The north Tipperary combination of Thomas McDonaghs edged past Fethard 1-6 to 0-7 in the opening round of the County Senior Football Championship in Templemore.
In extremely blustery conditions both teams struggled to find the target with any level of consistency but made up for that fact with undoubted commitment and effort from the opening whistle to the last.
What proved to be the clinching moment came in the 21st minute when Thomas McDonaghs found the back of the net to create a void between the sides that despite their best efforts Fethard never managed to reel in. Liam England collected possession from a lateral hand pass 45 yards out and after taking one solo launched a dangerous delivery off his right foot that hung in the air. The ball dropped on the edge of the square and as it did, David Young who had ghosted in from his wing forward position leaped into the air above the challenge of his marker to fist the ball to the net with a powerful blow of his right hand.
McDonaghs began the game brightly and registered the opening three scores of the contest through Kieran Cahill and then two points from Shane Dooley, one from play followed by one from a free. But soon the Fethard settled to their task and replied superbly to take the lead prior to Young finding the net. Full forward Eoin Fitzgearld floated over two right footed frees as well as points from Carl Maher and Dean Tobin. The goal stunned the Fethard revival and Liam England pointed twice before the break to leave the north side leading 1-5 to 0-5 at the break.
The second half was fiercely contested and Fethard tried every angle of persuasion to claw their way back into the match after Thomas McDonaghs failed to convert a penalty in the forth minute of the half. Their efforts proved fruitless as despite two additional Eoin Fitzgearld frees, they failed to find the target from any other medium of their attack clocking up half a dozen wides in the gusting conditions. McDonaghs despite not scoring after the first minute of the second half held on for a hard fought opening round victory.
Thomas McDonaghs: Cathal Dooley; Justin Cahill, Padraic O Meara, Jack Sullivan; Jonathan Cahill, Peter McSherry, Fergal Hayes; George Hannigan, Liam England (0-2,1F); David Young (1-0), Alan Hannigan, Andrew Byrne; Niall O Meara (0-1), Shane Dooley (0-2, 1F), Kieran Cahill (0-1).
Fethard: Paul Fitzgearld; Frankie O Donovan, Gavin Fitzgearld, Alan O Connor; Brian Delahunty, Ronan Fitzgearld, Dillon Fitzgearld; Cathal Hurley, Declan Doyle; Carl Maher (0-2, 1F), Kenneth O Donnell, David Hayes; Ciaran O Meara, Eoin Fitzgearld (0-4,4F), Dean Tobin (0-1).
Referee: John Kelly (Thurles Gaels)