St Kevin's did not dominate all the statistics at TH King yesterday, but its systematic destruction of the Old Xaverians nonetheless has rightly returned it to premiership favouritsm.
The Red 'n' Blacks controlled the game early, but could not apply sufficient scoreboard pressure to achieve any advantage. SKOB, however, rumbled forward on six occasions and scored from all of those forays, establishing a three goal advantage at the first change.
Xavs looked more dangerous in the second stanza, but a measly 1.5 was the return, a result of pressure and more blazing away than one would see at an arsonists' convention. Again, the home team was more economical and added to its early lead.
The third term was the Red 'n' Blacks best, at least until the time-on period. The Claret and Stout upped the pressure, and despite the continued woeful inaccuracy, squeezed the reigning premier. With the margin into three goals, it appeared the challenge was well and truly on. But critical skill errors and poor decision-making stopped the comeback dead in its tracks. The Tricolours slammed through three goals in a hurry to take a six goal lead at the lemons.
With several players hobbling, the resistance wilted in the last term. Xavs finally showed some economy in front of the sticks, but the SKOB tidal wave rolled over the Red 'n' Blacks defence and blew out the margin to a level that caused some anguish.
With SKOB champion Anthony "Plugger" Lynch playing his 250th game, the home team was always going to be tough to toss. With yesterday's loss behind them, the Xavs must go back to work and quickly get back to the winners' list. Other results indicate there is plenty of business left in this 2018 season.
St Kevin's 4.2-26 6.3-39 10.5-65 17.6-108
Old Xaverians 1.1-7 2.6-18 3.10-28 6.11-47
Goal Kickers: S. Ralph 3, T. Anderson, M. Handley, H. Troiani
Best Players: T. Johnston, D. Noonan, C. Johnston, J. Milhuisen, C. Margin, S. Ralph