St Patrick’s caught fire at the finish to down Rathnew by 0-10 to 0-8 in this afternoon’s Wicklow senior football championship final replay at Joule Park in Aughrim.
Late points from Thomas Kelly worked the oracle for the winners as they went on to collect their first title in the Garden County since 2012, denying their counterparts a 35th success in the process.
Conquers of Dublin giants St Vincent’s in Leinster last year, Rathnew led by 0-5 to 0-3 at the half here thanks to the scores of JT Moorehouse, former Wicklow star Leighton Glynn (2), Mark Doyle and Nicky Mernagh.
A Mark Doyle free and a fine point from Eddie Doyle stretched the holders’ advantage to seven with 20 minutes left and in that time St Pats came into their own with the deadly accurate Stephen Duffy nailing three consecutive frees to bring them right back into contention.
Mark Doyle saw his free cancelled out by Duffy in the 55th minute and soon afterwards Rathnew would have Mark Doyle dismissed on a second yellow card.
Kelly levelled the game a minute from the hour mark and all the momentum was with the Saints in injury-time as they raised two more white flags, including another from Kelly, to secure sweet success at the second attempt.
The new champions now face Rhode of Offaly in the Leinster club SFC tomorrow in Aughrim (throw-in 1.30pm).
St Patrick's - C Byrne; C Doyle, S Murley, W Doyle; S Bouchier, C Ffrench, J Crowe; D Healy, J Delahunt; J Pettigrew, P McWalter, P Earls; S Duffy (0-8, 7f), P O'Brien, T Kelly (0-2). Subs: P O'Kane for S Bouchier, C McGettigan for J Delahunt.
Rathnew - P Dignam; P Merrigan, D Power, J Snell; J T Moorehouse (0-1), R O'Brien, W Kavanagh; J Stafford, T Smith; E Doyle (0-1), J Merrigan, G Merrigan; N Mernagh (0-1), M Doyle (0-3f), L Glynn (0-2). Sub: S Byrne for J Merrigan.
Referee - D Peppard.