By Kieran Murphy
IT might only have been a first round Division 3 tie in Ballinaboley on Saturday evening, but Fenagh have stated their intentions early in the year.
Leighlinbridge asked some early questions with Aidan Lillis converting a free and adding a point before Billy Nolan and Colin Byrne hit back to level matters.
The first three-pointer came on 13 minutes when a passing movement put in Billy Nolan for a good goal. By half-time the eventual winners had added two more through Dylan Bradley and Cormac Lomax to lead 3-4 to 0-3.
The home side had their highlights too, particularly the fine 35-metre point from centre-back Sean Brennan.
Any hopes of a Leighlinbridge comeback died when Nolan and Byrne knocked over early second-half points but the All-Blacks never threw in the towel. They fought hard for what they could get and were rewarded when Liam Brennan won a free.
Spotting Cathal Brennan ghosting in behind the defence his foot pass was inch perfect and the finish was as good as you would see anywhere.
Fenagh hit back with a Dion Wall goal and Gary Dillon was unlucky not to add another when his rocket thundered off the crossbar and was picked up by a relieved Leighlinbridge defence.
It was a case of contrasting fortunes for two of Fenagh’s substitutes. Declan Murphy grabbed a goal and Craig Bermingham picked up a straight red card for an incident late on. After that the game passed on without mishap for the remaining players. The season is up and running.
Fenagh: Pat Hughes; Luke Bradley, John Hughes, Tommy Dowling; Seamus Nolan, Tommy Bric, Jamie Wall; Jamie McCabe, Gary Dillon (0-2, 0-1 free); Cormac Lomax (1-1), Dion Wall (1-2), Shane Ryan; Billy Nolan (1-2), Dylan Bradley (1-2), Colin Byrne (0-2, 0-1 free). Subs: Padraig Hynes for B Nolan, Declan Murphy (1-0) for D Bradley (both 47 mins), Craig Bermingham for Byrne, Mark Treacy for J Wall (both 55 mins).
Leighlinbridge: Chris Kearney; Craig Lawler, Adrian Dermody, Joe Byrne; Cathal Brennan (1-0), Sean Brennan (0-1), Ciaran Casey; Liam Brennan, Shane Farrell; Robert O’Byrne, Val Fleming, David Lillis; Edmund Dermody, Aidan Lillis (0-5, 0-4 frees), Eddie Kane. Subs: Jonathan Stringer for Farrell (40 mins), Caoimhin Ryan for O’Byrne (42 mins), Aaron McKenzie for A Lillis, Luke Kelly (0-1) for Kane (both 44 mins), Kieran Collins for D Lillis (48 mins).
Referee: David Hughes (Bagenalstown Gaels).