Pace-setters Erin's Isle continued their 100pc record in AHL 3 with a hard-fought one-point win over St Vincent's at Farnham Drive on Sunday morning.
Erin's Isle 1-15
St Vincent's 2-11
The Finglas men were forced to hold off a late fightback from Vincent's, however, as they led by six entering the final 10 minutes before eventually squeezing home.
As well as a strong finish, the visitors started the game brightly. A free from Shane Kiernan in the opening minute was quickly followed by a close-range point from Shane McHugh and a massive effort by centre back Cathal Fallon.
Isles responded strongly though with points from Shane Casey, Lorcan Siwale and Mick O'Donovan to bring the teams level.
For the following 10 minutes it was score for score as neither side could find a way to shake off their opponent.
Kiernan was particularly prominent for Vincent's. His long-range free taking was a feature of the game and one could see that the extra work he has been doing in the gym has really paid off.
His dead-ball brace were both quickly cancelled out by Siwale and Casey in the 20th minute. But Isles would soon take the lead for the first time.
Some good work by Darren Kelly created the space for Keith Campbell on the 14-metre line. Campbell took the sliotar on his hurl and dispatched his shot beneath the dive of James Daniels for the opening goal of the game.
Kiernan responded with another free, but the hosts finished the half strongly. Campbell, Darragh Casey and Darren Kelly all found the target to give them a 1-8 to 0-7 half-time lead.
Vincent's would start the second period in blistering fashion. Substitute and former Dublin senior Damien Russell broke in from the right-hand side and saw his low shot saved by Derek McCabe.
The ball broke into the small square, however, where Michael Cuthbert was the first to react and he poked it home to the bottom corner.
Erin's Isle responded to the early setback strongly and soon restored their four-point advantage with three unanswered points. Campbell, who was seeing more and more of the play, Shane Casey through a free and subsititute Dessie Leonard all raised the white flag.
Leonard made a big impression on his introduction at half-time as his direct running style caused problems for the Vins defence. Indeed, it took a fine save from Daniels to deny him what looked a certain goal.
Colm O'Flaherty hit back for the Marino men but another brace from Shane Casey, as well as a fine effort from his brother Eoin, gave Isles what looked to be a comfortable six-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
Vincent's weren't ready to throw in the towel just yet, though, and Cuthbert's second goal along with another brace of frees from Kiernan sent up a grandstand finish.
A minor melee resulted in Vincent's Mark Lillis and Garreth Croning of Isles seeing red. It seemed to disrupt the visitors' momentum and Isles held strong for the remainder to take the spoils.