The Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League got off to a ferocious start at Holm Park on Saturday, as Armagh City entertained Portstewart.
The home side found the net within the opening minute as Steafan McKenna marked his debut with a stunning strike as he cut in from the left to fire a right-footed effort into the top corner past the despairing dive of keeper Lukasz Bednarz.
The Seahawks responded quickly, however, and were back on level terms just 7 minutes later as City failed to deal with a through-ball and Eoghan Quigg coolly finished past the on-rushing Danny Devine in the Armagh goal.
Portstewart continued to hold the upper-hand in their return to PIL action, and were rewarded 10 minutes before the break when Johnny Stewart controlled a cross from the left with his back to goal, turned quickly and fired an early effort into the bottom corner past Devine.
City played some confident possession football as the second half got underway, but had to wait until after the hour mark to get back on level terms. Referee Raymond Hetherington awarded a free-kick to Armagh some 25-yards from goal after John Neill had handled the ball on the ground, and Thai Blevins struck a perfect curling effort around the wall which left Bednarz rooted to his spot.
A minute later McKenna headed just over from a superb Daniel Courtney cross from the left, as the young Armagh side pressed forward and looked the more likely winners at this stage.
However, all their hard work was undone on 75 minutes, as Davy McClements picked the ball up just outside the Armagh box and, finding space among a group of defenders, fired a low shot which beat Devine and found the net via the upright.
Quigg almost put the game beyond reach with 6 minutes remaining, but Devine did well to make a diving save.
The Eagles pushed forward in desperate search of an equaliser but the visitors’ defence held firm and they took home all three points from this entertaining opening-day fixture.
City are back in league action on Saturday when they travel to Wilgar Park in Belfast to take on Dundela.
Armagh City: Danny Devine, Conor Kerr, Daniel Courtney, Luke Grimley, Leo Montiero (Edilson Tavares), Simon Smyth (Marc Lukas), Matthew Hynds, Jack Clarke, Michael O’Hehir, Thai Blevins (Wilson Tavares), Steafan McKenna. Suns not used: Taylor Huston, Conor Murtagh.
Referee: Raymond Heatherington