Muirhevna Mor's Jimmy Cooney. (Pic: Arthur Kinahan)
NEFL Premier Division
Muirhevna Mor 3-1 Rock Celtic
Muirhevna Mor got their Premier Division title tilt off to the ideal start after seeing off Rock Celtic at home on Friday night.
The Blues hit the front on 15 minutes when striker Martin Smith, on debut, curled a cracker to the net off the underside of the 'bar after Tiarnan Mulvenna flicked down a long throw-in.
But the Division One holders fought back, creating a few openings before drawing level through Niall Donnelly. After a neat passing move, Aidan Curtin provided the necessary quality from the flank as Donnelly finished past Michael Cooney.
David Ward had a chance to put Rock in front and that miss came back to haunt Paudie Gollogley's charges as the 'Mor took the lead through Micky O'Kane, who was playing at centre-half as opposed to his usual centre-forward berth.
That sent the hosts to the break with a slender lead, but it always looked set to be decisive with John Rogers in fantastic form between the Rock sticks in keeping them alive in the contest.
The dismissal of Ed Maguire on a second yellow card made the recovery mission even tougher for the Sandy Lane side prior to Gary Clarke making it 3-1 to the 'Mor in closing stages, with Mulvenna again involved in the build-up.
Muirhevna Mor: Michael Cooney; Brian Begley, Jimmy Cooney, Micky O'Kane, Nathan Murphy; Gary Clarke, Philip Duffy, Thomas McShane, Brendan Hughes; Martin Smith, Tiarnan Mulvenna
Subs: Cody Magill, Gino Cooney, Adrian Rafferty
Rock Celtic: John Rogers; Liam McDonnell, Paddy Reilly, Shane O'Callaghan, Brendan Rogers; Dan Kerr, Ronan Doherty, Ed Maguire, Aidan Curtin; Niall Donnelly, David Ward
Subs: Derek Delany, Gary Lennon, Kizito Ekwueme, Liam O'Callaghan