Éire Óg (Carlow) 1-12 Sarsfields (Kildare) 0-9
Carlow football champions Éire Óg put in a dominant second-half performance in which they outscored Sarsfields of Kildare by 0-7 to 0-1 at Netwatch Cullen Park to set up a Leinster semi-final meeting away to Portlaoise.
Before an attendance of 3,500, this was an absorbing game of high quality in which there was nothing to choose between the two sides in the opening half.
After Chris Blake had shot two early pointed frees for the home side, 'The Sash' then took command to hit five unanswered points from a Caomhín McDonnell free, followed by the game's first score from play by Barry Coffey, supplemented by white flags from Cian Costigan, Alan Smith and Conor Hartley.
Éire Óg forced their way back into the game with a well-taken point from full forward Ross Dunphy.
In the 18th minute, the game turned in the Carlow champions favour. A kick-out by Sarsfields goalie Paddy O'Sullivan was met in midfield by the fist of Seán Gannon, the ball was helped on by Ross Dunphy into the possession of Jordan Morrissey and the Éire Óg man cut inside his man to pick his spot low to O'Sullivan's right.
The half time score of 1-5 to 0-8 was a fair reflection of the trend of play.
After the break, Éire Óg took immediate control, with a point from play by Chris Blake followed by Cormac Mullins kicking two superb points, also from open play.
Sarsfields were unable to match the inter-play of their opponents, who now sensed that the game was theirs for the taking.
On 43 minutes, Ray Cahill, the visitors full-forward pointed a close-range free to cut the gap to two points, which was to be his side's only score of the half.
The five time Leinster Club champions then missed a number of scorable frees, which appeared to provide Sarsfields with a lifeline.
However, the dominance of the Carlow champions told eventually with quick points from play by Darragh O'Brien, Jordan Morrissey and Seán Gannon easing them five in front before substitute Niall Quinlan kicked a magnificent point from a sideline to rub salt into the Sarsfields wounds.
Following that score, an altercation between Quinlan and Sarsfields full-back and captain Seán Campbell led to a straight red card for The Sash No 3 while Quinlan was black-carded. That was on 55 minutes.
In the end, Éire Óg were clear and deserving winners in a game full of good football. The winners' victory was laid in an outstanding team ethic with Richie Mahon, Benny Kavanagh, Mark Furey, Jordan Morrissey, Seán Gannon, Chris Blake and Ross Dunphy particularly prominent.
Sarsfields lost their way in the second half and had no answer when Éire Óg hit their straps in that second half.
Scorers - Éire Óg: C Blake 0-05, 0-04 frees, J Morrissey 1-01, C Mullins 0-02, R Dunphy, D O'Brien, S Gannon, N Quinlan (line ball) 0-01 each. Sarsfields: C McDonnell 0-02, frees, B Coffey 0-02, A Smith, C Costigan, C Kavanagh, C Hartley, R Cahill 0-01 each.
Éire Óg: R Keating; R Mahon, M Fitzgerald, B Kavanagh; J Lowry, M Furey, P McElligott; J Morrissey, C Mullins; S Gannon, D O'Brien, E Ruth; C Blake, R Dunphy, C Hulton. Subs; D Hayden for Hulton (42); N Quinlan for Mullins (50); R Denieffe for Quinlan (black card) (55).
Sarsfields: P O'Sullivan; C McConnell, S Campbell, T Aspell; C Kavanagh,C McEnerney Aspell, D Ryan; C Costigan, C McDonnell; S Ryan, D McKenna, C Hartley; C Coffey, R Cahill, A Smith. Subs: S Doyle for Kavanagh (40); B McDonnell for C McConnell (46); K Hartley for Cahill (52); D Shalvey for Ryan (52); C Byrne for McKenna (57).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).