A POINT in the 59th minute from former Cork attacker Seanie O'Farrell earned Carrigtwohill a first county title in 93 years at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday.
Having been promoted from the premier intermediate grade in 2007 -- when O'Farrell scored three goals in the final -- the club from the small village in east Cork battled against relegation in their first two years at senior and were 100/1 to win the title at the start of the year.
Carrig and Cork's Niall McCarthy, the Man of the Match, explained just how extraordinary it was for them to go all the way, given that in the first round of the championship they only squeezed past Ballinhassig, who have since been relegated.
"It's hard to sum that up, words couldn't do it justice, it's an unbelievable day," he said. "In the first round we played Ballinhassig and won by two points. They went down to intermediate and we ended up in the final.
"There was only ever a puck of a ball in any of the matches -- we won three of our games by two points and another one by three."
This was another tight battle that they came out on the right side of, thanks in no small part to the efforts of McCarthy and centre-back Noel Furlong.
In addition, a potent inside-forward line of Robert White, Mickey 'Da' Fitzgerald and Tomas Hogan combined for 12 points.
In contrast, only captain Lorcan McLoughlin scored more than once for CIT on a day their attack got little change from a disciplined Carrig defence.
Heart and desire were key.
"Everybody pulled together," McCarthy said. "We got a manager in from Lismore, James O'Connor, he was very professional. Everybody works their socks off, he won't tolerate anything less than 100pc.
"Fellas would die for each other out there -- I don't think that was the case a few years ago.
"No matter what CIT scored today, there was no way we weren't coming back."
That was shown after Colm Casey's goal had put the students 1-1 to 0-3 ahead early on, with Fitzgerald and Hogan scoring good points to ensure that Carrig led by 0-8 to 1-3 at half-time.
The introduction of Pat O'Connor to the CIT midfield helped them at the start of the second half, though, and he was on target as they outscored their opponents by 0-5 to 0-1 in the opening 11 minutes of the second half to lead by two.
Carrigtwohill knew that it was vital they took their chance, however.
"We used to be up in the stand there saying, 'Wouldn't it be great to be out there?', and suddenly we were there and had to take the opportunity with both hands," McCarthy said.
"We knew if we didn't win today we might never ever get the opportunity again -- you could find yourself down to intermediate as quick as you'd be in a county final."
White, McCarthy -- with a super score from the left sideline -- and Fitzgerald all scored for Carrig in the space of six minutes to make it 0-13 to 1-9 before McLoughlin and White exchanged points.
The CIT captain then nailed a '65' and a free to tie matters with three minutes left, with a first drawn final since 2000 a possibility.
But O'Farrell was on hand to convert after being found by White and Carrigtwohill held out for a famous win.
Scorers -- Carrigtwohill: M Fitzgerald 0-6 (0-2f), T Hogan (0-2f 0-1 65), R White 0-3 each, N McCarthy 0-2, S O'Farrell 0-1. Cork IT: L McLoughlin 0-5 (0-2f, 0-2 65), C Casey 1-0, J Cronin, D Drake, M O'Sullivan, T Quaid (0-1f), T Murphy (0-f), P O'Connor 0-1 each.
CARRIGTWOHILL -- W McCarthy; M Foley, P O'Sullivan, R Power; C O'Connell, N Furlong, M O'Riordan; D O'Mahony, S Flannery; T Hogan, N McCarthy, L O'Sullivan; S Kidney, R White, M Fitzgerald.Subs: S O'Farrell for Kidney (47), B Lordan for Hogan (58).
CORK IT -- K Roche; J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, B Withers; L McLoughlin, R Cashman, B O'Sullivan; N Kelly, M O'Sullivan; J Cronin, D Drake, A Walsh; T Quaid, S O'Brien, C Casey.
Subs: P O'Connor for Kelly (h-t), T Murphy for Quaid (37), J Sheehan for Drake (47), K Hallissey for O'Sullivan (53).
Ref -- C Lyons (Nemo Rangers).