Carlow county champions Grange are out of the Leinster JFC following a defeat to Kildare side Kilcullen on Saturday evening at Netwatch Cullen Park.
Grange needed a fast start to avoid chasing the game from the early stages onwards, but that did not happen despite the opening score of the game coming for the home side in the form of an excellent point by Carlow intercounty star John Muprhy.
From there, it was one-way traffic untilmthe end of the first quarter, with Kilcullen forwards David Marshall and Ciarán O’Brien running riot prior to the first half water break as they scored 1-01 each to give Kilcullen a 2-02 to 0-01 lead after ten minutes.
To their credit, Grange responded with John Murphy leading the charge, acting as chief creator and scorer for his side. Murphy set up two excellent scores from play from advancing centre back Henry Hegarty and Alan Fleming before getting his second and third points of the game (1 free, 1 from play) to narrow the gap.
Good work from Darren Barker led to a fine point from Dan Coughlan as Kilcullen went 2-03 to 0-05 ahead with four minutes left in a pulsating opening period before full forward David Marshall pointed another free to further extend their lead to five points.
Killian Murphy responded for Grange but Marshall brought his tally to 1-03 for the half with one last free to give Kilcullen a 2-05 to 0-06 lead at the interval.
Murphy opened the scoring in the second half with two sweetly struck frees to make it a one-score game and bring the talisman’s total to five points, Kilcullen 2-05 to 0-08 Grange.
It was Murphy again who was to the fore as he drove at the defence and got his shot away. Kilcullen goalkeeper Cormc Barker made an outstanding save but the rebound fell to Ciarán Prendergast who tapped into the empty net and drew his side level midway through the second half.
Murphy completed the turnaround with another free and Alan Fleming added another to push the Carlow side into a two-point lead, Grange 1-10 to 2-05 Kilcullen.
David Marshall got Kilcullen’s first point of the second half right before the first half water break to halve the deficit heading into the final quarter.
Marshall levelled with a free on a bitterly cold afternoon at Netwatch Cullen Park but it wasn’t level for too long as Murphy continued his one-man tirade to edge Grange into a 1-11 to 2-07 lead with ten minutes left to play.
Marshall replied once more to draw the sides level but Andy Hickey ventured up the pitch to give his side a late lead.
That was not the end of the drama, however, as Kilcullen added three consecutive late points to come out on top.