Na Fianna up and running after demolition job on St Sylvester's
Na Fianna 3-14 St Sylvester's 0-9 (Dublin SFC)
Na Fianna sent out a message of intent at Parnell Park on Saturday with a comprehensive 14-point win over St Sylvester's in Group One of the Dublin Senior Football Championship.
Under the guidance of Dessie Farrell, Na Fianna are seeking to bridge an 18-year gap to their last championship success. The twin attacking threat of Conor McHugh and David Lacey offers hope of a bright future and they laid the foundations for victory during the early stages of the contest.
Having seen his initial attempt at a point rebounding off the woodwork, McHugh rattled the Syls net with just over a minute on the clock. Lacey added a brace of scores to bolster their lead, before Micheál McCarthy responded with a similar haul at the opposite end.
The dependable inside forward superbly split the posts off a tricky free to give Syls further momentum, but it proved to be a false dawn for the Malahide outfit. Despite the absence of Jonny Cooper and Eoin Murchan in the Na Fianna defence, they found scores hard to come by as the play progressed.
Though James Walsh posted an impressive point, it was preceded by Na Fianna's second goal of the contest. Following back-to-back singles for McHugh and midfielder Killian Deeley, Aaron Byrne unleashed an unstoppable 12th-minute shot beyond the reach of Syls netminder Mick Shiel.
After Lacey was on hand to cancel out Walsh's strike, McHugh enhanced his personal tally. Wright kicked a fine point on the run to provide Syls with some form of solace, albeit a McHugh free ensured Na Fianna brought a 2-8 to 0-5 cushion into the break.
Either side of McCarthy's latest free on the resumption, Glenn O'Reilly and McHugh found the target for a rampant Na Fianna. Their third goal inevitably arrived on 34 minutes, when the inside forward line combined to devastating effect.
McHugh's through-ball was gathered close to goal by Sean Caffrey - who superbly released the raiding Lacey for a composed finish to the bottom corner. A full 17 minutes passed before their next score, but Syls also endured a barren spell in this juncture.
Their woes were compounded on the stroke of 50 minutes, when substitute Mark Hazley was dismissed for an off-the-ball incident. Na Fianna immediately made hay - registering unanswered points via Caffrey, O'Reilly (free) and David Quinn.
Syls also lost Jack Hazley to a red-card in the closing moments and while McCarthy kicked three late points, Odhran Ó Maoléidigh's earlier contribution acted as the icing on the cake for Na Fianna.