St Mullins 2-17 Rathdowney Errill 1-19

St Mullins created history in Netwatch Cullen Park on Sunday when James Doyle struck with two late points to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to earn his side a first ever appearance in a Leinster senior hurling final.

The Laois side scored the first goal when Paddy Purcell ran through a gaping hole in the St Mullins defence to beat a helpless Kevin Kehoe between the home sticks.

St Mullins looked to be that little bit behind the pace of the game but they hit back immediately when Marty Kavanagh's accurate pass picked out Paddy Boland and he duly obliged from close range for a huge tonic of a goal.  

Two Rathdowney Errill  points from Mark Kavanagh and one each from Ross King and Jack Kelly eased the Laois side into a four-point lead.

Once more St Mullins clawed back the deficit as Marty Kavanagh ran at the Laois defence and shot home.

In the first half the Carlow side registered seven wides but a lot of those inaccuracies could be credited to a sharp Rathdowney Errill defence who put in the hooks and made life difficult for the home attack.

In the context of the game it was no surprise when Mark Kavanagh scored his seventh point from a free to nudge the Laois side into a 1-10 to 2-6 interval lead.

The eventual winners flew out of the blocks in the second half with Doyle and Seamus Murphy firing over a point each.

After that it became a battle of wills with Rathdowney Errill refusing to buckle. The two Kavanaghs, Marty for St Mullins and Martin for the Laois side, exchanged a succession of points  but Seamus Murphy got through an immense amount of work for St Mullins.

James Doyle of St Mullins celebrates his winning score

Two minutes from the end  Shane Madden's point looked to have broken St Mullins' hearts but they dug ever so deep with Doyle winning the next ball and levelling the game.

He wasn’t finished. With 30 seconds of the allotted two extra minutes remaining, he was on target to send Carlow men into a senior decider against Ballyhale Shamrocks.

St Mullins: Kevin Kehoe; John Doran, Paul Doyle, Gary Bennett; Chris Kavanagh, Ger Coady, Oisin Boland; Mick Walsh, Jack Kavanagh; Seamus Murphy (0-2), Marty Kavanagh (1-9, 0-5 frees), Paddy Walsh; Jason O’Neill (0-1), James Doyle (0-5), Paddy Boland (1-0).

Sub: Philly Connors for P Walsh (41 mins).

Rathdowney Errill: Damien Madden; Jimmy Corrigan, Brian Campion, John Purcell; Joe Fitzpatrick, Jack Kelly (0-1), Eric Killeen; John Keane, Paddy Purcell (1-1); James Ryan(0-1), Mark Kavanagh (0-12, 0-5 frees, 65), Shane Dollard; Paddy McCane (0-1), Ross King (0-2), Brandon McGinley.

Subs: Kevin O’Dea for Keane (40 mins), Shane Madden (0-1) for Dollard (45 mins), Ray Bowe for McGinley (46 mins).

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).