about them to get over the line by seven points.
A poor restart gave Commercials the break the needed with seven minutes left, and sub Richie Gunne showed fine soccer skills to find the net.
In stoppage time, Jamie Peters made the game safe as he registered a second Commercials goal.
Charlie McGeever’s charges, who were Munster champions two years ago, will play reigning provincial and All-Ireland kingpins Dr. Crokes in a fortnight’s time.
In greasy conditions, Killenaule raced into a 0-4 to 0-0 lead within 12 minutes but Commercials, settled and were 0-7 to 0-4 clear at half-time.
All-Star Michael Quinlivan scored three of the first half points for Commercials, who didn’t get off the mark until the 14th minute when the full-forward fisted the ball over the bar.
Commercials hit the front for the first time in the 24th minute and were good value for a three-point interval lead.
They were three points up again, 0-8 to 0-5, early in the second half but a Killenaule revival saw Kieran Bergin land two points frees, before O’Dwyer drew them level.
It was nervy stuff from a Commercials viewpoint but Jason Lonergan’s free had them 0-9 to 0-8 clear – before Killenaule gifted them a goal.
Matthew O’Donnell’s short kick-out was pounced upon by Gunne, who dodged a defender before rifling home.
A goal for Peters at the death was the icing on the cake for Commercials, who justified their status as pre-match favourites.
Scorers for Commercials – M Quinlivan 0-4, R Gunne & J Peters 1-0 each, J Lonergan 0-3 (2f), J Kennedy (f) & E Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
Scorers for Killenaule – K Bergin 0-3 (2f), John O’Dwyer 0-2, M O’Donnell (45), P Codd & T Doyle (f) 0-1 each.
Commercials – M O’Reilly; J Peters, L Ryan, D Lynch; K Fahey, D Madigan, K Harney; S Kennedy, J Kennedy; P Looram, R Peters, J Lonergan; E Fitzgerald, M Quinlivan, R Carroll.
Subs – I Fahey for Carroll (h.t.), R Gunne for Fitzgerald (45), R Lambe for Looram (59).
Killenaule – 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 – Eoin Barry for O’Connell (38), Eddie O’Brien for T Doyle (45), D Guinan for Fanning (58), D O’Connor for K O’Dwyer (58).
Ref – D O’Mahoney (Ardfinnan)