A dominant first half laid the foundation for Ballyteague to claim an opening round win at home to Castlemitchell on Saturday afternoon.
A blistering start gave the home side a three point lead after just three minutes with points from Stephen Ennis, Brian McGrath and a free kick from Seamus Hannifin. Joe Maher hit back with a close range free followed by a by a left footed shot after a long run through the defence. The Larks took control again though and scored six points in a row, two coming from Glenn Thorpe, two from McGrath and one each Padraic Murphy and Hannifin. Maher kept the away side ticking over with three points before John Fennelly added another from distance soon after but Ballyteague landed three more from Stephen Ennis, Kevin Murphy and Thorpe to give them a half-time lead of 0-12 to 0-06.
The 'Mitchells piled on the pressure in the second half and at times it looked like they could claw their way back on the scoreboard were it not for missed chances in front of goal. Kieran Harris got the first of the half before Maher scored two more frees to bring his total to seven. Hannifin, Murphy and Derrick Mooney pointed one each to keep the gap between the teams before Tadhg Fennin scored two points. Castlemitchell were then chasing a goal which never came as the home side ran out four point winners.
Best for Ballyteague were Seamus Hannifin, Glenn Thorpe, Sean Dowling, Stephen Ennis and Brian McGrath.
Best for Castlemitchell were Joe Maher, John O'Connor, Karol Harris and Emmet Hyland.
Ballyteague: Marc Herbert, Connor Mullaney, Thomas Coogan, Barry Mullins, Gerry Melia, Stephen Dunne, Donal Dempsey, Kieran Brennan, Seamus Hannifin(0-03,1f,1-45'), Glenn Thorpe(0-03), Kevin Murphy(0-01), Brian McGrath(0-03,2f), Padraic Murphy(0-02,1f), Sean Dowling, Stephen Ennis(0-02). Subs: Derrick Mooney(0-01) for McGrath.
Castlemitchell: Stephen Foley, Matthew Moore, John O'Connor, Brian Kavanagh, Brendan Maher, Ray Fitzgerald, JP Horgan, John Fennelly(0-01) Emmet Hyland, Stephen Donovan, Joe Maher (0-07,5f), Trevor Griffin, Killian Ward, Karol Harris, Kieran Harris(0-01). Subs Tadhg Fennin (0-02,1f) for Ward, Fionn Mcdonald for Dovonan.
Referee: Tony Doyle