Irish Gaels made the perfect start to their League campaign as they claimed a comprehensive victory over Sarsfields at Parnell Park.
Ger Cunningham’s side were in command throughout and led 1-11 to 0-5 at half time with Eamon Dillon slotting a goal.
Sarsfields named a strong team but struggled to keep up with Irish Gaels in the first half. They improved in the second half with John O’Dwyer in fine form.
It wasn’t enough though as Liam Rushe bagged Irish Gaels’s second goal in the dying seconds to seal a well-deserved 12-point victory.
After a slow start, Irish Gaels took control as they grabbed an unanswered 1-4 in seven first half minutes.
Danny Sutcliffe, Paul Ryan (2) and Colm Cronin slotted points before Dillon scored the opening goal in the 18th minute. Liam Rushe played him through on goal and Dillon kept his composure to beat Darren Gleeson.
The home side kept up their momentum with Chris Crummy grabbing the stand-out point of the first half in the 27th minute. The half-back defended brilliantly throughout and his shot from his own 65 sailed over the bar.
Sarsfields continued to struggle to kickstart their game and Irish Gaels continued to turn the screw to lead by nine points at half time.
Sarsfields introduced Ronan Maher and Tom Stapleton and they provided an extra bit of energy as Eamon O’Shea’s side looked to get back in the game.
Darren Gleeson had been hitting a number of short puck-outs in the first half but they abandoned this tactic and were much more direct in the second-half. This led to more scoring opportunities and John O’Dwyer notched five points after the restart.
The visitors had given themselves a mountain to climb however and they never threatened Alan Nolan’s goal. Michael Carton was in fine form at full-back and, ably assisted by corner-backs Cian O’Callaghan and Paul Schutte, Irish Gaels repelled Sarsfields’s advances.
Liam Rushe’s last minute goal added gloss to the scoreboard but this game was won long before he rifled past Gleeson. Irish Gaels’s first half performance put them in the driving seat and they kept their composure in the second half to give Ger Cunningham plenty to smile about in his first league outing under his stewardship.