Favourites Navan O'Mahonys had to fend off a strong Seneschalstown rally to secure the spoils in this SFC Group A opener at Walterstown on Saturday afternoon.
O'Mahonys ............. 2-11
Seneschalstown ....... 1-11
A wonderfully executed Stephen Bray point - with help from Oisin O'Brien and sub David Bray - made it 2-10 to 0-6 to the town side in the 42nd minute.
Kevin Reilly's men had to cope with the red carding of former county man Gary O'Brien in the 30th minute. The call seen by some as harsh may have been a case of mistaken identity.
O'Mahonys led by six at the time, 1-7 to 0-4, and outscored Oisin McConville and Joe Cowley's men by 1-3 to 0-1 in the third quarter.
Former All-Star Stephen Bray brought his experience to bear. In addition to posting four points from play, he had a hand in both of his side's goals.
Dylan Regan also had his fingerprints on both goals too that were crucial to the outcome with corner-forward Oisin O'Brien netting both.
The Brews Hill outfit were undermined by the loss to influential full-back Niall McKeigue to a black cardin the 55th minute. At this point the Seneschalstown tide was in full flow towards the clubhouse end of the ground.
If Seneschalstown were more economical in front of goal they might have salvaged something from this fixture, especially with numerical advantage.
Forced to field without the injured Ruairi O Coileain, the Division 1 FL leaders were never headed and held the lead following early points from David Dillon and Dylan Regan.
O'Mahonys moved 0-5 to 0-1 clear by the end of the opening quarter. Seneschalstown lost full-back Andrew Collins to a black card around this time. A Stephen Bray point made it 1-6 to 0-1 with a third of the hour gone.
While passing up a few chances Seneschalstown outscored O'Mahonys by 0-3 to 0-1 in the run-in to half-time. Bryan Clarke's effort from about 55 metres was the pick of the trio.
The Bray brothers (Stephen scored) and Oisin O'Brien combined for O'Mahonys' penultimate score that left 10 points between the sides with about three-quarters of the game gone.
Seneschalstown outscored Navan O'Mahonys by 1-5 to 0-1 thereafter but couldn't make up the leeway.
Joseph Moore placed Dylan Keating for a brilliant goal that kick-started the Seneschalstown rally. Another O'Brien point late on helped O'Mahonys over the line, while the reintroduction of Joe Sheridan in added time couldn't unpick the town defence. .
Navan O'Mahonys - Marcas Brennan; Eimhin Power, Niall McKeigue, Mike O'Reilly; Gary O'Brien, Darragh Maguire, Evan Coffey; Conor Finnegan, Niall McGrane; Cathal Smyth, Dylan Regan (0-1), David Dillon (0-2); Shane Gillespie (0-3, 2fs), Stephen Bray (0-4), Oisin O'Brien (2-1). Subs - Aodhan Mallon for Dillon (38), David Bray for Gillespie (50), Shane Crosby for McKeigue (bc 55).
Seneschalstown - Darren Laird; Cathal Hickey (0-1), Andrew Collins, Brian Maguire; Mark Fox, Niall Hickey, Ronan Conneelly (0-1); Joe Sheridan, John Smith; Adam Carey, Bryan Clarke (0-2, 1 45), Alan Mulvany; Niall McCabe, Joseph Moore (0-2), Dylan Keating (1-4, 0-1 f). Subs - Sean Noonan (0-1) for Collins (bc 15), Cathal Finnegan for Sheridan (20), Eoin Finnegan (0-1 f) for Mulvany (50), Robert Wogan for Clarke (56), Sheridan for Moore (60 + 3).
Referee - Bernard Heaney (Clann na nGael)