Mullins on the money to rescue replay for Éire Óg
Rathvilly 1-9 Éire óg 0-12
Late points from Eoghan Ruth and a wonder-strike from substitute Cormac Mullins rescued a replay for Éire Óg in a tense, exciting clash at Netwatch Cullen Park.
The 26-time champions trailed by four points at one stage in the second half, but gradually reeled in Rathvilly.
In a final watched by an attendance of 3,500, there was a sensational start when, direct from the throw-in, Rathvilly went on the attack and Alan Kelly's lobbed effort into the goal area fell kindly for full-forward Gary Dempsey, who crashed the ball to the net.
Dempsey quickly added a free as Éire Óg struggled to gain a foothold in the game.
Brendan Murphy, Rathvilly's star county midfielder, was hugely influential through his outstanding fielding - and he was very much his side's 'go to' man.
But Rathvilly were guilty of some shoddy shooting when they had Éire Óg on the back foot, with Murphy himself hitting three wides in the opening half.
The concession of scorable frees by Rathvilly provided Éire Óg with a pathway into the game, with Eric McCormack converting three placed balls.
Meanwhile, Ruth and Darragh O'Brien were on the mark from play.
In the 21st minute, at the end of Éire Óg's best move, McCormack's close-range shot brought a fine save from Rathvilly goalkeeper Robbie Molloy.
Rathvilly then broke a 22-minute spell without a score when man of the match Kelly pointed from play as the north county side led 1-3 to 0-5 at the break.
By the 41st minute Rathvilly had forged into a 1-7 to 0-6 lead, but Éire Óg gradually reduced the deficit with Benny Kavanagh, Seán Gannon and Derek Hayden prominent.
Hayden was denied a goal by Molloy's diving save after the ball came back off the post from a Niall Quinlan free, but the late points from Ruth and Mullins secured a replay.
Kelly, who scored 0-3 from play, was black carded in injury-time.
Scorers - Rathvilly: G Dempsey 1-2 (0-1f), A Kelly 0-3, Brian Murphy (1f), JJ Smith 0-2 each. Éire Óg: E McCormack (2fs) , D O'Brien (2fs) 0-3 each, E Ruth 0-2, S Gannon, D Hayden, N Quinlan (f), C Mullins 0-1 each.
Rathvilly - R Molloy; B J Molloy, C O'Brien, T Bolger; J O'Donoghue, W O'Donoghue, J B Leonard; Brendan Murphy, K Doyle; A Kelly, E Finnegan, R Ryan; Brian Murphy, G Dempsey, J J Smith. Subs: D Molloy for Ryan (47); C Byrne for J B Leonard (50); J Moore for J O'Donoghue (inj, 50); B Smith for Doyle (57).
Éire Óg - R Moore; F O'Toole, M Fitzgerald, B Kavanagh; J Lowry, P McElligott, R Dunphy; S Gannon, K Chatten; D Hayden, E McCormack, E Ruth; D O'Brien, C Blake, M Furey. Subs: C Mullins for McCormack (41); N Quinlan for Blake (45); J Morrissey for O'Brien (52).
Ref -D Hughes