Summerhill maintained their 100% record with a decisive win over Donaghmore-Ashbourne at Pairc Tailteann on Tuesday night.
Summerhill ........... 2-15
Don-Ashbourne ...... 2-7
More mobile and economical, Summerhill were superior than last year's runners-up and deserved their third win of the campaign.
In contrast Sean Kelly and Sean Barry's charges laboured to stay in contention. An early dubious penalty goal was countered by a string of Summerhill points that provided the foundation for their biggest win of the campaign.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne have now dropped three of the six points on offer thus far, following a draw with Wolfe Tones last time out and a narrow opening round win over Rathkenny.
A positive response to the opening goal moved Summerhill 0-8 to 1-2 ahead at the break, heading to the dressing rooms with momentum.
John Lyons' men tagged on three points within eight minutes of resumption to move 0-11 to 1-2 clear. When Shane Melia pointed seconds later it was Donaghmore-Ashbourne's first score in 25 minutes. During this time Summerhill added eight points.
The final third of the hour was academic in terms of outcome. Of more concern was the final margin. Sean Dalton's 40th minute goal made it 1-11 to 1-3 and owed much to the corner-forward's persistence after his initial effort was blocked.
Donaghmore-Ashbourne responded with a similar score with Dara McGovern netting with help from Bryan Menton. The gap was now five points before Ciaran Ellis' good approach work as spoiled by a poor finish.
Summerhill outscored Donaghmore-Ashbourne by 1-4 to 0-4 in the final quarter. David Larkin and Davy Dalton did the ground work for Dardis to finish to the net in the 53rd minute..
Donaghmore-Ashbourne sub Leo Reilly added two scoreline softeners before Sean Dalton evaded two opponents to post the final score.
If the darkness was the spoilsport here the previous night, the sun proved to be a bit of nuisance to players and spectators alike on this occasion, particularly in the first-half.
Playing into the evening sun, Donaghmore-Ashbourne were first to show through Dylan Brady's third minute point. It was quickly countered by Kevin Ryan for Summerhill. John Lyons' men hit the front the first time in the sixth minute through a Brian Ennis free.
A highlight of the half was the next score when Dardis placed Sean Dalton for a point. Matters took a turn midway half when Dylan Brady's lob resulted in a 'foul' on John Broderick. The resultant penalty was expertly dispatched by Paul Gilligan to leave it 1-2 to 0-3.
Another turn in the tide saw Summerhill close out the half with five second quarter points on the spin while conceding none. Four Summerhil players contributed to this sequence with Barry Dardis landing the final two, from a 45 and a free.
The pick of the points from play was Davy Dalton's 19th minute effort when he outpaced two Donaghmore-Ashbourne defenders before firing over though slightly off balance.
Summerhill - Tony McDonnell; Iarla Hughes, Willie Ryan, Ronan Ryan; Padraig Geraghty, Richie Hatton, Ross Ryan; Micheal Byrne, Brian Ennis (0-3, 2fs); Kevin Lyons, Barry Dardis (1-3 1 45, 2fs), David Larkin (0-4), Sean Dalton (1-2), Kevin Ryan (0-1), David Dalton (0-2). Subs - Liam Shaw for K Ryan (20).
Donaghamore-Ashbourne - Jack Hannigan; JP Casserly, Cormac McGill, Conor Carton (0-1); Colm O Mealoid, Shane Melia (0-1), Paul Gilligan (1-0 pen); Conor Carey, Bryan Menton; Sean Byrne, Dylan Brady (0-1), David Carey; Dara McGovern (1-2, 0-1 f), John Broderick, Thomas McGovern. Subs - Ciaran Ellis for Byrne (23), Leo Reilly (0-2) for Carey (39), Jack Giles for Broderick (41).
Referee - Liam Reddy (Duleek-Bellewstown)