Mullally praises belief of 14-man Rangers
MT LEINSTER RANGERS 1-13 MIDDLETOWN NA FIANNA 1-11
THE GAA'S most novel All-Ireland hurling final pairing was settled by one of its oldest quirks on Saturday night at Croke Park.
A Mount Leinster Rangers side who couldn't seem to handle a rampant Middletown with 15 men, should not have stayed in it when they lost full-back Brian Nolan to a red card in the 26th minute.
But for the umpteenth time in GAA history it was a help rather than hindrance to the Carlow men as they produced a stirring second-half display to deny the Armagh champions.
The seeds of Mount Leinster's revival came with two late Denis Murphy frees in the first half which left them 1-8 to 1-5 behind.
"I didn't have to say much to them at half time... we needed the best performance we could give and once we started to get into the game the belief came," said a jubilant Rangers boss Tom Mullally.
With every point the confidence in Mount Leinster soared and they were inspired in the last quarter.
SCORERS -- Mount Leinster: D Murphy 0-10 (10f), E Doyle 1-1, E Byrne, D Phelan 0-1 each. Middletown: M Maguire 1-3, D Carvill 0-5 (5f), M Moan 0-2, P McBride 0-1.
MOUNT LEINSTER -- F Foley; G Kelly, B Nolan, K Lawlor; J Hickey, R Coady, E Coady; P Nolan, D Byrne; J Coady, E Byrne, D Phelan; HP O'Byrne, D Murphy, E Doyle. Subs: W Hickie for O'Byrne (52), P Coady for D Murphy (59).
MIDDLETOWN -- P Moa; B Mallon, P Gaffney, F Woods; P Hughes, N Curry, B McCann; P McBride, K McKernan; M Maguire, C McCann, D Carvill; C Carvill, R Gaffney, M Moan. Subs: P McArdle for P Hughes (42), N McCann for D Carvill (45), S Gaffney for C McCann (54).
Ref -- P Casey (Waterford)