James Costello scored a hat-trick as Rathfriland Rangers thrashed St Patrick’s Young Men to begin the new season in emphatic style.
Costello - captaining his boyhood club for the first time - grabbed three goals, while Thomas Lockhart, Chris Havern and Karl McVerry also got their names on the scoresheet.
Belfast club St Pat’s are a side that will be competitive in the Northern Amateur Football League’s Division 1A this year, so to dispatch them with such ease will have boosted confidence further in a squad already brimming with belief.
Just six minutes were on the clock when Costello swept home the opener with his left foot, and barely two more had passed when Lockhart doubled the advantage.
Twelve minutes had gone and the game was already as good as over, but Havern headed in from Ross Black’s corner deep towards the back post just to make sure.
And when Lee Feeney burst through the St Pat’s backline from midfield, he laid on a simple finish for Costello to double his tally.
Rathfriland centre-halves Haven and Aaron Black kept them at bay and restricted them to hopeful - or rather hopeless - long-range efforts that were never going to trouble Shane Harrison in goal.
The visitors did pull one back before Lockhart and McVerry scored and Costello complete dhis hat-trick to make the final score line 6-1.
Rathfriland play Dromara Village in their next fixture.