Rathvilly 2-12 Éire Óg 1-10

Rathvilly are the Carlow senior football champions after they produced a stunning performance at Netwatch Cullen Park to deprive Éire Óg of five in a row and in the process won their first title since 2014.

The champions elect got off to a stunning start when Brian Murphy latched on to a high ball, beat his marker, rounded the keeper and planted the ball into an empty net. While Chris Blake nailed Éire Óg's opening score, Jake Elliot controlled possession well to fire over for the challengers.

When Rathvilly were turned over, the champions swept forward and Blake tucked the ball to the net at the O’Hanrahan end of the ground. Blake added another point from play. By the water-break two frees from Darragh O’Brien pushed Éire Óg go into a 1-04 to 1-02 lead.

On the restart Rathvilly hit back with Elliot bisecting the posts. The pressing game was working for Rathvilly and a Brian Murphy free drew the sides level. Blake and Benny Kavanagh restored the Éire Óg lead but a snap shot and a free from Murphy levelled it at 1-04 each at the interval.

The second half remained tight as O’Brien and Murphy both scored a free each. Éire Óg almost stole in for a goal but Rathvilly keeper, Robbie Molloy, made himself big and Jordan Morrissey was unable to get in the shot while taking the hit.

Then when Rathvilly hit back, Éire Óg full-back, Mark Fitzgerald was lucky to escape a black card instead of yellow. The third quarter saw a trend develop with both sides attacking. Tight defences were pinged which gave the respective free-takers taking easy points.

On 49 minutes Brian Murphy collected and fired over the lead point for Rathvilly. The Wicklow border side dared to dream when Brendan Murphy lofted over an excellent point out on the right. His brother, Brian, then put his side in touching distance of glory when converting a simple free.

Rathvilly nearly were undone when they lost the ball close to goal but Murtough Ware’s shot was well saved by Robbie Molloy. On 62 minutes Rathvilly finally made the game safe when a four man attack ripped open the holders defence. When the ball ran loose Eric Molloy used all his soccer skills and his rocket sealed victory for the Wicklow border side.

It was all hands to the pump in the final seconds for the Rathvilly defence who comfortably held out to secure their 9th title in the club’s history.

Rathvilly: Robbie Molloy; Barry John Molloy, Paul Curran, Dara Curran; Josh Moore, Conor Doyle, Paraic Deering; Brendan Murphy (0-01), Ed Finnegan; Kevin Murphy, Alan Kelly, Colin Byrne; Brian Murphy (1-08 6fs), Brian Smith, Jake Elliott (0-03 1f).

Subs: Eric Molloy (1-00) for Kelly (42), Danny Molloy for Byrne (54), Tony Bolger for Deering (56), Padhraig Bolger for Elliott (62).

Éire Óg: Robbie Moore; Jordan Lowry, Mark Fitzgerald, Benny Kavanagh (0-01); Jordan Morrissey, Mark Furey, Paul McElligott; Kelvin Chatten, Sean Gannon; Ross Dunphy, Adam Murphy, Recce Denieffe; Darragh O'Brien (0-05fs), Chris Blake (1-03), Colm Hulton.

Subs: Murtough Ware for Denieffe (h/t), Niall Quinlan (0-01f) for Hulton (51), Eoghan Ruth for Murphy (51), Shane Buggy for Fitzgerald (56), Lee Moore for Furey (62).

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Palatine)