GAA round-up: Clonmel Commercials make history

Michael Quinlivan, Clonmel Commercials, celebrates scoring the winning goal
Michael Quinlivan, Clonmel Commercials, celebrates scoring the winning goal

Football history was created in Mallow in the most dramatic of circumstances today when a goal in the second minute of injury time from Tipperary star Michael Quinlivan earned his club Clonmel Commericals a dramatic win in the Munster club final.

Competition specialists Nemo Rangers looked to have secured a sixteenth provincial title when a point from Jack Horgan put the Cork champions two clear in the 61st minute. 

But Quinlivan has a habit of scoring crucial goals in big matches – his penalty goal in the 2011 All-Ireland minor final for Tipp against Dublin proved a key score as well. Yet the impact of his latest effort was much more profound.

Time was virtually up and it looked like another case of so close and yet so far away from silverware for the Tipperary champions who had previously lost Munster finals in 1966, 1971, 1990 and 1994.

However, in one final assault on the Nemo Rangers’ goal via route one Quinlivan gained possession and found the net to give his side a priceless one-point lead (1-7 to 0-9). Nemo scarcely had time to take the kick-out before referee Rory Hickey sounded the final whistle.

For the first time in the half century history of the competition a Tipperary club had secured the title.

Apart from Clonmel’s four previous losses, Moyle Rovers, Fethard and Loughmore Castleiney had all suffered final defeats in the competition.

But all those setbacks were forgotten in the gloom as Tipperary football celebrated another significant breakthrough. They laid the groundwork for this win in the first half when they restricted Nemo – who were playing with the aid of a gale force breeze – to five points and scored five themselves.

Their key player Quinlivan added two early points in the second half but Nemo finally found their rhythm in the final 20 minutes. Cork star Paul Kerrigan drove them forward. He hit the post with a goal chance.

For most of the period it looked as if the miss wouldn’t be significant. 

After Clonmel missed a 45 metre free to retake the lead Nemo cleverly worked the ball upfield from the subsequent kick out and Kerrigan gave them the lead for the first time in the half.

When Horgan hit their fourth consecutive point in injury time to give them a two-point advantage Clonmel looked to have blown their chance but then came Quinlivan’s dramatic intervention which decided the issue.

Meanwhile, in Carlow, history was also created as Oulart the Ballagh won the Leinster club hurling title for the first time.

Having lost four of the last five provincial deciders the Wexford champions were rated as underdogs against Cuala, despite the Dublin champions' lack of experience at this level.

Throughout the campaign, Cuala’s ability to score goals have been the key to their success but once Oulart denied them the oxygen of goals they struggled.

Instead it was Oulart the Ballagh who got the goals on either side of half time which effectively decided the game. 

For most of the first half Oulart struggled to take advantage of the gale force breeze at their backs. But on the stroke of half time Thomas Dunne hit a goal which gave his side a 1-7 to 0-2 advantage at the break.

Any chance of a Cuala comeback was effectively scuppered in the third quarter as the Wexford side outscored Cuala 1-3 to 0-4.

The Dublin champions did battle bravely during the rest of the contest with David Treacy to the fore. 

They outscored Oulart  0-7 to 0-3 during the rest of the half but once the Wexford side didn’t concede a goal they were safe.  

They are the first Wexford club to win the provincial title since Rathnure in 1998.

Crossmaglen Rangers are back as kingpins of Ulster club football after a pulsating Ulster final under lights at the Athletic Grounds in Armagh.

The Armagh kingpins squeezed past Monaghan champions Scotstown after a dramatic contest which went to extra time.

It was Cross’ eleventh win in the series since 1996 and their first since 2012. Their 2-17 to 2-12 victory means they have maintained their remarkable record of having never lost an Ulster final.

They now meet Connacht champions Castlebar Mitchels in the All-Ireland semi-final in February.

Everything was remarkable about this game including the attendance of 8,694 who braved the foul elements to watch a classic.

First blood went to Scotstown who were bidding for their fifth title and their first since 1989 with an early goal from Darren Hughes. 

But Tony Kernan took full advantage of a mistake in the Scotstown rearguard to fire home Cross' first goal and the Armagh champions were 1-6 to 1-3 ahead at the break.

Scotstown staged a spirited fightback in the second half to level the tie 1-12 each at the death. Monaghan goalkeeper Rory Beggan had a chance to win it with a long distance free at the end but Crossmaglen scrambled the ball clear.

By then the Armagh side were down to 14 men following the dismissal of Danny O’Callaghan five minutes before the end. However, Cross were able to replace O’Callaghan for extra time leaving them with 15 players again.

Nothing went right for the underdogs in extra time - Kieran Hughes received a straight red card but they were still hanging on.

Then after a David McKenna point for Cross, Scotstown goalkeeper Rory Beggan took a quick kick out which went disastrously wrong and Kyle Carragher scored an opportunistic goal to put his side 2-14 to 1-12 ahead.

Brian McGinnity did pull back a goal for Scotstown at the death but two late points from the Kernan brothers Tony and Arron (free) secured a famous win for Cross.

Munster Club SFC Final: Clonmel Commercials (Tipperary 1-7; Nemo Rangers (Cork) 0-9)
Leinster Club SHC Final: Oulart The Ballagh (Wexford) 2-13; Cuala (Dublin) 0-13