Saturday 17th May 2003
Fethard edge out Commercials in low key affair
South Senior Football Championship
Fethard 0-7, Commercials 0-5
- The eagerly awaited clash of County Senior Football Champions Commercials and the South Champions Fethard in the opening game of the Clonmel Oil SF Championship proved a major disappointment at a wintry Kilsheelan on Sunday 11th May. Both sides looked committed and the issue was contested right up to the final whistle but the standard of football left a lot to be desired and other than the closeness of the scoring there was little for the fair sized attendance to enthuse about.
To be fair to the players it must be said that on a May, day borrowed from winter the greasy conditions together with frequent downpours and a bitterly cold wind made conditions extremely difficult and it must be presumed that both sides are well capable of stepping up considerably on this performance.
Fethard who were deserving winners -had reason to be satisfied enough with their display they now progress to the latter stages of the competition but County Champions Commercials must now regroup and prepare for advancement via the back door.
Fethard faced the wind in the opening half and Commercials who fielded without a number of regulars had the best of the early exchanges. They missed a number of early scoreable frees however and the lack of a recognised marksman on the day cost them dearly. It was Fethard who opened the scoring with a John Paul Looby point in the sixth minute but Ian Cleary equalised from play two minutes later. Glen Burke and Paul O'Mahoney exchanged good points from play and the pattern was maintained as John Paul Looby and Ian Cleary swapped scores. Commercials lived dangerously in the 20th minute when an Aidan Fitzgerald solo run split their defence and a shot from Brian Coen rebounded to Glen Burke who blazed wide from close range. John Paul Looby again edged The Blues back in front with a pointed free but Paul O'Mahoney had Commercials on terms at the break following a magnificent point from the sideline.
The game was won and lost in the early minutes of the second period as Fethard went two points clear with scores from sub Michael Dillon and Willie Morrissey. They continued to have the best of the exchanges but a resolute Commercials defence held out well. At the other end and sporadic Commercials' raids failed to trouble the Fethard rearguard and we waited until the 43rd minute for a further score a John Paul Looby point from play. Benny Walsh came on as a sub for the Clonmel side and made an immediate impression but the Clonmel forwards squandered a number of useful scoring opportunities. As the conditions deteriorated we had to wait until the 58th minute for the next and as it turned out the final score. - Commercials only flag of the half an Ian Cleary point. For the Clonmel men it proved a swan song as Fethard held out in the closing stages to claim a victory that was just about deserved.
The winners owed much to the scoring prowess of John Paul Looby who claimed four of the seven points. Aidan Fitzgerald and P.J. Ahearne controlled the midfield area for much of the hour whilst goalie Paul Fitzgerald, Willie Morrissey and Cian Maher were always to the fore.
On the Commercials side Philly Ryan, between the posts, sub Benny Walsh, Ian Cleary and Paudie O'Keeffe were best.
Scores for Fethard: John Paul Looby (0-4), Glen Burke, Michael Dillon and Willie Morrissey (0-1) each.
Commercials: Ian Cleary (0-3), Paul O'Mahoney (0-2).
Fethard: Paul Fitzgerald, Mick Murphy, Michael Ahearne, Damien Byrne, Tomas Kane, Cian Maher, Stephen O'Donnell, Aidan Fitzgerald, P.J. Ahearne, Willie Morrissey, John Paul Looby, Glen Burke, Conor McCarthy, Brian Coen, Michael Spillane.
Commercials: Philly Ryan, Liam Murphy, Kevin Kelly, Fergal Condon, Fergus O'Callaghan, Tommy Kelly, Sean O'Loughlin, Liam Phelan, Eamonn Hanrahan, John Harney, Paudie O'Keeffe, Paul O'Mahoney, James Power, Keith Fahey, Ian Cleary. Sub: Benny Walsh.
- Referee: Seamus Roche.