AIB GAA Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship Final
Mount Leinster Rangers (Carlow) 0-11 Oulart-the-Ballagh (Wexford) 0-8
Mount Leinster Rangers have struck an almighty blow for all of Carlow with a monumental victory in the Leinster senior hurling final against Oulart-the-Ballagh on Sunday.
The first Carlow side ever to reach the final took their chance, and in recording a three-point victory, become the first senior side from Carlow to win a Leinster hurling championship title at either club or county level.
However, for Oulart-the-Ballagh, what should have been a day of absolution turned into a nightmare. The Wexford champions have now lost four Leinster finals in a row, and their wait for a first ever provincial crown continues. If they are to recover from this latest defeat, it would be a phenomenal achievement.
The game was close throughout, and a cagey opening quarter ended with the sides tied on 0-2 apiece. However, Oulart-the-Ballagh edged into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead just shy of half-time following a brilliant free from Eoin Moore, and they retained that advantage at the interval.
Eire Og (5 Leinster SFC Club)
O'Hanrahan's (1 Leinster SFC Club)
Mount Leinster Rangers (1 Leinster SHC Club)
1 Leinster Senior Football (1944)
0 Leinster Senior Hurling
The lead went to three early in the second half, but sensing that their great dreams could be fading, Mount Leinster Rangers turned the tide and found the scores that won them the game.
Denis Murphy's free made it 0-6 to 0-4 and he then hit two more points in a row, one from play and one from a free, to make it level after 38 minutes.
The game was very much up for grabs in the final 20 minutes, but while Mount Leinster Rangers looked desperate to seize their chance, Oulart-the-Ballagh began to fade out of the game and fell behind when another Murphy free flew over the bar.
Oulart had been wasteful in front of goal in the first half and the profligacy continued as time ticked on. Mount Leinster Rangers were having the opposite experience in front of goals, and Paul Coady's point pushed the lead out to two.
Murphy was the star of the show though, and he swivelled to strike a lovely score on the turn with five minutes to go to make it 0-10 to 0-7.
That point was effectively the final blow for Oulart-the-Ballagh. Although they responded with one more point, Derek Byrne hit the final score of the game to seal the win for Mount Leinster Rangers, and spark wild scenes of celebration amongst their small but highly committed group of fans.
The Carlow boys march on now to face Antrim champions Loughgiel Shamrocks in the All-Ireland semi-final next year.