CLONTARF'S greater efficiency in possession proved the key to their victory over Clanna Gael Fontenoy in their Dublin AFL 3 clash at Seán Moore Park on Sunday morning.
CLONTARF ....................................... 2-9
CLANNA GAEL FONTENOY ............... 1-6
Goals in each half from Dublin senior Jack McCaffrey and the tireless Conor Cronin ensured the Dublin 3 side got their 2013 campaign off to a winning start under the guidance of former Dublin defender and All-Star (1988) Noel McCaffrey.
But Cronin's goal was a controversial moment. Clanna Gael appeared to scramble his shot to safety only for the umpire to adjudge the ball had crossed the line, much to the annoyance of the Clann camp.
It came with eight minutes remaining and only two points separating the sides and was undoubtedly the decisive moment over the hour.
Clontarf, however, deserved the victory over the course of the 60 minutes.
After falling behind to a Darren O'Brien goal inside 30 seconds, they rallied and led by two at the interval, 1-5 to 1-3.
O'Brien's effort was somewhat fortunate as he appeared to be attempting to score a point, but the flight of the ball managed to deceive former Dublin minor goalkeeper Ross O'Hanlon in the Clontarf goal and loop into the top corner of the net.
Joe Hennessy added a superb score for the home side minutes later as they got off to the perfect start.
From there, however, Clontarf gradually played themselves into the tie and were ahead by the end of the first quarter.
A brace of frees from wing-forward Ian O'Dwyer was followed by a fine effort from Pádraig Syron. Ciaran Johnson then matched O'Dwyer's feats when converting two dead balls of his own with his left foot.
O'Brien restored parity approaching the break for Clann, but McCaffrey showed his class with a well-taken goal after an incisive run just before the half-time whistle.
Clann cut the gap just after the restart when Ciarán Connolly bustled his way through the Clontarf defence and kicked a fine point on the run.
Arguably the score of the game would soon follow from the winners, however. A move that started inside their own half with Fiachra Dodd was worked to Ciarán Johnson who found Cronin in space and he split the posts from 30 metres.
Substitute Paddy Curran extended the lead when his shot dropped over with the aid of the upright after getting played in by a clever pass from Syron, who did brilliantly to gather the initial possession under pressure.
O'Brien reduced the gap with his second free and the game remained very much in the melting pot as the clock ticked past the 50 minute mark.
But that aforementioned Cronin goal, created by a typically decisive run from McCaffrey, would all but end the chances of the Ringsend men.
Ciarán Johnson rounded off the scoring in injury-time, to crown a satisfactory morning for his youthful team.