DEAR ALL clubs in Carlow, the bar has been set, the standard has increased and now it's up to you to go and put in the work that the Mount Leinster Rangers club has put in and try and match them in the future.
At the moment in Carlow there is no team playing with the same hunger, work rate, intensity and freedom that the Rangers are playing with. It's no fault of Erin's Own or any other club who clearly work hard but the Carlow hurling manual has been rewritten and the only team with a copy is Mount Leinster Rangers.
The talk before this final said only a fool would back against Rangers but like a lot of examples in this country, a lot of the time, the fool wins.
On this occasion though the fool was wrong and from the get go Rangers took charge. By the quarter way mark they lead 1-5 to 0-0 and Erin's Owns game plan was not paying off. You just can't leave five Rangers defenders against two forwards because there will only be one result.
This may not have been the deployed tactic but it seemed that way to most spectators. The failure of the Bagenalstown men to alter this tactic cost them dearly and perhaps going man to man would have given them a better chance but the Rangers were on a mission and they succeeded.
Although they were in the lead early Tom Mullaly still felt a change was needed and moved Eddie Byrne to full forward as Erin's Own were winning a lot of primary possession off the breaking ball but failed to use their possession wisely.
After 20 minutes Craig Doyle finally got his side off the zero mark with a free and that came five minutes after Edward Coady put over a point after gathering possession from a poor defensive Erins Own clearance.
The ball hit the ground and his hurley simultaneously but he controlled it and flung it over the bar, it was an exemplary point from an exemplary hurler. David Phelan had netted the goal for Rangers after a scramble in the goalmouth saw him tap home from close range.
Erin's Own had quality forwards on show with Alan McDonald and Andrew Beaton up front but the entire team seemed to rely far too much on Craig Doyle and while he worked tirelessly he was forced into dead ends and had little support when really needed. He added his second point from a free two minutes after his first but that would be all his side would score in the first half.
Eddie Byrne and Willie Hickey finished off the first half scoring with points and it looked good for Rangers as they lead 1-7 to 0-2.
Damien Fitzhenry could have said or done anything at half time but whatever he did worked for a while as the Bagenalstown men came out all guns blazing and scored two points through Craig Doyle and a superb effort from Johnny Corcoran reduced the deficit to six points after Eoin Doyle, a half time substitute pointed in between both.
Denis Murphy hadn't scored all day but he had been instrumental in setting up some of the scores the Rangers nicked in the first half and he decided it was Denis time and pucked the next four scores from frees and the game was out of Erins Own's hands.
Your heart would ache for Eoin Minchin and Alan Corcoran in the Erins Own setup, they forced turnovers time and again but to no avail. Corcoran notched a point and it seemed there may have been life in his side yet but the next score sealed the win for Rangers when David Phelan was again on hand to tap home from close range.
Erin's Own would score once more in this county final, and only one man could get it, Craig Doyle. It came from a free but the game was over. Amazingly there was still 10 minutes to play and Eoin Doyle who had been busy since his introduction wasn't finished yet.
Man of the match Eddie Byrne went on a glorious run and maybe could have taken the goal glory but he crossed to Doyle who rounded David Miley and found the net to a huge roar in the stand.
Maybe Doyle said something to Miley on his way back to position or perhaps it was shear frustration on the keepers part but something angered the keeper and Doyle was on the receiving end of a strong charge and a bit of a 'shemozzle' ensued which ultimately saw Miley see a straight red.
Both sides ran in all the subs including Paul Coady for Rangers and he got the final score from an impossible angle in front of the stand capping off what must be the greatest year of the young man's life.
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS
Frank Foley, Michael Doyle, Gary Doyle, Gary Kelly, Brian Nolan, Richard Coady, Edward Coady (0-1), Richard Kelly, Derek Byrne, John Coady (0-2), Eddie Byrne (0-3), David Phelan (2-0), Hugh Paddy O'Byrne, Willie Hickey (0-1), Denis Murphy (0-4,frees). SUBS: Paul Coady (0-1), Denis Grennan, Eoin Doyle (1-1), Padraig Nolan, Jack Murphy.
David Miley, Pat Abbey, Dermot Somers, James Geoghan, John Miley, John Rogers, Johnny Corcoran (0-1), Eoin Minchin, Alan Corcoran (0-1), Peter Doyle, Craig Doyle (0-4, 3f), Alan McDonald, Andrew Beaton, Trevor Nolan, Roy Kent. SUBS: Jack Barron, Christy Cody, Mark McDonald, David Corcoran, Brian Hourihan.