Mark Bergin said the pain of O'Loughlin Gaels' Kilkenny Club SHC final defeat 12 months ago was the fuel that drove them to redemption against Ballyhale Shamrocks.

Denied by Clara, 2-12 to 1-13, in a tense decider last year, O'Loughlin Gaels soothed the agony of that heartache as they scrapped to a four-point Nowlan Park triumph against Ballyhale.

Bergin's immaculate free-taking was key to that - he notched 0-11 over the hour - but the forward insisted it was sheer desire that proved the difference in the end.

We looked stronger and fitter. I suppose we called on the hunger from last year.

“Last year we were absolutely gutted," he told RTÉ Sport.

"We went into the dressing room and it was a terrible place to be. This year we said to ourselves, ‘we’re in it with ten minutes to go, we’re going to push on’, and we did.

"We looked stronger and fitter. I suppose we called on the hunger from last year.

"Ballyhale won the All-Ireland in 2014; we haven’t won a club championship since 2010 so maybe that came into the play in the last three or four minutes. We got a few hooks and blocks and just got over the line.”

Bergin and Co can now look forward to a Leinster date with with Wexford champions Oulart-the-Ballagh or St Rynagh's of Offaly on 20 November.

After producing a second-half display in which they held Ballyhale scoreless for the last 10 minutes of the contest, O'Loughlin Gaels will go in to that match with their tails up.

“It’s very hard to describe at the moment, we’re just absolutely thrilled," Bergin added.

"Six long years… it’s a hell of a long for a club the size of us.

“There is pressure when you’re taking frees, but luckily enough the first one went over and I just continued on like that. It was a real team effort.

"Our underage structure was absolutely brilliant the last couple of years and I think the fruits of that came to the fore today. It was a real workmanlike performance. We’re delighted."