Volunteers 2-6 Rathgarogue-Cushinstown 0-10
Two first-half goals from Brian Deeny proved crucial in enabling Volunteers to see off Rathgarogue-Cushinstown in this tightly-contested Division 3A tie in the opening round of the Greenstar Under-20 football championship.
Played in difficult conditions in Cushinstown on Friday, the home side looked that little bit sharper early in play, hitting the front almost immediately, and tagging on scores throughout the opening half while their opponents seemed to be struggling.
But after going behind twice in the opening half, Deeny hit the net on both occasions to flip the score in his side's favour, giving them an advantage that they needed to see them over the line.
Eoin Porter traded early scores with Jack O'Leary before Jack McGrath gave the home side the lead early in the half.
Midway through, Aaron McGuire made a great solo run before being dragged down in the small square, allowing Deeny to bag the first of his goals and give the Vols the lead for the first time.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown were still playing the better football however, and outscored their opponents by four to one leading up to half-time thanks to Porter, Liam O'Shea and Tadhg Cody, with Harry Kehoe kicking Volunteers' second score from play on the 20-minute mark.
But the victors took the lead just before the break after Deeny linked up well with Luke Dowdall, in a one-two that ended with last year's county Minor midfielder crashing the ball to the net.
Kehoe put three between the sides almost immediately on the resumption, but his side were put to the pin of their collar in a dogged affair that saw the home team take the lead midway through the half thanks to a brace from both Porter and John O'Keeffe.
It was now impossible to call a winner with both sides working like Trojans for scores.
Fittingly, it was Deeny who kicked an absolute monstrous effort to level matters with ten minutes remaining, before Eoin Reck popped up with the winner five minutes later.
Porter had a late chance to steal victory for the home side but his goal-bound effort was well kept out by Aaron Kinsella to ensure Volunteers walked away with a hard-earned win.
Volunteers: Aaron Kinsella; Lee Moran, Cian Rossiter, Jason Moran; Eoin Reck (0-1), Paddy Glover, Cian Kehoe; Brian Deeny (2-1, 1-0 pen.), Harry Kehoe (0-3, 2 frees); Aaron McGuire, Jack O'Leary (0-1), Josh McMahon, Jack Kavanagh, Luke Dowdall, Finian Coughlan. Subs. - Ben McMahon for Kavanagh, Josh Murphy for C. Kehoe.
Rathgarogue-Cushinstown: Jack Murphy; Adam Bookle, Ricky McGrath, John O'Keeffe (0-2); Adam Slattery, Liam O'Shea (0-1), Liam Roche; Tadhg Cody (0-1), Eoin Porter (0-4, 2 frees); Darragh Roche, Eric Cummins (0-1), David Thorpe; Shane O'Connor, Jack McGrath (0-1), John Forrestal. Sub. - Pat Kehoe for Cummins.
Referee: Fintan Whyte (St. James').