Clonmel Commercials’ bid for a second Munster title is very much on track after a late, late show advanced them to another provincial day out against Nemo Rangers for a repeat of the 2015 decider that the Premier County kingpins won with virtually the last kick of the ball.
More heroics were needed at the death here as the runaway Tipperary champions came from two adrift inside the last five minutes to eke out a two-point victory over a crestfallen Miltown side that were buoyed up throughout by their raucous home support.
It was the Kennedys that provided the inspiration when it was needed, with brothers Conal and Jack firing over inspirational points from play either side of another brilliant effort from distance by Seamus Kennedy that finally broke Miltown’s stern resistance.
The Clare champions had been the better team for most of the hour. They took advantage of the wind to make a flying start with a brace of points inside two minutes before deservedly leading 0-6 to 0-3 at the interval as the Cleary and Kelly brothers as well as Oisin Looney landed points.
The hosts then held out for the third quarter when facing the wind, only for the momentum to slowly shift Clonmel’s way thanks to couple of Jason Lonergan frees left just a point between them with ten minutes remaining.
Then after Miltown’s only score of half on 55 minutes via a Conor Cleary free came the Clonmel’s rush of points, with each white flag being more important than what went before as they survived a real test of character in West Clare.
J Lonergan (0-2f), J Kennedy (0-2, 1f), M Quinlivan (0-1), Conal Kennedy (0-1), Colman Kennedy (0-1f), S Kennedy (0-1), K Fahey (0-1).
C Cleary (0-3, 2f), Graham Kelly (0-1), Gordon Kelly (0-1), O Looney (0-1), E Cleary (0-1f).
M O’Reilly; D Madigan, L Ryan, C McKeever; K Fahey, J Peters, S Kennedy; J Kennedy, Conal Kennedy; P Looram, M Quinlivan, R Peters; Colman Kennedy; S O’Connor, J Lonergan.
Kevin Harney for Looram (Half-Time), R Lambe for Fahey (48), R Gunne for Peters (52), P Looram for Conal Kennedy (60).
S O’Brien; E O’Gorman, S Malone, E O’Brien; A McGuane, Gordon Kelly, G Curtin; O Looney, C Cleary; K Malone, E Cleary, M Murray; B Curtin, C Murray, Graham Kelly.
J O’Connor for Graham Kelly (39), E Reidy for G Curtin (42), G Malone for M Murray (59), Graham Kelly for K Malone (66).
James Bermingham (Cork)