The Red 'n' Blacks crashed to St Kevin's under the wires at TH King on Saturday after twice skipping away to leads that on other days might have been considered insurmountable.
After conceding the first goal, Xavs dominated the middle minutes of the first term, with Goss and Handley booting five between them to set up a handy lead. However the Tricolours hit back with three goals in time on to steady their ship.
St Kevin's dominated the early part of the second term and quickly turned deficit into a handy lead. In the minds of some, it bacame a case of "how far?" though a massive response from the visitors, with goals to Goss, Matt Margin, Ambrose and two to Chris Waller saw the Claret and Stout spring back to life and take a two goal lead to the long break.
The Xavs had kicked straight, while SKOB had squandered several opportunities in front of the sticks in a game where momentum see-sawed between the two unbeaten teams. Minutes of domination in the midfield ensured massive pressure on the respective defences.
So it continued early in the third. Xavs showed plenty of silk and got out to a five goal lead. Kevs responded, but some slick run and magnificent kicking saw the X Men back in front by five goals at the lemons.
The last term edged along to ten minutes without score, with a couple of Xaverian thrusts collapsing at critical points. Another goal or two forward might have closed the gate, but the Kevs applied the pressure, won the middle and drove forward with monotony. Still they missed shots, but they had plenty of them, enough of them to finally straighten up.
The Red 'n Blacks defended stoutly, but the tide had turned in an instant. Xavs needed to respond on the scoreboard, but it had few chances to do so. Kevs hit the front and then added the sealer, a worthy reward for twenty minutes of domination all over the ground.
If anyone had harboured doubts about SKOB being the real deal, those doubts are now well and truly gone. The Tricolours are a very talented and relentless team and will be tough to beat. The Xavs can take some solace in their efforts for three quarters at least, knowing that at their best, they are going to be difficult to stop too. But it will take four quarters of sustained excellence to live with the very best.
St Kevins 4.3-27 7.8-50 9.10-64 15.16-106
Old Xaverians 5.1-31 10.2-62 15.4-94 15.5-95
Goal Kickers: B. Goss 7, M. Handley 3, C. Waller 2, M. Ambrose, D. Symeopoulos, M. Margin
Best Players: C. Lane, B. Goss, C. Margin, D. Noonan, T. Anderson, M. Ambrose