CARLOW hurling recorded a precious first when Mount Leinster Rangers survived a ferocious Robert Emmets onslaught at Parnell Park yesterday.
The victory clinched a first-ever appearance in an All-Ireland club final at any level for both club and county -- a thoroughly deserved honour after a gripping semi-final battle with the Londoners.
A physically stronger Robert Emmets team included good operators from Kilkenny, Cork, Galway and Tipp in their ranks -- but their finishing let them down, with 12 first-half wides.
After trailing 0-7 to 0-5 at the break, Eoin Doyle cut loose to inspire the Leinster champions into a three-point lead inside 15 minutes.
The Londoners impressively turned the tide and levelled the scores. But, ultimately, they couldn't match the intensity and work rate of the Carlow men.
They had a major scare at the death when Emmets' sub Damien McCormack sent a glorious chance wide, but they hung on for a landmark victory and a special day out at GAA HQ to look forward to.
SCORERS -- Mt Leinster Rangers: D Murphy 0-7 (6f),
J Coady, HP O'Byrne 0-2 each, D Byrne, E Doyle 0-1 each. Robert Emmets: M Callanan (2f), A Fitzgerald, K Bolger, P Atkinson (1f) 0-2 each, M Walsh, N Healy, E Brennan 0-1 each.
MOUNT LEINSTER RANGERS -- 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: C Byrne for Phelan (54).
ROBERT EMMETS -- N Higgins; J Anderson, E Walsh, B Healy; N Healy, P Horkan, G Hill; M Walsh, K Bolger; S Ryan, A Fitzgerald, B Ennis; P Atkinson, E Brennan, M Callanan. Subs: D McCormack for Ryan (45), K McMullan for Callanan (52), J Cody for Anderson (55).
REF -- G Duffy (Antrim).