Newcastle West aiming to avenge Munster defeat of 2015 to eventual champions Clonmel Commercials

Newcastle West aim for a first provincial final spot since they were beaten in the final by Nemo Rangers 45-years ago.

Newcastle West meet Clonmel Commercials in the AIB Munster Club Senior Football semi-final this Sunday hoping to reach a first provincial final since 1987.

That loss to Nemo Rangers was their only ever appearance in the Munster decider with the six time Limerick kingpins preparing for a fourth trip into the province since 2015.

The winners this Sunday in Semple Stadium will set up a final clash between either Kerry representatives Kerins O’Rahillys or Clare champions Eire Og who will meet in the other semi-final at Austin Stack Park in Tralee at the same time.

Standing in their way is Clonmel Commercials who overcame the Magpies seven years ago en route to claiming their only ever title.

These two sides have previous history and many will remember the 2015 classic between the two sides where Clonmel overcame a four-point deficit with five minutes remaining to run out 0-12 to 1-7 winners after stoppage time.

Iain Corbett, in the build up to this game as referred to the encounter as a ‘regret’ with the Tipp side going on to win the provincial crown for the first time in their fifth final appearance.

1 November 2015; Shaun Browne, Newcastlewest, reacts after defeat to Clonmel Commercials. AIB Munster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Final, Clonmel Commercials v Newcastlewest. Clonmel Sportsfield, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Seven years ago, despite ceding home advantage to Commercials, Newcastle West found themselves 1-7 to 0-6 ahead with five minutes remaining. A pair of long range Stephen Kelly frees put them four clear with Jamie Lee raising the games only green flag on three minutes as they led by one a the interval.

However, Kelly’s frees were to be their final scores as Clonmel hit six on the trot to steal victory from the Limerick champions who had ended a 23 year wait for county honours.

Aldo Matassa brought the sides within a score before a free from Ian Barnes coupled with points from Pádraig Looram and Seamus Kennedy had the teams level.

Paul Hannon had the chance to restore Newcastle West’s advantage but his shot rebounded off the post after he was set free one on one with the Clonmel net minder.

At the other end, Michael Quinlivan finally gave the Tipp side the advantage after firing over a fortuitous 45′. Kennedy ensured their final spot with a sixth successive score deep into injury time.

In the decider, against a highly fancied Nemo Rangers side, Clonmel once again left it late as they stunned the roll of honour leaders with a last minute Quinlivan goal sealing a maiden title.

1 Novemeber 2015; Michael Quinlivan, Clonmel Commercials, in action against Michael O’Leary, left, and Brian O’Sullivan, Newcastlewest. AIB Munster GAA Senior Club Football Championship Quarter-Final, Clonmel Commercials v Newcastlewest. Clonmel Sportsfield, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

The Tipperary side lost their county championship title to Loughmore Castleiney the following year but returned to the Munster campaign in 2017 where they were beaten by eventual All-Ireland champions Dr Crokes in the quarters. Two years later and a win over St Josephs Miltown Malbay ensured another Munster final with Nemo Rangers. But the Cork outfit proved too strong with a 0-15 to 0-6 win ensuring a 17th Munster crown.

They missed out on the chance to represent Tipperary in Munster in 2020 with the provincial championships falling foul of the pandemic. But after losing their title to Loughmore Castleiney in 2021, they replied in style with a dominant campaign this time around before sending their notice with a comprehensive win over Nemo in the semi-finals.

Since their defeat of the Limerick champions in 2015, Newcastle West have reached the provincial series on two separate occasions. Following the disappointment of that loss to Clonmel, the West side pushed Nemo Rangers all the way in the 2019 Munster semi-final before falling to a 1-9 to 0-9 defeat in Mallow. As mentioned, the Cork side went on to beat Clonmel in the decider.

Two years later and Newcastle West would finally collect a coveted Munster championship victory, their first since the semi-final in 1987. Paired with the Nire, the Limerick outfit used home advantage to their benefit with an 0-8 to 0-6 win in Newcastle West. However, a trip to Tralee proved a bridge too far with Austin Stacks proving too strong in a 1-15 to 0-8 result.

19 December 2021; Bryan Nix of Newcastlewest during the AIB Munster GAA Football Senior Club Football Championship Semi-Final match between Austin Stacks and Newcastle West at Austin Stack Park in Tralee, Kerry. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Nonetheless, the monkey is off the back for Newcastle West with almost all of the side tasting a provincial win twelve months ago. And with the defeat of 2015 still a driving force, the Limerick outfit will be keen on making up for lost time against the championship favourites.

Newcastle West take on Clonmel Commercials in the Munster Senior Club Football Championship semi-final this Sunday at 1pm in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

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