A goal three minutes from time by Niall McEvoy earned city side O'Loughlin Gaels a thrilling win over five-in-a-row chasers and All-Ireland club champions Ballyhale Shamrocks at Nowlan Park yesterday.
McEvoy got to the end of a Mark Bergin free to turn the ball into the net from close range.
Ten minutes from the end Shamrocks, despite struggling a bit all afternoon, had looked set for another county final when Eoin Reid bagged a goal to put them 3-10 to 1-14 in front.
But points from midfield star Maurice Nolan and Mark Bergin (free) levelled the game with seven minutes remaining for O'Loughlin's, before McEvoy plundered the winning goal.
There was nothing between the teams in the opening quarter when the sides shared eight points. The winners got on top for a while, and two minutes before the break they led by 1-9 to 0-5. A late goal from Reid revived Shamrocks, who ended up trailing by 1-6 to 1-10 at the break.
A goal from Michael Fennelly levelled the match at 1-13 to 2-10 at the end of the third quarter. O'Loughlin's took up the running again, but when Reid's second goal took Shamrocks 3-10 to 1-14 ahead, the champions looked capable of victory.
But O'Loughlin's regrouped to snatch the closing three scores and a place in the final.
Scorers - O'Loughlin Gaels: M. Bergin 0-6 (4f), D. Loughnane 1-3, M. Nolan 0-4, N. McEvoy 1-1, A. Geoghegan 0-2. Shamrocks: E. Reid 2-1, T.J. Reid 0-5 (4f), M. Fennelly 1-0, D. Hoyne 0-2, J. 'Cha' Fitzpatrick, J. Walsh 0-1 each.
O'Loughlin Gaels -- S. Murphy; B. Kelly, A. Kearns, E. Kearns; A. O'Brien, B. Hogan, N. Bergin; P. Dowling, M. Nolan; N. McEvoy, M. Bergin, A. Geoghegan; B. Dowling, M. Comerford, D. Loughnane. Sub: S. Cummins for B. Dowling.
Shamrocks -- J. Connolly; A. Cuddihy, A. Cummins, T. Coogan; J. 'Cha' Fitzpatrick, E. Walsh, B. Aylward; J. Holden, M. Fennelly; J. Walsh, T.J.Reid, C. Fennelly; M. Aylward, E. Reid, D. Hoyne. Subs: P. Reid for J.Walsh, B. Costelloe for M. Aylwad.
Ref -- P. Dunphy (Carrigeen).