IT Carlow hit three goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch victory from their IT Tralee hosts in Sunday's Sigerson Cup tie at Austin Stack Park.
Despite some occasional flashes of brilliance from David Clifford, this was a poor spectacle — but that will matter little to the victors, who trailed by six points entering the final stages.
The opening half was dominated by free kicks, a free-ridden affair with Clifford (5) and Barry John Keane (1) edging the hosts to a 0-7 to 0-5 interval lead, with Offaly senior Cian Farrell claiming all but one of his side’s tally.
When David Clifford swung over a trademark point on the resumption, it appeared that Tralee might kick on — but they were flat, and quality players were guilty of some basic errors as two Farrell points closed the gap to the minimum (0-8 to 0-7).
IT Tralee, who were forced to line out without three Kerry seniors — Michael Potts, Gavin Crowley, and Dara Moynihan — had scored the game’s opening goal in the 50th minute when Keane flicked to the net for a 1-10 to 0-7 lead.
But the 54th-minute sin-binning of Iarla Courtney was to prove costly as the visitors had goals from Adam Steed, Farrell (penalty), and Conor Doyle deep into injury time.
Incredibly, Tralee had a chance of a late winner, but Keane could only blaze over the bar from eight yards with a goal at his mercy.
Scorers for IT Carlow: C Farrell (1-6, 1-0 pen, 4 frees), C Doyle and A Steed (1- 0 each), E Lowry, P O’Connor and N Hughes (0-1 each).
Scorers for IT Tralee: D Clifford (0-7, 3 frees), B J Keane (1-3, 1 f), T Brosnan (0-3).
IT TRALEE: J Duggan (Kerry); M Fitzgerald (Kerry), M Gavin (Meath), J Morgan (Kerry); C Byrne (Wicklow), S Kelliher (Beaufort), J Myers (Kerry); M O’Shea (Kerry), P Clarke (Kerry); S O’Connell (Kerry), C Keane (Kerry), J Savage (Kerry); T Brosnan (Kerry), D Clifford (Kerry), B J Keane (Kerry).
Subs: J O’Sullivan (Kerry) for J Savage (42), I Courtney for P Clarke (47).
IT CARLOW: K Roche (Clare); T Collins (Laois), R Hitchcock (Laois), C Walsh (Wexford); C Doyle (Carlow), R Ryan (Meath), J Moore (Meath); S Ryan (Cork), A Steed (Kildare); E Lowry (Laois), C Byrne (Kildare), C Farrell (Offaly ); N Hughes (Wexford), P O’Toole (Wicklow), J Walsh (Offaly).
Subs: P O’Connor (Wicklow) for C Walsh (45), T Griffin (Limerick) for S Ryan (45), P Farrelly (Kildare) for J Walsh (50), S Crowley (Clare) for C Doyle (Blood 64).
Referee: D Murnane (Cork).