A youthful Erin’s Own proved too hot for Fenians to handle in an opening round fixture that was always going to be a tough encounter.
However, it was a lack of firepower that did for the Fenians, the Johnstown men leaving the field without a forward player registering on the score sheet.
Not so ’Comer, who got up and running with a Martin Boran point inside the opening minute. Boran then turned provider, setting up Jerry Callinan to double their advantage.
John Broderick got Fenians off the mark with a free, his midfield partner Kieran Grehan added another a minute later after his run from the centre went unchecked, allowing him to split the posts from close range.
A long range Conor Fogarty free put his side back in front, but Grehan drew the teams level once more. After 15 minutes the sides had shot over three points apiece, but neither scored again until the 28th minute, when Rian Holden converted his first free of the day. The time inbetween these scores was laden with spurned chances, with neither team able to gain the upper hand as both sets of backs were in control.
Just before the break Mark Webster was denied a goal by ’Comer keeper Tom Brophy, who rushed the forward’s effort with a determined block. The save proved vital, as it meant Erin’s Own went in with the interval lead (0-4 to 0-3).
The game was quickly back on level terms when John Broderick converted a Fenians free, but a like score from Rian Holden edged Comer back in front. The score of the half arrived four minutes later, Jerry Callinan snapping up the loose ball on the 40 yard line and taking it to the edge of the square before blasting the sliotar into the roof of the Johnstown net.
A long range free and a 65 from Conor Fogarty kept up the charge for ’Comer, who were boosted when Fenians lost the services of centre-back Conor Tobin through injury. Declan Dunne added a score for Erin’s Own, sandwiched by a pair of Broderick frees. J.J. Delaney had been shifted to centre-back, but the move backfired for Fenians as the newly-introduced Peadar Boran fired over two quick points for the leaders.
With three minutes injury time on the clock, Martin Boran picked off the insurance score that led Erin’s Own to victory. Fenians had struggled for scores over the hour, as their forwards were prevented from shooting at the posts. Goal chances had been almost nonexistent, with Callinan finishing ’Comer’s only glimpse at goal.
In keeping with the trends of recent matches between these two the game was a tense and tight affair. Both sides had looked to start their league campaign in winning fashion, but Fenians lack of fire power was the difference on the day.
SCORERS: Erin’s Own - Jerry Callinan (1-1); Conor Fogarty (0-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65); Rian Holden (0-2 frees); Martin Boran, Peadar Boran (0-2 each); Declan Dunne (0-1). Fenians - John Broderick (0- 5, frees), Kieran Grehan (0-2), Conor Tobin (0-1).
Erin’s Own - Tom Brophy, Liam Wallace, Robert Moran, Ciaran Wallace, Niall McMahon, Conor Fogarty, Aidan Moran, Conor Delaney, Sean McDermott, Jerry Callinan, Eoin Brennan, Declan Dunne, Martin Boran, Jimmy Byrne, Rian Holden. Subs: Peadar Boran, Brian Dillon, Andrew Carron, Martin Hawley.
Fenians - P.J. Ryan, J.P. Grehan, J.J. Delaney, Eoin Phelan, John Henderson, Conor Tobin, Rory Phelan, John Broderick, Kieran Grehan, Mark Webster, Pa Duggan, Sean Brennan, Cathal Ryan, Diarmuid Broderick, Willie Brennan. Subs: Luke Hughes, Danny Dermody, Cillian Walsh.