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Extra special Harte goal inspires battling Ulster in five-goal thriller

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Paul Cribben, Leinster, in action against Seán Cavanagh, Ulster

Paul Cribben, Leinster, in action against Seán Cavanagh, Ulster

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Kevin McManamon, Leinster, in action against Peter Harte, Ulster

Kevin McManamon, Leinster, in action against Peter Harte, Ulster

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Leinster's John O Loughlin and manager Luke Dempsey leave the field after defeat to Ulster

Leinster's John O Loughlin and manager Luke Dempsey leave the field after defeat to Ulster

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Paul Cribben, Leinster, in action against Seán Cavanagh, Ulster

Ulster made it three inter-pro final appearances in a row when they squeezed past Leinster after extra-time in Pairc Tailteann.

Ulster fought like warriors to force this game into additional time and ultimately clinch the win.

How the GAA can fail to market this competition given the quality of football in this enthralling tie defies belief with a paltry 294 paying customers in attendance.

Leinster were made to pay dear for not sealing the deal in normal time and Ulster took full advantage in extra-time with a super goal from Tyrone's Peter Harte four minutes into the second period helping them to victory.

It was Ulster's full-forward line of Eugene Keating (Cavan), Donegal's Michael Murphy and Conor McManus (Monaghan) that proved the big difference between the sides as they rattled off 1-18 of their side's tally between them.

Ulster had powered their way into a commanding lead at the start of the game with corner-forward McManus rifling to the back of the net after 36 seconds and by the seventh minute they held a 1-3 to 0-1 lead with David Givney, Keating and James Kielt (free) slotting over the points.

Leinster came back and by the quarter hour they were ahead (0-7 to 1-3) thanks to some sublime scores in this free-flowing game. Their cause was not helped when full-back Kevin Reilly picked up a black card in the 20th minute for a rugby tackle on Murphy.

Leinster kept to their task though and were rewarded in the 28th minute when Wicklow's Leighton Glynn rounded Rory Beggan to slot home for a goal and move them into a 1-9 to 1-8 lead.

The sides traded scores to see them go in level at the break (1-11 apiece) but it was the Leinster men who upped their game in the second half and stormed into the lead with a well-taken goal from Kildare's Paul Cribben.

Leinster managed to maintain their advantage until the 66th minute before goalkeeper Paddy O'Rourke was adjudged to have handled the ball on the ground when clearing his lines and sub Darren McCurry slotted over the equaliser (1-19 to 2-16) for Ulster.

Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara looked to have won it when he pointed in the 68th minute, but Ulster forced extra-time thanks to a long-range effort from McManus to leave it 1-20 to 2-17 at the end of normal time.

Leinster moved up a gear with a Bryan Menton goal six minutes into extra-time giving them a 3-21 to 1-22 lead at the break.

But that goal from Harte and two frees from Murphy were enough to see Ulster home.

SCORERS – Ulster: M Murphy 0-8 (6fs, 1 '45), C McManus 1-4, E Keating 0-6, P Harte 1-1, D McCurry 0-2 (2fs), S Cavanagh, D Givney, J Kielt (f), K Hughes, M Donnelly 0-1 each. Leinster: M Newman (4fs), E O'Flaherty (1f) 0-4 each, L Glynn, P Cribben 1-1 each, B Menton 1-0, P McMahon, MD MacAuley, G Reilly, E O'Gara 0-2 each, J O'Loughlin, K McManamon, T Moolick 0-1 each.

ULSTER – R Beggan (Monaghan); C McKaigue (Derry), N McGee (Donegal), C Walshe (Monaghan); S L McGoldrick (Derry), R McCluskey (Fermanagh), P Harte (Tyrone); S Cavanagh (Tyrone), D Givney (Cavan); J Kielt (Derry), M Poland (Down), M McHugh (Donegal); E Keating (Cavan), M Murphy (Donegal), C McManus (Monaghan). Subs: N Morgan (Tyrone) for Beggan (h-t), M Donnelly (Tyrone) for Kielt (h-t), C Cavanagh for McHugh (42), E McGee for McCluskey (47), K McKernan for McGoldrick (60), D McCurry for Poland (70), E Donnelly for S Cavanagh (h-t in e-t).

LEINSTER – P O'Rourke (Meath); D Keogan (Meath), K Reilly (Meath), P McMahon (Dublin); M Quinn (Longford), J O'Loughlin (Laois), P Cribben (Kildare); P Keenan (Louth), MD Macauley (Dublin); L Glynn (Wicklow), C Kilkenny (Dublin), G Reilly (Meath); E O'Flaherty (Kildare), E O'Gara (Dublin), M Newman (Meath). Subs: B Menton (Meath) for Reilly (21 BC), K McManamon (Dublin) for Glynn (h-t), K Murnaghan for Quinn (48 BC), N McNamee for G Reilly (43), T Moolick (Kildare) for Kilkenny (49), P Sharry (Westmeath) for Newman (66), G Reilly for Moolick (e-t), C Kilkenny for McNamee (e-t), L Glynn for O'Flaherty (e-t).

REF – E O'Grady (Leitrim)

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