St Rynagh’s played with a stiff breeze in the first half and appeared to be in good shape when a goal from Stephen Quirke and a fine point from Conor Hernon put them 1-4 to 0-2 ahead after 17 minutes.
However, for the remainder of this tie the Birr defence was superb, with county men Rory Hanniffy, Paul Cleary and Seán Ryan each producing some outstanding hurling.
Birr trailed 1-5 to 0-5 at half time but quick four points put them in control. Both sides played with extra defenders so scores were in short supply, but Birr rediscovered their rhythm in the last 11 minutes, striking six points without reply.
Scorers for Birr: M Dwane (0-6, 4fs), P Cleary (0-5, 3fs, 2 65s), P Mullins (0-2), C Mulrooney, D Hayden & B Murphy (0-1 each).
Scorers for St Rynagh’s: S Quirke (1-1, 0-1f), G Scales (2fs), A Treacy (1f, 1 65) (0-2 each), C Hernon, S Dolan (0-1 each).
BIRR: B Mullins; C Egan, P Cleary, B Harding; S Ryan, R Hanniffy, B Watkins; B Whelahan, B Murphy; C Mulrooney, D Hayden, S Lonergan; E Nolan, P Mullins, M Dwane.
Subs: T Bolger for Ryan (18, blood), Bolger for Mulrooney (46).
ST RYNAGH’S: C Clancy; N Wynne, S Wynne, D Maloney; C Hernon, D Shortt; S Óg Lyons; P Camon, A Treacy; J Sullivan, G Rafferty, G Conneely; S Quirke, S Dolan, G Scales.
Sub: D Horan for Dolan (ht), J O’Connor for Scales (ht), C Horan for Raferty (49).
Referee: Tony Carroll.