O'Reilly holds nerve to force a replay
Kingscourt Stars 1-8 Mullahoran 1-8
Top scorer Enda O'Reilly converted two injury-time frees to deny favourites Kingscourt their second crown in three years.
The Stars looked home after sub Ryan McCormack dived to palm the ball to the Mullahoran net less than a minute before the end of normal time.
McCormack's major left Mullahoran trailing by 1-6 to 1-8, but a brace of frees from O'Reilly in the dying moments got his side out of jail.
Wind-aided Mullahoran raced into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead, with Raymond Lynch goaling in the ninth minute. The underdogs continued to hold sway, with their two-man full-forward line of world handball champion Paul Brady and brother Philip always dangerous.
Kingscourt took time to settle, but they chased the game with plenty of grit into the teeth of the gusting wind.
Points from Joe McMahon and Barry Reilly (free) reduced Mullahoran's lead to four points by the end of the opening quarter.
Kingscourt's younger legs came to the fore in the third quarter and they slowly ate into their opponents' 1-4 to 0-3 interval lead.
The town team went up through the gears to outscore Mullahoran by four points to one to draw level, 0-8 to 1-5, with 47 minutes on the clock.
Kingscourt then suffered a grave blow, with the dismissal of their most experienced player, Thomas Malone, eight minutes from time.
McCormack's goal steered Kingscourt into the lead for the first time, but O'Reilly played the role of party-pooper to a tee to ensure the sides must meet again this Sunday.
SCORERS -- Kingscourt: B Reilly (3f); P Smith (1f) 0-3 each; R McCormack 1-0; J McMahon, S Og Gargan 0-1 each. Mullahoran: E O'Reilly 0-7 (4f); R Lynch 1-1.
Kingscourt -- J Farrelly; P Faulkner, T Wakely, S Grey; B Tully, A Clarke, K McCabe; C Smith, J Dillon; J McMahon, P Smith, P Tinnelly; T Malone, B Reilly, S Og Gargan. Subs: G Sheenan for P Faulkner (43); R McCormack for J McMahon (50); D Martin for C Smith (59).
Mullahoran -- E Brady; S Smith, K Brady, J Reilly; D Sheridan, Patrick Brady, M Brady; C Shiels, PP Galligan; D Smith, Enda O'Reilly, Paul Brady; Philip Brady, Eddie O'Reilly, R Lynch. Subs: T Nannery for D Smith (42).