It was hard to see a way back for Éire Óg at half time, goals at either end of the opening half gave Fr O’Neill’s a 2-8 to 0-9 lead.
But Daniel Goulding found the net inside the opening minute of the second half to kick-start the comeback. The sides were level with just 15 minutes to go but Fr O’Neill’s rediscovered their first half form late on to edge ahead and hold on for the victory.
Fr O’Neill’s initially threatened to pull out of sight, registering 1-4 to no score inside the opening seven minutes with captain Ger O’Leary finding the net after Edmund Holland’s shot had been brilliantly stopped on the line.
But Éire Óg responded with four unanswered points, two from Kevin Hallissey, to leave just O’Leary’s goal between the sides.
The deficit had been reduced to two when Luke Swayne fired home from close range on the stroke of half-time.
Éire Óg looked a different team in the second-half with Ciarán Sheehan, John Dineen and Hallissey in inspired form. Goulding’s goal was followed by three Dineen points to level the sides, 1-13 to 2-10.
But Fr O’Neill’s went through the gears, hitting four points without reply, two from the brilliant O’Leary, to open up a lead which Éire Óg couldn’t claw back.
Scorers for Fr. O’Neill’s: G O’Leary 1-7, L Swayne 1-1, E Holland, E Conway, P Butler and W Joyce 0-2 each.
Scorers for Éire Óg: J Dineen 0-8 (6fs), D Goulding 1-0, K Hallissey and M O’Shea 0-2, C Sheehan 0-2 (1f), P McDonagh 0-1.
FR. O’NEILL’S: P Colbert; J Barry; J O’Mahony; A Kenneally; M O’Keeffe; B Murphy; E McCarthy; L O’Driscoll; N Griffin; E Conway; A Brett; L Swayne; E Holland; P Butler; G O’Leary.
Subs: W Joyce for O’Driscoll (29), P McMahon for Brett (36), J Millerick for Murphy (45), R Cullinane for Conway (60).
ÉIRE ÓG: P Ryan; S McCarthy; B Corkery; C Hutchinson; E Lowney; T O’Leary; C O’Mahony; J Dineen; D O’Herlihy; E Murphy; C Sheehan; C Hallissey; K Hallisey; D Goulding; M O’Shea.
Subs: P McDonagh for C Hallissey (33), L Murphy for McCarthy (57), C Murphy for E Murphy (60).
Referee: D Daly (Brian Dillons).