Ballyboden St Enda's (Dublin) 0-08 Eire Og (Carlow) 0-6

Ballyboden St Enda's are AIB Leinster club champions again but it took a Herculean effort from the Dubliners in tough conditions in Portlaoise to secure their second title in five seasons.

Trailing by a point with the hour almost played, the 2016 All-Ireland winners dug so deep with a late three-in-a-row of points from Warren Egan, Ryan Basquel and Michael Darragh Macauley to edge a gruelling contest.

Subs Egan and Macauley had a huge influence on the low scoring game with Egan first levelling it before Basquel inched Ballyboden ahead and Macauley set the seal on a famous win with the insurance score in the 63rd minute.

It was tough on Eire Og, five times winners between 1992 and 1998, who fought bravely and thought Sean Gannon's 56th minute point, which put them ahead, might be the winner.

But Anthony Rainbow's Ballyboden brought all their big game experience to bear with those three late scores during the finale to secure an All-Ireland semi-final clash with Ulster champions Kilcoo on January 4 in Cavan.

It was Eire Og's first final since last winning the provincial competition in 1998 - when current boss Joe Murphy was captain - and they reached the decider by displaying a miserly concession rate.

In their three previous games, wins over Castletown, Sarsfields and Portlaoise, they conceded an average of 10 points per match, holding Portlaoise scoreless from play in the second-half of their semi-final win.

That game was also in Portlaoise and the Carlow town side returned to the venue high on confidence and with a clear game plan to frustrate the Dubliners.

Colm Basquel attempts to get a shot away

For Ballyboden's part, they'd opened up with some of their best football of the season in the semi-final win over Garrycastle when they registered 3-14.

The Firhouse Road men dominated much of the first-half possession as expected this time but found that buttressed Eire Og defence hugely difficult to break down.

A couple of early exchanges summed up the pattern of the game; Conal Keaney beaten to a 50-50 ball by an Eire Og defender in the fourth minute, Colm Basquel blocked with a score attempt in the 11th minute and Basquel again denied in the 21st minute by the goalkeeper.

Eire Og, in classic counter attacking fashion, took their own chances when they arose and reeled off three points in a row in a blitzkrieg 90-second period across the 11th and 12th minutes.

Ross Dunphy, Gannon and Chris Blake all converted and suddenly, in atrocious conditions with rain sheeting across the pitch, they were sitting pretty.

The four-time Dublin champions were patient though and finally got on the scoresheet in the 23rd minute through Colm Basquel. Keaney added a second in the 28th minute after a patient passing move down the left and Ryan Basquel tied it up at 0-03 apiece just before the break from a free.

Ballyboden clearly possessed the momentum now but on a heavy pitch and with rain continuing to be driven across the pitch by a strong breeze, it was anyone's game.

Neither team could quite grab the initiative in a tit-for-tat third quarter and with 10 minutes to go the sides remained deadlocked at 0-05 apiece.

It was tough, uncompromising fare with some huge hits going on a rain sodden pitch that cut up as the game wore on.

Chances were limited and both Dunphy and Colm Basquel berated themselves for wides at a crucial stage.

Eire Og's supporters in the main stand raised the roof when county man Gannon eventually nudged them ahead with a 56th minute point following a short free from Dunphy.

But Ballyboden weren't to be denied and the introduction of both Egan and Dublin star Macauley proved decisive with the duo both pinching scores when it truly counted.

Ballyboden St Enda's: Darragh Gogan; Shane Clayton, Bob Dwan, Cathal Flaherty; Kieran Kennedy, Robbie McDaid, Brian Bobbett; Declan O'Mahony, Donagh McCabe; Darren O'Reilly, Colm Basquel (0-02), Alan Flood; Ross McGarry, Ryan Basquel (0-02, 0-01f), Conal Keaney (0-02).

Subs: Michael Darragh Macauley (0-01) for McCabe (40), Sean Gibbons for Bobbett (40), Warren Egan (0-01) for Flood (49), Tom Hayes for McGarry (50), James Holland for Keaney (56).

Éire Óg: Ricky Keating; Richie Mahon, Mark Fitzgerald, Jordan Lowry; Paul McElligott, Mark Furey, Brendan Kavanagh; Sean Gannon (0-02), Eoghan Ruth; Ross Dunphy (0-02), Darragh O'Brien, Colm Hulton; Chris Blake (0-01), Jordan Morrissey (0-01), Cormac Mullins.

Subs: Kelvin Chatters for McElligott (17), Derek Hayden for Mullins (44), Niall Quinlan for Hulton (56).

Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly).