Last years’ beaten Fitzgibbon Cup finalists DCU Dóchas Éireann had to grind out a two-point victory over a battling home side at Carriganore, Waterford.
Late points from James Bergin and Dublin senior Chris Crummy proved the match winners in a game where DCU looked the better team for long spells but struggled to convert possession into scores.
DCU led 0-5 to 0-2 after 13 minutes. John Curran, Eoghan O’Donnell and Chris Crummy were all on top in defence with James Bergin and Paudie Foley accurate from placed balls.
Waterford goalkeeper Billy Nolan did brilliantly to deny Bergin an early goal with Foley converting the resulting 65.
However four points before the break from Shane Murphy, Stephen O’Gorman, Billy Nolan (f) and Stephen Condon (f) left WIT with a 0-9 to 0-7 lead at half-time.
With the breeze, DCU notched four points on the bounce from sub Rian McBride, James Bergin, John Donnelly and Sean Morrissey to lead 0-11 to 0-9 after 37 minutes. But back came WIT again.
Ross Smithers and Stephen O’Gorman pointed to level the game by the 42nd minute with Stephen Condon converting another free to nudge the hosts in front, 0-12 to 0-11.
The sides were level five times in the second half in all and deadlocked 0-14 apiece with just minutes to play.
The favourites held their nerve best over the closing minutes with Bergin and Crummy landing late points to give DCU a valuable opening round victory.
J Bergin (0-6, 0-5f), S Morrissey (0-3), P Foley (0-2, 0-1f, 0-1’65), C Crummy (0-2), B Ryan, R McBride and J Donnelly (0-1 each).
S Condon (0-7, 0-6f), S O’Gorman (0-2), M Whelan, J Prendergast, S Murphy, B Nolan (f) and R Smithers (0-1 each).
O Foley (Crossabeg Ballymurn), P Smyth (Clontarf), E O’Donnell (Whitehall Colmcilles), J Curran (Dungarvan), P Foley (Crossabeg Ballymurn), C Delaney (Erins Own), C Crummey (Lucan Sarsfields), A Maddock (St. Martins), F McGibb (Setanta), B Ryan (South Liberties), D Burke (Na Fianna), F Whitley (Kilmacud Crokes), J Donnelly (Thomastown), J Bergin (Conahy Shamrocks), S Morrissey (Bennettsbridge).
R McBride (St. Vincents) for Ryan (26m), K Doyle (Raharney) for Smyth and D Reck for McGibb (both 46m), D Gray (Whitehall Colmcilles) for Morrissey and C Burke (St. Vincents) for Maddock (both 58m).
B Nolan (Roanmore), S Smyth (Midelton), O McGrath (John Lockes), K Hasset (Drum & Inch), S Ryan (Rower Inistioge), T Walsh (Tullaron), R Flynn (Clonea), M Whelan (Carrick Davins), O Walsh (Dicksboro), R Smithers (Naoimh Eoin), S Condon (Glanworth), S Murphy (Glenmore), S O’Gorman (Taghmon/Camross), C Hennessy (Tullogher), J Prendergast (Lismore).
B Barrett (Causeway) for Murphy (40m), C Flood (Cloughbawn) for Smithers (53m), E O’Halloran (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for O’Gorman (60m).
D Kirwan (Cork).