TRUST Declan Browne to produce the moment of magic that sent Moyle Rovers on their way to another county title in yesterday's thrilling decider in Thurles.
Tipperary's only football All Star struck a peach of a goal in the 52nd minute as his side rallied to head an Aherlow outfit which for a long period seemed destined to win the title for the second time after their landmark first triumph in 2006.
Browne scored 2-4 of his side's tally (1-1 from play) and was the most influential player in a rip-roaring contest in which outsiders Aherlow carried the game to their rivals from the very start. Indeed, they can count themselves most unlucky not to have emerged with at least a draw.
Hungrier Aherlow raced into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after only five minutes but in the sixth minute Browne blasted a Moyle Rovers penalty to the net after full-forward Padraig Foley was fouled close to goal.
Aherlow kept up the pressure and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Thomas Hanley fisted a Barry Grogan delivery to the Rovers net for a goal that helped his side to a 1-7 to 1-3 lead at the interval.
Rovers were a different proposition after the break but Aherlow held steady until the 46th minute when Moyle sub Diarmuid Foley, with his first touch of the ball, raced in from the left for a great goal to leave only a point between the sides.
Six minutes later, Browne finished brilliantly to the Aherlow net after Martin Dunne and Diarmuid Foley created the chance. Browne pointed again two minutes later before retiring injured. Rovers then had Paul Johnson sidelined on a second yellow card.
Aherlow, to their credit, put in a storming finish. Barry Grogan pointed two frees, and a last-gasp effort from Seamie Grogan for a leveller in injury-time tailed wide to leave Rovers champions for the sixth time.
Browne's composure was crucial to Rovers' win but Martin Dunne, Peter Acheson, Sean Keating, Liam Cronin and Padraig Foley all had big games for the champions.
Stuart Moloney, Derry Peters, Barry and Seamus Grogan, Tommy Russell and John Hennessy led the Aherlow charge all the way.
Scorers -- Moyle Rovers: D Browne 2-4 (1-0 pen, 1f), D Foley 1-0, P Acheson, B Mulvihill 0-1 each. Aherlow: B Grogan 0-5, S Grogan 0-3, T Hanley 1-0, B O Brien 0-2, L Coskeran 0-1.
Moyle Rovers -- C Kendrick; R Desmond, R Power, L Cronin; S Keating, N Fitzgerald, D O'Dwyer; P Johnson, M Dunne; J Shanahan, S Carey, P Acheson; B Mulvihill, P Foley, D Browne. Subs: D Foley for O Dwyer; J Williams for Browne;
Aherlow -- S Leonard; S Mullins, J Hennessy, M O Brien; T Russell, C McDonald, M Hanley; C Dillon, S Moloney; S Grogan, D Peters, L Coskeran; B O Brien, B Grogan, T Hanley. Subs: Chris McDonald for Mullins; C O Shea for B O Brien;
Ref -- D O'Mahoney (Ardfinnan).