Whites spearhead Commercials challenge
These are exciting times for the Clonmel Commercials Gaelic football club. They recently collected their 16th Tipperary Senior championship title with a final victory over arch-rivals and near neighbours Moyle Rovers from Powerstown and Lisronagh.
And it got even better for them when they became the first team from the county to win a game in the AIB Munster Club championship since 2006 when Newcastlewest from Limerick were dismissed on home ground. Now they are ready for their biggest test yet when they host St. Joseph's of Miltown Malbay in Clare in the provincial semi-final on Sunday.
There's a strong Wexford family link both on and off the field as one of their selectors is former Rathgarogue-Cushinstown stalwart Brian White, one of the best football referees our county ever produced. It's been a busy year for Brian as he was also involved behind the scenes as kitman with the Tipperary Minor footballers who went all the way to the All-Ireland final.
And it doesn't end there because Brian's son, Pádraig, wore the number 15 jersey in the county final and is one of the team's most dangerous attackers. Pádraig came on as a substitute in the Munster Minor football decider of 2013 and was on the team twelve months later.
There's another connection too, because the championship-winning Commercials teams of 1982, 1986, 1989 and 1990 were honoured on county final day. And among that select group was Donal O'Keeffe, a bank official in Wexford town for many years whose children have worn the maroon St. Martin's jersey.
Donal won five Senior medals in all with Commercials, captained the Tipperary Senior team in 1990, also played Minor and Under-21 for the county, and was the South Tipperary footballer of the year in 1987. We are reliably informed that his father and John and Ger O'Keeffe of Kerry fame are first cousins.