Three points without reply in injury-time saw the Sons of O¢¬¢Connell come from behind and steal the result from right under Ballyhaise¢¬¢s noses just when Kevin Tierney looked to have won it for the visitors.
In a tedious affair up until its closing stages, the hosts were good value for their win, with John Fitzpatrick¢¬¢s coolly taken goal on half-time putting a sword through all Ballyhaise¢¬¢s good work during the opening half-hour.
Half an hour later Graham¢¬¢s men had belied the strong breeze against them to get in front again, with the full-time whistle due to shortly arrive, but the scores of Barry Corrigan, Barry Cunningham and Shane Kelly wrote a different page in the script here as the home side earned an early pair of points for the new season.
It was Kelly that grabbed Drumlane¢¬¢s first score after two minutes when a quick free from Barry Corrigan found the full-forward on the edge of the square to fist over.
Against a whirling wind, that was about as good as it got for Noel Marron¢¬¢s men for a good 20 minutes, as they squandered seven chances wide of the uprights in the first-half.
In the meantime, Ballyhaise went ahead with their game plan, which saw Colm Lynch pulling the strings from centre-forward and through a Stephen Smith free and neat point from Niall Costello in the right corner they were ahead by the quarter hour mark.
With the wind very much in their sails, the visitors weren¢¬¢t finding it too tough to find their range as Conor Lyons and Colm Lynch each landed 40-metre points before Drumlane really looked to be overrun at the back when Barry Kelly steamed forward from centre-back to exploit the hosts¢¬¢ centre and crash the ball over the bar for a four-point advantage.
Drumlane received their wake-up call around the 25-minute mark when Stephen McCann floated over a wonderful free from the right side and Barry Cunningham backed up the glorious effort with a rasping point after being sent through by Corrigan.
Two minutes later and Drumlane were in front once their roaming corner-forward Barry Corrigan had drop-kicked into the chest of John Fitzpatrick, who quickly slipped off a pass to Shane Kelly and although the attacker¢¬¢s effort was well smothered by Brendan Maguire, Fitzpatrick was on hand to tuck in the rebound for a one-point lead at the break.
Graham sent on his ace attacker Kevin Tierney within five minutes of the restart, and despite two points, his inevitable influence was well restricted by Glenn Fitzpatrick at the back for Drumlane.
However, with them, Ballyhaise carried the threat of being able to score among all of their forward players and nothing underlined that more when half-forward Stephen Smith kicked over two scores into the wind to push his side back in front by the 40th minute.
Barry Corrigan drew the game level for the third time, but coming into the final quarter Eamon Costello released Tierney and the Cavan minor speedster smashed over with his left to hand Ballyhaise back the advantage.
After watching a few chances drop the wrong side of the posts, Cunningham demonstrated his pace and accuracy to level with five minutes to go, but Drumlane were caught napping at the back after that when a quick free from McRudden found Tierney unmarked and he popped over what looked to be the winner heading towards injury-time.
There was a ¢¬Ënever say die¢¬¢ attitude about this Drumlane outfit though and when captain Robert Smith won a priceless free on the edge of the Ballyhaise square, after wandering up from corner-back, Corrigan calmly slotted the placed kick over and the hosts looked as though they were to come away with at least a point.
The west Cavan men were back to work from the resulting kick-out though and when a JP Kelly went on a menacing run from wing back possession found its way to Cunningham 30 metres out and from there the result was never in doubt as he split the posts.
Ballyhaise knew the next fetch at centre-field from Brendan Maguire¢¬¢s kick-out had to be theirs in order to have any chance of securing a point, but it was the solider-like Paul Kelly that leaped highest for Drumlane and found Shane Kelly in enough space to put the result beyond any shadow of a doubt.
Drumlane ¢¬ Danny Kelly; Neil McCann, John O¢¬¢Dowd, Robert Smith; Fergal Brady, Glenn Fitzpatrick, JP Kelly; Paul Kelly, Gareth Corrigan; John Fitzpatrick (1-0), John Deignan, Stephen McCann (0-1); Barry Corrigan (0-2), Shane Kelly (0-2), Barry Cunningham (0-3). Subs: Cormac Fitzpatrick, Darren Murphy
Ballyhaise ¢¬ Brendan Maguire; Sean Fay, Michael Rooney, Mark Brennan; Shane Brady, Barry Kelly (0-1), Cian Dunne; Barry McRudden, Conor Lyons (0-1); Stephen Smith (0-3), Colm Reilly (0-1), Barry Reilly; Niall Costello (0-1), Eamon Costello, Jarlath Moran. Subs: Kevin Lynch, Kevin Tierney (0-2), Gerry McRudden, Martin Tackney
Ref: Michael G Brady (Mullahoran)