Friday 15 December 2017

Quinlivan's new goal to build on Nemo mayhem

Ballyboden St Enda’s Andrew Kerin (left) with Michael Quinlivan of Clonmel Commercials. Photo: Sportsfile
Ballyboden St Enda’s Andrew Kerin (left) with Michael Quinlivan of Clonmel Commercials. Photo: Sportsfile

Clonmel Commercials are not in the business of looking back - this All-Ireland semi-final week of all weeks - but Michael Quinlivan still can't avoid questions about that goal last November.

The goal that poleaxed Nemo Rangers in injury-time, propelling Clonmel into the history books as Tipperary's first AIB Munster club SFC winners.

"I don't really remember what happened after the goal - I've seen a lot of pictures of me with a big stupid head on me," Quinlivan smiles. "The goal seems a lot quicker to me in my head than it does when I watch it on the telly which is strange ... then, sure, it was just mayhem. The place went haywire."

And it stayed that way for a while, even though players had to quickly refocus on the potential banana skin of an All-Ireland quarter-final in London, against Tir Chonaill Gaels.

"People stopping you in the street, people coming up to you - that sort of stuff doesn't happen to footballers especially, in Tipperary let alone in Clonmel," Quinlivan admits. "The buzz around the place for two or three days was just incredible. There were cameras down, the place was just hopping and everybody wanted to be a part of it.

"Hopefully, in maybe 10 years' time, a little lad who is six or seven will look at that and think 'I want to play football now' instead of something else. That might be the legacy."

Legacies can wait, however, because if Commercials are to continue on their iconoclastic way to St Patrick's Day, they must slay another Goliath in Portlaoise this Saturday. Ballyboden St Enda's name doesn't resonate like Nemo's (they, too, are first-time provincial winners) but they are Dublin champions.

"I don't think there is any hiding place anymore," says Quinlivan. "We announced ourselves at this stage having beaten Nemo and gone away to London.

"We play a style of football that is our own - it's actually pretty similar to Nemo's - and a lot of people saw that in the game. We'll try and impose that on Ballyboden ... and try and nullify them as well."

This club adventure comes as a counterpoint to some high-profile defections for the Tipp footballers, who have lost Steven O'Brien and Seamus Kennedy to the hurlers - and Colin O'Riordan to Aussie Rules.


Quinlivan harks back to Tipperary's famous All-Ireland minor triumph in 2011 - and reflects on how six of their Dublin minor rivals (John Small, Ciarán Kilkenny, Paul Mannion, Jack McCaffrey, Emmet Ó Conghaile and Cormac Costello) featured for the Sky Blue seniors in their recent NFL opener against Kerry.

Tipp played Limerick that weekend and "we had not one player" who'd started for their 2011 minors.

"Obviously with the two lads gone hurling, Colin gone away, none of the Commercials lads there ... we've lost a few but there's opportunities for other guys to step up," he declares, defiantly.

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