The 2012 County Senior Football Championship
Clonmel Commercials won their first senior football title in ten years when they defeated reigning champions, Thomas MacDonaghs, by 1-9 to 0-5 at Semple Stadium on November 4. Following a pedestrian first half, at the end of which the sides had managed only two points each, Commercials upped their performance and a goal, eleven minutes into the second-half, when only two points separated the sides, set Commercials on the road to victory. The North representatives continued to battle hard for the remainder of the game but they failed to get the goal that would have ignited their rally and helped them to retain their crown. In the end the winners, with an important sprinkling of players from their successful three-in-a-row minor sides on board, fully deserved their seven-point victory.
Nineteen teams affiliated in the senior football championship for the O'Dwyer Cup. The competition was run on an open draw basis with the four winners from the separately-run divisional championships coming in at the quarter-final stage.
There was a preliminary round in order to reduce the number of teams to sixteen. This round of three games was played in June. Two games were played on June 1. Killenaule defeated Galtee Rovers by 2-10 to 0-10 at Cashel, and Eire Óg defeated Kilsheelan-Kilcash by 3-15 to 1-10 at New Inn. The third game was played at Templemore on June 13, when Loughmore-Castleiney were too good for Thomas MacDonaghs on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-5.
Round 1 of the championship proper, between the three winners of the preliminary rounds and the thirteen remaining teams, was played between the end of July and the end of September. The long delay in completing the round was due to the hold-up in the West championship.
The first game was played at Dundrum on July 29. Cahir had a narrow victory by 1-19 to 3-12 for Fr. John Kenyon's, the second of the two group teams from the North to affiliate.
Two games were scheduled for the weekend of August 5/6. J. K. Brackens received a walkover from Carrick Swans at Cashel. In the second game Commercials defeated Aherlow by 1-11 to 1-8 at Cahir.
Three games were played on the weekend of August 10/11. At Littleton Killenaule scored a record victory over Moyne-Templetuohy by 7-11 to 0-3 on August 10. Moyle Rovers had an equally facile victory over Clonmel Óg by 4-16 to 0-5 in a double fixture at Clonmel on August 11. The second game was much closer with Fethard just pipping Ardfinnan by 0-11 to 0-10,
The seventh game in the round was played at Gortnahoe on August 21 with Loughmore-Castleiney defeating Mullinahone by 0-13 to 1-3.
Over a month was to elapse before the final game was played. Arravale Rovers defeated Eire Óg by the minimum of margins on a scoreline of 0-9 to 0-8 at Lattin on September 29.
Round 2 saw the eight winners in Round 1 reduced to four. Again it took a long time, seven weeks in fact, to complete this round. Killenaule defeated J. K. Brackens by 1-12 to 0-10 at Dundrum on August 21. Commercials defeated Cahir by 0-14 to 1-9 at Ardfinnan on September 2. The next game wasn't played until September 28 when Loughmore-Castleiney defeated Fethard by 1-6 to 1-5 at Littleton. The final game was played on October 7 when Arravale Rovers defeated Moyle Rovers by 1-12 to 1-11 at Cahir.
In the quarter-finals the four divisional winners were to play the four winners from Round 2, with divisional winners kept apart. However, the competition regulations stated that if a team won a division final and also won Round 2 of the county championship, that team would progress to the semi-final.
The winners of the divisional finals were as follows: North – Thomas MacDonaghs; South – Killenaule; Mid – Loughmore-Castleiney; West – Eire Óg. Two of these teams, Killenaule and Loughmore-Castleiney, were dual winners and so progressed to the semi-finals.
This left four teams to contest two quarter-finals. Both were played on October 20. At The Ragg Thomas MacDonaghs and Eire Óg were level at the end of normal time and were still tied at 1-12 to 2-9 after the extra time. In the second game, played at Cahir, Commercials defeated Eire Óg by 0-14 to 0-8. In the replay of the first game at Templetuohy on October 26, Thomas MacDonaghs defeated Eire Óg by 0-10 to 0-7.
The semi-finals were played on the weekend of October 28/29. In the first of these games Commercials defeated Loughmore-Castleiney by 4-11 to 4-9 in a high-scoring game after extra time at Cashel. At the end of normal time and indeed into added time Commercials led by six points and seemed certain of victory. But two goals by Liam McGrath from close-in frees in the 62nd and 64th minutes won a most unlikely draw for Loughmore-Castleiney The score at full-time was 4-7 each.
Commercials, favoured by the breeze in the first half, led by 2-5 to 1-4 at half-time. Extra time had to be played. At half-time Commercials led by 4-9 to 4-8 having played with the breeze and Loughmore's chances looked the brighter but Commercials got two more points against the breeze to Loughmore's one and won by 4-11 to 4-9.
In the second game, played at Templemore, Thomas MacDonaghs, whose two games against Eire Óg in the quarter-final had brought them on dramatically as a team, got the better of Killenaule and won by 1-5 to 0-6. There were two key moments in this game. Philip Austin goaled from a penalty in the twelfth minute of the game after he was fouled in the goal area. This enabled MacDonaghs to lead by 1-4 to 0-4 at the interval. Then in the forty-second minute John O'Dwyer of Killenaule was red-carded and even though the result was to ignite the Killenaule challenge, they found scores difficult to come by and were behind by 1-5 to 0-6 at the final whistle.
The final, between Commercials and Thomas MacDonaghs, was played at Semple Stadium before 780 spectators on November 4. It was an un usual pairing between the holders, a combination team drawn from seven clubs in the North division, not regarded as a stronghold of football, and the traditionalists, Clonmel Commercials, coming from the footballing end of the county. The latter were hoping to get back on track with a victory after ten years in the wilderness, while the MacDonaghs were striving to emulate the achievements of a previous North selection, which won back to back titles in 1958 and 1959.
The first half was a dull affair with Commercials getting the first two points by Ian Barnes and Colman Kennedy and MacDonaghs not scoring until the twenty-second minute, when Joe Carroll scored. Padraic O'Meara added a second before the interval to leave the sides level at two points each.
Commercials resumed a different outfit and added three points through Aldo Matassa and Ian Barnes (2) in a seven-minute spell. MacDonaghs responded with a Seamus Hennessy point but then came Colman Kennedy's fine goal followed by another Barnes point and Commercials were now leading by 1-6 to 0-3 entering the last quarter. With ten minutes to go they were still six points ahead and while MacDonaghs tried their best they found scores very difficult to come by and, perhaps, tried too hard to work a goal when points were there for the taking.
Commercials stayed in front and substitute, Alan Lonergan, had their last point to give them a 1-9 to 0-5 victory and their fifteenth county title.
Colman Kennedy's display with 1-2 was crucial to Commercials success and others to influence the result were Seamus Kennedy, Danny Madigan, Kevin Harney, Ian Fahy, Ian Barnes and Michael Quinlivan.
Although MacDonaghs enjoyed a reasonable amount of possession they got a poor return in their number of scores. Best for them were Philip Austin, Seamus Hennessy, David Buckley, Fergal Hayes and Tommy Connors.
Clonmel Commercials: Evan Comerford, Fergal Condon (capt.), Donal Lynch, Ciaran O'Connell, Danny Madigan, Seamus Kennedy, Jamie Peters, Kevin Harney, Aldo Matassa (0-1), Luke Moore, Colman Kennedy (1-2), Ian Fahy, Ian Barnes (0-4), Michael Quinlivan, John Harney. Subs: Jason Lonergan (0-1) for Luke Moore, Richy Carroll for Ian Fahy, Alan Lonergan (0-1) for John Harney, Shane Taylor for Aldo Matassa, Eamon Hanrahan for Colman Kennedy. Also: Paul Nolan, Brian O'Hara, Stephen Buckley, Colm Nolan, Noel O'Mahoney, Shane Power, Brian Walsh, Kevin Fahy, Conor Walsh, Niall Kelly, Fergal O'Callaghan.
Management team: Philly Ryan (manager), David Kennedy (trainer), David Lavin (selector), Anthony Shelley (selector), Martin Quinlivan (selector). Backroom team: Hugh Daly, Davey Fitzgerald. Kit: Eddie Hanrahan.
Thomas MacDonaghs: Jim McDonnell (Inane Rovers), (joint capt.), Martin Minehan (Kildangan), David Buckley (Inane Rovers), Ruairi Gleeson (Kildangan), Fergal Hayes (Kildangan), Niall O'Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs), Joe Carroll (Inane Rovers), (0-1), Liam England (Inane Rovers), (joint capt.), George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers), Joe Gallagher (Kildangan), Philip Austin (Borrisokane), (0-2), Padraic O'Meara (Shannon Rovers), (0-1), David Young (Toomevara), Seamus Hennessy (Kilruane MacDonaghs), (0-1), Tommy Connors (Kildangan). Subs: Andrew Austin (Borrisokane) for Liam England, Alan Hannigan (Shannon Rovers) for Padraic O'Meara, Aaron Ryan (Inane Rovers) for David Young. Also: Keith McMahon (Inane Rovers), Shane Dooley (Borrisokane), Rory Whelan (Kildangan), Diarmuid Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs), Peter McSherry (Borrisokane), Declan Barrett (Kilrua ne MacDonaghs), Jack Loughnane (Kildangan), Tadhg Gallagher (Kildangan)
Management team: Chris Conway, Kevin Mulryan, Paddy O'Flaherty, Pat Murphy, Ollie Hennelly, Joe Hannigan. Physio: Jimmy Cunningham. Backroom: Viv Dooley, Declan Russell, Paddy Heenan, Shane Brophy.
Man of the Match: Colman Kennedy (Commercials)
Referee: Tom McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney).
Senior Football Championship at a Glance
01/06/2012 Cashel Killenaule 2.10 Galtee Rovers 0.10 Michael Duffy
01/06/2012 New Inn Eire Óg Anacarty 3.15 Kilsheelan Kilcash 1.10 Sean Lonergan
13/06/2012 Templemore Loughmore Castleiney 1.10 Thomas MacDonaghs 0.05 Derek O'Mahoney
29/07/2012 Pairc Ciocaim Cahir 1.19 Fr. John Kenyon's 3.12 Brian Tyrell
05/08/2012 Cashel JK Brackens W/O Carrick Swans SCR Brian Tyrell
06/08/2012 Cahir Commercials 1.11 Aherlow 1.08 Paddy Russell
10/08/2012 Littleton Killenaule 7.11 Moyne Templetuohy 0.03 Tom McGrath
11/08/2012 Clonmel Moyle Rovers 4.16 Clonmel Óg 0.05 Derek O'Mahoney
11/08/2012 Clonmel Fethard 0.11 Ardfinnan 0.10 David Grogan
21/08/2012 Gortnahoe Loughmore Castleiney 0.13 Mullinahone 1.03 Sean Lonergan
29/09/2012 Lattin Arravale Rovers 0.09 Eire Óg Anacarty 0.08 Derek O'Mahoney
21/08/2012 Kickham Pk Killenaule 1.12 JK Brackens 0.10 Michael Duffy
02/09/2012 Ardfinnan Commercials 0.14 Cahir 1.09 Keith O'Brien
28/09/2012 Littleton Loughmore Castleiney 1.06 Fethard 1.05 Michael Duffy
07/10/2012 Cahir Arravale Rovers 1.12 Moyle Rovers 1.11 David Grogan
20/10/2012 The Ragg Thomas McDonagh's 1.12 Eire Óg Anacarty 2.0 Keith O'Brien AET
20/10/2012 Cahir Commericals 0.14 Arravale Rovers 0.08 Tom McGrath
Quarter Final Replay
26/10/2012 Templetuohy Thomas McDonagh's 0.10 Éíre Óg Anacarty 0.07 Tom McGrath
28/10/2012 Cashel Commercials 4.11 Loughmore Castleiney 4.09 Derek O'Mahoney
29/10/2012 Templemore Thomas McDonagh's 1.05 Killenaule 0.06 David Grogan
04/11/2012 Semple Stadium Commercials 1.09 Thomas McDonagh's 0.05 Tom McGrath
Tipperary G.A.A. Yearbook 2013, pp. 76-79