Baltinglass fancied their chances at the start of the second half as full-forward John McGrath converted a free to open up an eight points gap, 1-10 to 0-5.
But one writes off Rathnew at their peril and, like St Mary’s in the semi-final, Baltinglass also found that an eight-point cushion is no safety net against a team that has appeared in 16 finals in the last 20 years, winning 11 of them.
This victory has given Leighton Glynn his 17th senior championship medal in Wicklow, nine of them for football with Rathnew and the other eight for hurling with Glenealy.
However, the men from the village must have wondered if they had made the right decision to play against the wind in the first half as their opponents raced into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead in the first 11 minutes, Rory Nolan with the Baltinglass goal.
By half-time it was 1-9 to 0-5 and until Theo Smith goaled this was a completely one-sided game.
Rathnew picked away at the lead and when Glynn scored a penalty he earned himself they were just one point behind.
Rathnew went in for the kill and Stafford punched to the net in injury-time.
Scorers for Rathnew: T Gill (0-5, 3fs), L Glynn (pen), T Smith, J Stafford (1-0 each), S Kavanagh, E Doyle (0-2 each).
Scorers for Baltinglass: J Kelly (0-5, 4fs), Rory Nolan (1-1), J Kennedy (0-3), J McGrath (0-2, 1f), H Sinnott, C Foley, K Murphy (0-1 each).
RATHNEW: P Dignam; J Manley, D Power, J Snell; C Healy, A Merriman, E Glynn; J Stafford, S Kavanagh; E Doyle, T Smith, N Mernagh; T Gill, M Doyle, L Glynn.
Subs: P Ellis for M Doyle, R O’Brien for E Glynn.
BALTINGLASS: J Flynn; T Murphy, A Nolan, M Staines; R Nolan, I Sheerin, B Cullen; J Sheerin, M English; J Kelly, C Foley, J Kennedy; H Sinnott, J McGrath, K Murphy.
Subs: T Kealy for C Foley, S Wall for R Nolan.
Referee: K Kenny (Tinahely).