Roche Emmets' Dan O'Connell and Justin Halley of Dowdallshill. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
Anglo Printers JFC Group Two
Roche Emmets 0-19 Dowdallshill 1-9
Roche Emmets opened the Junior Football Championship with a seven-point victory over neighbours Dowdallshill at Páirc Clan na Gael on Thursday night.
Barry O'Hare - the competition's leading scorer in 2017 - got his bid for the hotshots' title off to the ideal start with a personal haul of 0-10, eight from frees, as Roche brushed the 'Hill's defiant challenge aside with a powerful finish to the first half.
However, Roche had to recover from a poor start, despite leading the match from beginning-to-end after O'Hare fired over the game's opening point after only 10 seconds of play, where they gifted the Division Three strugglers several opportunities to get level, and perhaps even establish a lead, before stamping their authority.
'Hill 'keeper Robbie Arthur produced a fine penalty save on six minutes to deny O'Hare after Eugene Murray had been fouled. Yet Emmets reeled off five of the next six points to lead 0-6 to 0-1 after 20 minutes - Noel Finnegan, with the first of his 0-7, got his team off the mark from a free.
Roche captain Dan O'Connell delivered the score of the opening half in injury time as his team led 0-11 to three at the break.
O'Hare and Shane Byrne were on target shortly after half-time as Roche continued to dominate, but a palmed goal by Chris McMahon after Finnegan's effort had dropped short raised spirits in the Dowdallers' camp. Justin Halley and Gerry McShane stylishly added minors before three frees from Finnegan had the gap down to six.
But Roche weren't to be denied and saw out the contest, as O'Connell scored another beauty from the right wing at the death, despite losing centre-half Liam Carthy to a second yellow card.
Roche Emmets: Seán O’Hare; James Tiffney, Harry O’Connell, Liam Rice; Liam Dawe, Liam Carthy, Shane Byrne (0-2); Dan O'Connell (0-2), Niall McArdle (0-1); Cathal Byrne, David O'Connell (0-1), Enda Murphy; Conor Mackin (0-1), Eugene Murray, Barry O’Hare (0-10, eight frees)
Subs: Paddy Quigley (0-2) for Mackin, Kevin Callaghan for David O’Connell
Dowdallshill: Robert Arthur; Cathal Brady, Paul Flynn, Seán Duffy; Peter Hughes, Jack McGailey, Luke O’Brien; Ciaran Thornton, Justin Halley (0-1); Dillon Curran, Noel Finnegan (0-7, six frees), Emmet O'Brien; Martin Óg O’Brien, Paul Gill, Gerry McShane (0-1)
Subs: David McCrave for Martin Óg O’Brien, Chris McMahon (1-0) for Thornton, Dylan McDonnell for Emmet O'Brien, Tiarnan Duffy for Brady, Robert Traynor for McCrave
Referee: Declan Dunne (John Mitchel’s)