Defending champions Kilmacud Crokes began their Dublin SFC campaign on a positive note when defeating Ballymun Kickhams by 2-13 to 0-14 at Parnell Park on Saturday night.
There were a number of intriguing subplots as Rory O’Carroll made his first championship start for Crokes since 2015 and he was handed the task of marking former Dublin team-mate Dean Rock
for the hour.
At the opposite end of the field, James McCarthy was chosen to curb Paul Mannion’s influence but it was Mannion that landed the first body blow to Kickhams as he converted an eighth-minute penalty following a foul by Philly McMahon on Shane Cunningham.
Callum Pearson and Pat Burke edged Crokes further in front but four points from Rock and another by Anton Swan had brought Ballymun back into contention before Cunningham and Andy McGowan scored to edge their side 1-6 to 0-5 ahead by the break.
It was Kickhams that resumed on the front through points from Rock and Jason Whelan as substitute Ted Furman made an instant impact, but Kilmacud were able to keep their opponents at arm’s length thanks to scores by Pearson and Burke.
Kickhams enjoyed a purple patch as the half progressed as Alan Hubbard, Furman, Rock (free) and Liam O’Donovan amassed points to leave the gap at a bare minimum (1-10 to 0-12).
Mannion and McGowan restored a degree of momentum for Kilmacud and despite Rock and Furman replying for Ballymun, substitute Stephen Williams settled the matter with a 1-1 cameo from off the bench.
Earlier in Group 1, Na Fianna also made a winning start as they put down a serious marker by easing past St Sylvester’s by 3-14 to 0-9.
Under the management of Dublin legend Dessie Farrell, Na Fianna made the perfect start as Conor McHugh netted in the opening minute with Syls hitting back through a point from Micheál McCarthy.
However, the concession of a 12th-minute goal to Aaron Byrne proved another setback for the Malahide outfit, with points form McHugh and the lively David Lacey handing Na Fianna a healthy 2-8 to 0-5 interval lead.
The contest was effectively settled as Lacey added a third Na Fianna goal within four minutes of the restart with St Sylvester’s misery complete by the late dismissals of Mark Hazley and Jack Hazley.
Across the city in O’Toole Park, matters were far tighter as Ballyboden St Enda’s were pushed all the way before seeing off Clontarf by 0-11 to 0-10.
The 2016 All-Ireland winners trailed for the bulk of the contest but managed to pull through thanks to four points apiece from Ryan Basquel and Ross McGarry and further scores by Brian Bobbett, Alan Flood and Sean Gibbons while Kevin Lillis impressed for Clontarf with six points in total.
The second match of the double-header saw Raheny and Thomas Davis play out a 0-10 to 1-7 draw.