Oulart-The Ballagh 4-18 Our Lady's Island 1-11
Oulart-The Ballagh meant business from the word go in Thursday's Top Oil Intermediate 'A' hurling championship Group A clash in St. Patrick's Park, and it's reasonable to suggest that they had both points in the bag as early as the seventh minute after hitting 2-3 without reply.
Our Lady's Island were somewhat unfortunate to meet the side relegated at the end of last season in their first outing, because it's highly unlikely that the winners will have the same 15 to choose from as the campaign progresses.
One assumes that places on the Oulart-The Ballagh Senior team will be up for grabs, particularly after losing to St. Martin's, and a glance at the team for this clash highlights a number of players with plenty of past experience in the top flight.
Just over 20 seconds had elapsed when Cormac Finn scrambled the ball to the net after Gary Murphy's initial shot was saved following a clever Tomás Dunne flick.
Anthony Storey and Darren Nolan added points before the early pace-setters goaled again, with Gary Murphy applying the finishing touch after Billy Dunne first played a crossfield free to the unmarked Eamonn Murphy who picked out the corner-forward.
Although Dean Maloney eventually settled the Island with his pointed frees, they never looked like overhauling that early deficit and trailed by 3-11 to 0-6 at half-time.
All six Oulart-The Ballagh forwards had scored from play by that stage, with the third goal coming in the 17th minute when Cormac Finn neatly controlled a Paul Roche clearance with his hurl and soloed through before finishing in style (3-6 to 0-4).
Our Lady's Island did improve on the re-start, and their best forward, Darragh Sinnott, pulled back a goal in the 32nd minute after latching on to a Quinn Saunders line ball.
However, it took Oulart-The Ballagh less than three minutes to respond, with Tomás Dunne bursting through a tackle after accepting a Gary Murphy pass and rattling Noel Dempsey's net (4-12 to 1-7).
Dempsey later made a good save to deny Murphy, but the last quarter was largely forgettable as the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion.
Oulart-The Ballagh: Michael O'Dowd; Seán Murphy, Dennis Morton, Ian Storey; Eamonn Murphy (0-2), Paul Roche, Niall Redmond; Ben O'Connor, Billy Dunne (0-7, 4 frees, 1 '65); Darren Nolan (capt., 0-1), Tomás Dunne (1-2), Pad Mythen (0-3); Gary Murphy (1-0), Anthony Storey (0-2), Cormac Finn (2-1). Sub. - Nicholas Cullen for Morton, temp. (41-43).
Our Lady's Island: Noel Dempsey; Brian Moore, Eamon Maloney (capt.), Rory Reville; Fintan Mullins, Robbie Reville, Davy Corish; Gary Walsh, Cathal Devereux; Colm Kinsella (0-1), Dylan Murphy (0-1), Liam Kinsella; Darragh Sinnott (1-2), Dean Maloney (0-5 frees), Quinn Saunders (0-1). Subs. - Nicky Keane for Walsh (43), Cian Meyler (0-1) for Murphy (45), Brian Scallan for C. Kinsella (59), Nicky White for Saunders (59).
Referee: Seán Whelan (St. Martin's).