Darragh O'Donovan rescued a draw for holders Mary Immaculate College with a well-taken point deep into injury-time in a thriller at the IT Carlow grounds last night.
DJ Carey's hosts looked to have completed a fine fightback by coming from 0-14 to 0-6 down after 34 minutes to lead through a splendid point from an acute angle by substitute Tommy Nolan with time almost up.
But there was one last kick left in Mary I and the leveller from Limerick's O'Donovan provided a fair outcome.
The visitors looked in control when leading 0-13 to 0-6 at the break and when Carlow hit a succession of early second-half wides they appeared to have blown their chances.
But some wonderful free taking from Stephen 'Picky' Maher, who finished with 0-9, allied to monster free from Laois keeper Enda Rowland inspired Carey's men and they stormed back to get their noses in front, only to be denied by O'Donovan at the death.
Scorers - IT Carlow: S Maher 0-9 (7fs, 1 '65'), C Dunford, C Dwyer, M Kavanagh 0-2 each, J Doyle, E Rowland (f), T Nolan 0-1 each. Mary I: A Gillane 0-6 (5fs), D O'Donovan, C Lynch 0-3 each, C Galvin, T Monaghan 0-2 each, C Twomey, D Sweeney 0-1 each.
IT Carlow - E Rowland; D Palmer K Hannafin, R Brown; R Moran, D Healy, D O'Hanlon; J Doyle, C Dunford; C Dwyer, M Russell, M Kavanagh; J Fagan, S Maher, C Bolger. Sub: T Nolan for Russell (57).
Mary I - C Barrett; D Sweeney, R English, E Quirke; C Twomey, R Maher, A Flynn; C Galvin, S Cahill; A Gillane, M O'Neill, D O'Donovan; T Monaghan, C Lynch, T Grimes. Subs: T Gallagher for Monaghan (46); L Meade for Cahill (48); T O'Mahony for Grimes (55).
Ref - B Gavin (Offaly).