Crosserlough 0-13 Kingscourt Stars 0-08
Crosserlough are the kings of Cavan again after they saw off Kingscourt Stars in a tension-filled replay clash at Kingspan Breffni.
The Kilnaleck-based side last won the Oliver Plunkett Cup in 1972, when the club were completing a seven in-a-row, but their young side threw off the shackles of history here as they ran out deserving victors over a gallant Kingscourt.
Last week's drawn game, which finished 2-12 apiece, was an instant classic; this evening’s was more of a dogfight but enthralling in its own way as the younger side attempted to get over a seasoned Kingscourt who were featuring in a seventh county final, including replays, since 2010.
This time around, the game didn’t hit the same heights as a spectacle but the winners deserved their victory, grinding it out in a tense, low-scoring second-half.
As in the drawn game, Crosserlough raced out of the traps. By the time of the first water break, they held a four-point advantage on the scoreboard, 0-06 to 0-02.
The Stars had ample possession but squandered some good chances, kicking four wides in that first quarter as well as wasting two goal chances, one of which was saved superbly by Brian Malocca and the other blocked spectacularly by Conor Rehill from Alan Clarke.
Crosserlough opened their account right from the throw-in when Shane McManus found corner-back David Shalvey with a handpass and the defender sent over.
Barry Tully replied with a neat point for Kingscourt, who started with regular full-back Alan Clarke on the edge of the opposition square.
A Patrick Lynch free was followed by a rousing point from James Smith, who made a fine catch at midfield and drove through, and when Stephen Smith got on the end of an excellent move, the Lough were 0-4 to 0-1 up and cruising with 11 minutes played.
Padraig Faulkner got Kingscourt going again with a well-taken score but Crosserlough responded superbly with a long-range Mark Stuart point and a '45 from Lynch, after Kingscourt goalkeeper James Farrelly had saved well from Stephen Smith.
Barry Reilly, who had been off target with a couple of earlier efforts, landed his first from a free but again, the outstanding James Smith responded with a trademark point to make it 0-07 to 0-03 on 23 minutes.
Two minutes before the break, Smith delivered a perfect ball to Lynch who made and converted an attacking mark but, crucially, Kingscourt rallied in the final spell just before the interval as gaps suddenly appeared in the Crosserlough rearguard.
Cian Shekleton got the scoreboard ticking over before Peter Corrigan set Faulkner up for another and then, in injury time, John Oates found Shekleton in acres of space and he clipped over another to leave it 0-08 to 0-06 at the halfway mark.
The second half was cagey with defences very much on top. Lynch struck first, converting a free after a foul on Adrian Smith, and after 10 scoreless minutes, Stephen Smith knocked over another after Kingscourt goalkeeper James Farrelly had pulled off yet another fine save.
Man of the Match Smith, who turned in an awesome performance, landed his third from play to make it 0-12 to 0-07 at the end of the third quarter but despite the five-point cushion, nerves were at play in the closing stages which were littered with errors.
A free from Barry Reilly with 10 minutes on the clock made it a four-point game. Twice, Crosserlough hit the wrong side of the upright as they desperately searched for another point which would surely have sealed it but they were forced into some frantic defending too, with Mark Stuart outstanding.
Both sides fluffed chances as the tension grew but Crosserlough were managing the game well and, deep in injury time, they finally landed the insurance point when Lynch curled in from the left to seal a memorable, famine-ending victory.
Crosserlough: Brian Malocca, John Cooke, Patrick O'Reilly, David Shalvey (0-02), Shane McVeety, Conor Rehill, Cian Boylan, Mark Stuart (0-01), James Smith (0-03), Shane McManus, Brandon Boylan, Darren Gaffney, Adrian Smith, Patrick Lynch (0-5, 0-02f, 0-01m, 0-01'45), Stephen Smith (0-02).
Subs: Pierce Smith for McManus (41), Ryan Galligan for Gaffney (50), Peter Smith for Rehill (55, temp.), Enda Gaffney for A Smith (56), Peter Smith for McVeety (60), Barry McKiernan for B Boylan (60).
Kingscourt: James Farrelly, Cathal McKeown, Alan Clarke, Killian Farrelly, Shane Duffy, Paddy Meade, John Oates, Shane Gray, Peter Corrigan, Barry Tully (0-01), Philip Tinnelly, Kevin Curtis, Cian Shekleton (0-02), Padraig Faulkner (0-03), Barry Reilly (0-02, 0-02f).
Subs: Darragh Gunne for Curtis (37 mins), Sean Burke for Shekleton (45), Oisin Cunningham for Oates (45).
Ref: Oliver Óg O’Reilly (Mullahoran).