Middletown bounced back from last week’s championship defeat to Keady to pick up a two-point home win over Cuchulainns on Tuesday evening.
It was nip and tuck throughout the early exchanges. The accurate Jordan Murtagh struck 50% of Cuchulainns scores in the opening 35 minutes of action.
Sean Og McGuinness nailed 0-4 for the reigning champs while Ryan Gaffney landed 0-3 in the first half.
Nathan Curry, Paddy McBridge, Cahal Carvill along with Jake and Ben Toal were all chipped in for the hosts, who led 12-10 at the break.
Three on the trot from Ben Toal, Shaun Toal and McGuinness gave Middletown a five-point cushion at the start of the second half.
Murtagh kept Cuchulainns in touch from the dead ball. He saw two of his scores matched by McGuinness and Carvill, who nailed an outstanding sideline cut.
Murtagh and Joseph Burke narrowed the gap to three, before Gaffney pushed Middletown ahead again.
But Cuchulainns didn’t back down, and three on the trot from Murtagh dwindled the margin down to a point.
McGuinness raised a white flag at the other end before Cuchulainns took the led on 50 minutes for the first time in the game.
Tom Marley fired a ball into the square from long range and it ended up in the back of the net. That put Cuchulainns ahead 0-19 to 1-17.
Shaun Toal and Burke exchanged efforts, but Middletown chipped on four of the final five scores to claim victory.
Ruairi Grimes, Paddy McBride, Ben Toal and McGuinness all point to see the champs through by two.
League leaders Keady continued their winning streak, picking up their third win on the trot away to Craobh Rua.
Last year’s beaten finalists rattled off two important goals as they marched to an impressive 16-point victory, 0-12 to 2-22.