THESE TWO neighbours served up a fine game of hurling on Saturday afternoon and in the end the closeness made for great excitement as Diarmuid Byrne's equalising point in the dying minute meant the teams will have to do battle again.
Rangers were beaten in the same final last year by Carlow Town and there was a real sense that they wanted to set the record straight.
St. Mullins had flirted with the latter stages in recent times and to be fair to both clubs fielding such strong sides at Senior and Intermediate grades is an impressive feat.
The final got underway when James Doyle pointed two frees in the fourth and fifth minutes and Luke Roche made it 2-1 in the same time period for MLR.
Big Jim Murphy would go on to score 1-3 for his day's work and he got his first score when the sliotar was delivered directly to the full forward and his turn and first time shot sailed over to give St. Mullins a deserved lead.
Their brief period of dominance was cut short though when Michael O'Grady went down the far side of the field and scored an impressive 1-1 in a minute. The point came first and it drew a big cheer from the black and red support but when the same player was in close proximity to the goal in the next play he finished to the net for an even bigger cheer.
St. Mullins needed a response but it didn't come for a while as there were nearly 20 minutes played when James Doyle grabbed his third point of the game. They had a chance then to get a goal back when more good service to Jim Murphy resulted in a penalty when he was pulled to ground but the shot was brilliantly saved by a defensive combination on the line.
The teams then swapped four scores between the 23rd and 27th minutes with Ed Kennedy, Michael Malone, Michael Walsh and Conor Fenlon all pointing before half time.
MLR lead by a point at half time and St. Mullins yet again needed a big response and it came immediately in the second half when Jim Murphy got on the end of a long high ball from Sean Murphy and Jim rose his stick highest to deflect the ball to the net. The creator then turned scorer from a free and suddenly St. Mullins had turned it around and lead 1-7 to 1-4.
This was a great game of hurling and MLR copied their neighbours purple patch with three points of their own. Michael Malone got the first before Colm O'Byrne reduced the gap to one and Denis Roche played the captains role and levelled matters.
The second half finished the exact same way as the first and the sides swapped four scores in the exact same pattern of Mullins, Rangers, Mullins, Rangers and Jim Murphy did the damage for St. Mullins as Michael O'Grady and Diarmuid Byrne sent the game to a replay in the last minute.