McGeever salutes Clonmel's young guns in Ruislip win
Clonmel Comm 2-12 TC Gaels 0-9
Charlie McGeever says Saturday's win over Tir Chonaill Gaels proves Clonmel have much more going for them than just their county stars.
Commercials had Tipperary star Michael Quinlivan black-carded during the first half at Ruislip but still ran out double-scores winners to set up an All-Ireland semi-final with Ballyboden St Enda's.
Quinlivan teed up Ian Fahey for a 23rd-minute goal before the full-forward and Aldo Matassa were sent to the line during a five-minute spell.
Tir Chonaill Gaels cut Clonmel's lead to two points at the break but substitute Padraig Looram put the visitors back in control 15 seconds after the restart when he found the top corner of the Tir Chonaill net.
"Some of our more established players didn't have their best days, it was the young lads who stood up well," said McGeever, the Clonmel manager. "It was a team performance and we've come away with no injuries, which is great.
"The hard work was done in the first 20 minutes where we built up a lead. The black cards were iffy enough - for the first one I thought Aldo didn't go to ground. You can argue them but at the end of the day it's another hurdle over and we can enjoy the Christmas dinner for a change."
McGeever had begun preparing for Ballyboden prior to Saturday's quarter-final and he acknowledged there is plenty of room for improvement ahead of their February 13 showdown.
"We've a bit of work done on them already but there's more to do," said the Donegal native.
"We can rest up and hopefully improve. We have to.
"All we want is a test to know how good we are. If we get beaten by Ballyboden, so be it. We want to see how far we've come because that's not the team that started last year. We're more rounded."
Clonmel played into a strong gale during the opening half at Ruislip but frustrated Tir Chonaill by controlling possession, content to pass the ball laterally until they spotted an opening in the home side's blanket defence.
Matassa and Quinlivan were influential prior to their dismissals and although Tir Chonaill cut Commercials' advantage to two points at half-time, man-of-the-match Seamus Kennedy grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and saw the Tipperary men home.
"We lost two county men to two black cards, two of our top men, and we didn't struggle," said McGeever. "We still only conceded nine points. We allowed them a little bit too much carrying at times. When we scored the first goal and went five points up against the wind, we sat back for six or seven minutes and that cost us.
"That's the sort of young fellas they are; you're going to have highs and lows and there was a period where we lacked concentration. But overall, it's now worth it. It's another step in their development."
Scorers - Clonmel Commercials: I Fahey 1-1; P Looram 1-0; P White (2f), J Lonergan (1f) 0-3 each; M Quinlivan, I Barnes, S Kennedy, J Kennedy, N Kelly 0-1 each. Tir Chonaill Gaels: S Friel (2f), A Hanlon (1f), L Gavaghan 0-2 each; M McCoy, C Magee, M Gottsche ('45) 0-1 each
Clonmel Commercials - J McDonald; F Condon, D Lynch, J Peters; I Barnes, S Kennedy, K Fahey; J Kennedy, A Matassa; L Moore, I Fahey, J Lonergan; K Harney, M Quinlivan, P White. Subs: P Looram for Matassa (25, black card), N Kelly for Quinlivan (30, black card), E Fitzgerald for Barnes (44), D Madigan for Looram (50), R Peters for Fahey (56)
Tir Chonaill Gaels - D Traynor; P Butler, R Breen, B Atarnsey; G Magee, E McConville, M McCoy; M Gottsche, L Gavaghan; A Askin, C Magee, N Boyle; A McDermott, S Friel, A Hanlon. Subs: B Collins for McAtarnsey (20), B Ross for G Magee (44), B Duddy for Hanlon (47), J McGrath for Breen (57, black card)
Ref - P Neilan (Roscommon)