Navan O'Mahonys 2-17
Navan O'Mahonys opened the defence of their hoganstand.com SFC with an easy Group B win over Seneschalstown on Friday night at Pairc Tailteann.
Two Brian Sheridan goals - one at the start of each half - boosted Seneschalstown hopes of an upset against the side that have now beaten them in the round robin phase for the fourth year running.
By the end all six forwards registered from play for O'Mahonys in addition to their two subs. All bar one point of Seneschalstown's total came courtesy of Brian and Joe Sheridan.
In a performance graced with tenacity, David Nelson's men responded well to the concession of both goals. When Brian Sheridan flicked home his second goal just over a minute into the second-half, the adjacent scoreboard read 1-9 to 2-3.
The Keegan Cup holders replied with a string of points to lead by 1-15 to 2-4 early in the final quarter. A fine Joe Sheridan effort from distance was Seneschalstown's sole other third quarter score.
David Hosie's charges might have got in for a third goal, but Marcas Brennan saved well from Joe Sheridan - whose shot came through a cluster of players in the 42nd minute.
County man Kevin Reilly goaled for O'Mahonys within two minutes of his introduction at the end of a sweeping move with David Bray providing the assist from the wing.
Former Longwood-man Rory Maguire marked his first SFC appearance with the final score of the game.
Seneschalstown - who lost heavily to O'Mahonys in an opening round fixture 12 months ago - managed just two scores after Brian Sheridan's second goal. Their final score came courtesy of Brian Clarke.
Proceedings got off to a sensational start when Seneschalstown were awarded a penalty at the old swimming pool end following a foul on Niall Groome within 30 seconds of the throw-in. Brian Sheridan netted the subsequent kick expertly.
Within six minutes of the start, O'Mahonys - assisted by the breeze - hit the front with points from as many different players. A Joe Sheridan point from play levelled matters for the second and final time in the half.
A pointed Ruairi O Coileain free saw O'Mahonys hit the front for the first time, 0-4 to 1-0. When Alan Forde pointed to leave it 0-7 to 1-1 after 15 minutes, all of the champions forwards were on the scoresheet.
With Stephen Bray orchestrating proceedings from the '40' O'Mahonys were seven points clear by the 26th minute when the 2007 All-Star netted superbly.
Seneschalstown pulled a point back through Brian Sheridan (free) as O'Mahonys went on to lead by 1-9 to 1-3 at the break. The Yellow Furze outfit resumed as they began, but it wasn't enough to cause an upset here.
O'Mahonys - Marcas Brennan; Darragh Smyth, Niall McKeigue, Darragh Maguire; Shane Crosby, Brian Dillon; Stephen Monaghan, Cormac McGuinness; Ruairi O Coileain (0-4 3fs), Stephen Bray (1-1), Alan Forde (0-2); Shane Gillespie (0-3), David Bray (0-2), Jake Regan (0-4, 3fs). Subs - Kevin Reilly (1-0) for Monaghan (48), Rory Maguire (0-1) for McGuinness (53).
Seneschalstown - David Lyons; Conor Cowley, David Matthews, Niall Groome; Gary Conlon, Paul Carey, James Byrne; Robert Ruddy, Damien Sheridan; Brian Clarke (0-1), Adam Carey, Niall Lyons; Brian Sheridan (2-2, 1-0 pen, 0-1f), Peter Waters, Joe Sheridan (0-2). Subs - Cormac Noonan for Conlon (bc 41), Sean Noone for Ruddy (46), Mark Fox for Cowley (52)
Referee - David Gough (Slane)