St Mullin's produced the shock of the club championship weekend as the Carlow representatives stunned former All-Ireland champions, Cuala, at Netwatch Cullen Park.
The hosts started as they meant to continue with James Doyle opening the scoring after six minutes but Cuala hit back with scores from Sean Moran and Diarmaid Ó Floinn. That lead was shortlived with Seamus Murphy equalising after nine minutes.
Cuala were gaining a territorial foothold but time and again they opted to go for goals when point chances were on offer. Yet the home defence refused to yield and each save and dispossession was greeted with a huge roar from the vocal local support.
It was nip and tuck to the end of the half and while Cuala enjoyed a two-point lead on three occasions St Mullin's didn’t falter with Marty Kavanagh driving them forward time and again. At half-time Cuala were fortunate to hold a one-point lead (0-9 to 0-8).
Kavanagh and David Treacy traded scores soon after the restart before St Mullin's enjoyed a slice of good fortune as a long range effort for a point by Jack Kavanagh dropped into the Cuala net off the fingers of goalkeeper, Sean Brennan. Cuala to their credit responded well to that concession as three points from Treacy returned them to the front.
But back came St Mullin's with Kavanagh the orchestrator as his inch-perfect pass found James Doyle on the edge of the square and he duly blasted to the bottom of the net. The ground erupted as the supporters believed that an upset was on. Shortly after when Cuala failed to clear their lines they were pinged and Kavanagh converted the resultant free.
The game finished on a knife-edge when two Treacy frees left only the minimum between them. There was time for one last attack but St Mullin's held their line to record one of the most famous victories in the club history.
Celebrations were muted at the final whistle as a St Mullin's club member, and father of one of the players, took ill during the game.
He was treated by medical staff and several hours later it was reported that he was making a good recovery.
ST MULLIN'S: K Kehoe; C Kavanagh, P Doyle, G Bennett; J Doran, M Walsh, P Walsh; J Doyle (1-1), O Boland; P Boland, S Murphy (0-1), M Kavanagh (0- 10, 0-9 frees); J O’Neill, J Kavanagh (1-1), P Connors.
Subs: P Kehoe for O’Neill (37), O Ryan for P. Walsh (50), J Murphy for Boland (58), Boland for Ryan (61).
CUALA: S Brennan; D O'Floinn (0-2), C O’Callaghan, S Timlin; S Moran (0-2), P Shuute, J Sheanon; S Treacy, N Kenny; J Malone (0-1), M Shuute, D O’Connell (0-1); C Sheanon (0-1), N Waldron, D Treacy (0-10, 0-8 frees).
Subs: C O’Callaghan for Kenny (43), Brian Fitzgerald (0-1) for Waldron (h/t), Cian Waldron for C. Sheanon (62).
Referee: Michael Murtagh (Westmeath).