While Cloughduv may feel their second-half endeavours merited the victory, Grenagh will be kicking themselves for letting a comfortable 1-10 to 0-5 half-time lead slip.
In truth, the second half looked to be nothing more than a formality after 30 minutes, such was the ease with which Grenagh pulled away from their opponents, who had only managed two points from open play.
Credit must be paid to Cloughduv, however, who showed their character in the second period when many teams would have felt beaten. Goals at crucial times from substitute Tom O’Mahony and Darragh Ring inspired the comeback. Grenagh will wonder how, having been so rampant in the opening exchanges, they could only muster four points after the change of ends.
Niall O’Doherty and Tom Kenny ran the show in the first half for Grenagh. Kenny looked different class operating in the half-forward line and was at the heart of every attacking thrust, scoring three points from play inside 20 minutes.
With Cloughduv looking ponderous in possession and struggling to get danger man Ring into the game, Grenagh full-forward John Russell struck what looked a decisive score on 28 minutes, smashing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to give Grenagh a seven-point lead.
Cloughduv’s intent was instantly apparent after the break with two points registered within a minute of the restart. However, it was O’Mahony’s stunning drive into the roof of the net after 40 minutes which re-ignited the contest.
Six minutes later Ring drew the sides level for the first time, firing his shot low across goalkeeper Martin Barry and into the right-hand corner. Grenagh were stunned back into life and responded immediately through Dermot Dorgan after a short free from Kenny.
Jerry Lucey twice let Grenagh off the hook with wayward frees before Ring restored parity for the third time with a free on 53 minutes. With both teams dominating a half each, a draw seemed the fairest result but Cloughduv’s Brian Ahern prevented that eventuality with a fine point from the left to hand Cloughduv the unlikeliest of victories.
Scorers for Cloughduv: D Ring 1-3 (2f), T O’Mahony 1-2, J Lucey 0-2 (2f), D Corkery, B Ahern, G Ahearne, S O’Connor, C Kenneally 0-1 each.
Scorers for Grenagh: D Dorgan 0-6 (5fs), J Russell 1-2, T Kenny 0-5, K O’Neill 0-1.
CLOUGHDUV: C Ryan; A Cronin, P O’Sullivan, L Long; J McCarthy, J Lucey, M Verling; D Corkery, D O’Leary; B Ahern, A Kenneally, G Aherne; C Dunne, D Ring, S O’Connor.
Subs: T O’Mahony for A Kenneally (22), C Kenneally for G Aherne (ht), T McCarthy for Verling (43), T Dineen for O’Connor (55).
GRENAGH: M Barry; P McCarthy, R Dorgan, K Cummins; C O’Neill, N O’Doherty, A McCarthy; G Russell, D Dorgan; P Sexton, T Kenny, S Dorgan; K O’Neill, J Russell, C Fitzgerald.
Sub: D Dalton for Fitzgerald (41).
Referee: Diarmúid Kirwan (Éire Og).