Mount Leinster Rangers 3-21 Ballinkillen 0-12
After losing the county final to St Mullins last year to a late, late point, Mount Leinster Rangers stored up a year of hurt and an ambition to put things right when they came up against Ballinkillen in the Carlow decider on Sunday.
It was going to be a huge ask for young and relatively inexperienced opposition and so it proved when Denis Murphy swooped for two goals in the opening ten minutes.
While Murphy caught the eye, it was the other corner-forward on the opposite side, Ted Joyce, whose speed created much of the space for the Rangers forwards to exploit.
Ballinkillen visibly gasped for air and Rangers turned the screw. By half-time they led 2-12 to 0-6 with Chris Nolan registering five points in the half. Paul Coady, Eddie Byrne and Joyce were also on the mark.
Ballinkillen only score in the first ten minutes came from a Ciaran Whelan free. The young man went on to score 0-8 which were all from frees while Sean Murphy, Daniel Sheehan and Craig Wall raised white flags in the first-half.
If Rangers want to be critical on themselves they may wonder why they never fully turned the knife on their opposition but the outsiders showed tremendous courage in trying to hang on to the coat tails of a side who were never going to be caught.
With three minutes to go Joyce won dirty ball up the right at the Dublin end of the ground. Eddie Byrne still had a lot to do when the ball came to him but his delicate touch completely deceived an advancing Thomas Dowling for what was the icing on the cake.
Ominously for the rest of the teams in Carlow Rangers look set for many years at the top.
In Ciaran Kavanagh, Gary Lawlor, Dean Tobin and Tony Lawler they blooded several young players this year who now have senior medals while they could afford to leave Willie Hickey, Gary Kelly and Richard Kelly three former Carlow intercounty players on the bench.
Mount Leinster Rangers: Dean Grennan; Tony Lawler, David Phelan, Michael Doyle; Jack Murphy, Diarmuid Byrne, Richard Coady; Gary Lawlor, Paul Coady (0-1), Jon Nolan; Eddie Byrne (1-2), Kevin McDonald; Denis Murphy (2-7, 0-4 frees 65), Chris Nolan (0-8 1 free), Ted Joyce (0-1).
Subs: Dean Tobin (0-1) for J. Nolan (39 mins), Michael Malone (0-1) for Lawlor (46 mins), Ciaran Kavanagh for D. Murphy (48 mins), Dara Tobin for Lawlor (56 mins), Richard Kelly for R. Coady (58 mins),
Ballinkillen: Thomas Dowling; Barry Hickey, Dion Wall, Sean Brennan; Cormac Lomax, David English, Sean Whelan; Jamie Wall, Ciaran Whelan (0-8 frees); Craig Wall (0-1), Owen Roberts, Eoin Whelan (0-1); Marty Dalton, Sean Murphy (0-1), Daniel Sheehan (0-1).
Subs: Daryl Roberts for Hickey (h/t), Jack Treacy for Dalton (Niall Hickey for Sheehan (54 mins).
Referee: Jonathan Murphy (St Mullins)