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Clonmel Commercials boss Charlie McGeever.
Clonmel Commercials boss Charlie McGeever.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

'The linesman says to me that's the nail, I said well the coffin's not closed yet'

Even the linesman thought the game was up for Clonmel Commercials on Sunday.
Nov 2nd 2015, 4:00 PM 9,904 0

THE GAME LOOKED up for Clonmel Commercials with five minutes remaining in yesterday’s AIB Munster senior club football quarter-final.

Former Limerick star Stephen Kelly had banged over a couple of long-range frees for Newcastle West to establish a four-point advantage with time running out.

Commercials were 0-6 to 1-7 down and staring a provincial exit firmly in the face.

No Tipperary team had managed to win a game in the AIB Munster SFC since 2006 and even the linesman thought the game was up, before Commercials reeled off six points in a row to seal a 0-12 to 1-7 win.

“When Kelly put over the long-range one from 40 yards I thought that was day done,” Commercials boss Charlie McGeever told The42.

“The linesman says to me that’s the nail, I said well the coffin’s not closed yet and it wasn’t.

Seamus Kennedy Seamus Kennedy kicked 0-3 for Commercials on Sunday. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“We kicked four points without getting a goal but we were well below par today and we know that.”

And yet they survived to set up a semi-final with St Joseph’s Milltown-Malbay on home soil next Sunday week.

Remarkably, yesterday’s tie was the first time that a Commercials senior team had played a championship game at their home venue, the Sportsfield, since beating Galbally in 1995.

In the 20 years since, they’ve played South divisional and county championship fixtures at neutral venues and for Commercials, this was a novel experience, one that might have affected the players, McGeever reasoned.

“I think the occasion a little bit, very young group of players, only two over the age of 30.

“Coming home to Clonmel was always going to be a big day for us. We didn’t start, struggled all through and didn’t get ahead until the last minute of the game.

Michael Quinlivan Michael Quinlivan's 45 put Commercials ahead for the first time in stoppage time. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“We’ve grown this mentality over the last few weeks between the seniors and the U21s of not feeling that we’re out of a game and I think DJ O’Dwyer in terms of training, the work put in from early March until now has shown in the end of all those games.

“We’ve always had legs to come back but we kicked some awful ball today and we have to improve on that.

“Defensively we’re doing fine, we’re conceding small amounts of scores, the goal today and the goal the last day in the second half, you can’t allow for because they were just awful.

“It’s not a defensive error as such for your back six and that’s something we have to look at.”

But Commercials survived and McGeever, who brought Tipperary’s minors to an All-Ireland final this year, believes the experience will stand to them.

“You’ve got to experience these days to put it in the tank of any team,” he added.

Charlie McGeever Charlie McGeever guided Tipperary to the All-Ireland minor football final in September. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It’s all about experience and we are that young.

“I also feel it’s about attitude and spirit and that has grown in this club for the last month or six weeks, which we never had the opportunity to do before because at underage level, we’re winning a lot of trophies but winning them handy because of the nature of the size of the town and everything else.

“There would be a question mark about the bottle of Commercials over the last number of years, we’d win matches by 15 points or we’d lose ones by a point.

“I think they’ve turned that on its head in three consecutive matches so it can’t be just pure luck.

“But we need to be more clinical, today was about our poor finishing more than anything else.”

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Jackie Cahill

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