Kilcoo will meet champions Corofin in the All-Ireland Club SFC final thanks to their battling win over Ballyboden at Kingspan Breffni.

Maiden Ulster champions, they have made it all the way to the national decider at the first attempt, another massive achievement by the legendary Mickey Moran, the mastermind of many notable successes in a variety of counties down through the years.

Ryan Johnston's first half goal helped the Ulster champions to a 1-06 to 0-06 interval lead, and Daryl Branagan fired in a second three-pointer midway through the second half.

It was the courage and intensity shown by the Down side, particularly in frenetic closing stages, that set them apart and secured a memorable triumph, built on the togetherness of a small rural club.

A combined eight point haul from the Basquel brothers, Ryan and Colm, were not enough to rescue the Leinster champions, who were outdone by the ravenous desire shown by their opponents.

Kilcoo manager Mickey Moran (left) congratulated by Monaghan boss Seamus McEnaney after the game

Ryan Johnston’s strong runs from deep, allied to the defensive protection provided by sweeper Aidan Branagan, helped the Mourne champions gain an edge in a cagey opening spell.

But they could only manage a Paul Devlin score, and the Dublin men went level with their opening score, a Ryan Basquel score in the ninth minute.

Moments later, quick hands helped them thread together a fine move, with Declan O’Mahoney sending the ageless Conal Keaney in to pick off a point.

Keaney supplied the perfect pass for Basquel to accept the invitation to stroke over his second, but Kilcoo, with the help of converted frees from Niall McEvoy and Devlin, were level by the end of the opening quarter.

Cathal Flaherty stuck tight to danger man Conor Laverty, the stand-out star of Kilcoo’s Ulster final triumph, seriously curbing the firmer Down star’s influence on the contest.

But Laverty made a deft but decisive intervention with the delightful flick which sent Ryan Johnston in to bury the ball low to Darragh Gogan’s net in the 21st minute, Aidan Branagan also playing a key role in an incisive move which finally unlocked a stubborn 'Boden defence

With confidence soaring, Mickey Moran’s men pushed on with the wind and rain in their backs, breaking from a well organised defensive shape to go four clear through Aaron Morgan, but stoppage time frees stroked over by the Basquel brothers made it a two-point game at the break, 1-05 to 0-06.

Ballyboden's Darren O'Reilly is tackled by Kilcoo's Aidan Branagan

Macauley spotted the run of Kieran Kennedy to set the wing back uip for a point as the gap narrowed and the gusts caressed the backs of the Ballyboden men.

But they missed chances to go level, goalkeeper Gogan failing with two ‘45s, and Kilcoo’s two points advantage was restored by Devlin in the 32nd minute.

The Ulster title-holders stepped up the intensity, forcing a series of turnovers, and they were rewarded at the end of the third quarter with a second goal, smashed home by Daryl Brangan, one of five brothers in the team, after an attempted point had come back off a post.

Dubs' star Macauley’s afternoon was brought to an early conclusion by a 50th minute black card as frustration began to show in the ranks.

Kilcoo’s attempts at game management carried a high level of risk, and they were pinned back by a Ballyboden side growing in desperation.

Colm Basquel swept over a couple of frees, with sub Warren Egan also hitting the target to keep their dream alive, but vital defensive interventions from Aaron Branagan and Jerome Johnston held Kilcoo’s challenge together.

Kilcoo: M McCourt; N Branagan, A Branagan, R McEvoy (0-03, 2f); E Branagan, Aidan Branagan, N McEvoy; J Johnston, Aaron Branagan; A Morgan (0-01), D Branagan (1-00), R Johnston (1-00); S Johnston (0-01), P Devlin (0-03, 2f), C Laverty.

Subs: M Rooney for Morgan (h-t), J Clarke for D Branagan (BC 54), F McGreevy for Ward (63), A Morgan for Laverty (BC 66)

Ballyboden: D Gogan; B Dwan, S Clayton, C Flaherty; K Kennedy (0-01), R McDaid, B Bobbett; MD Macauley, D O’Mahoney; D O’Reilly, C Basquel (0-03, 3f), A Flood; R McGarry, R Basquel (0-05, 4f), C Keaney (0-01).

Subs: A Waters for Bobbett (35), T Hayes for McGarry (37), D Nelson for Waters (BC 39), W Egan (0-01) for Flood (46), J Holland for Macauley (BC 50), S O Maidin for O’Reilly (52)

Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).