Six points down after 37 minutes, Kiltale conjured up a strong rally to overcome Portlaoise in this Leinster Club IHC semi-final at a damp Trim on Saturday afternoon.
Kiltale 2-11 Portlaoise 1-12
However, the Laois Senior A winners shipped a heavy blow with the loss of full-forward Joe Phelan to a second yellow card, two minutes after the restart.
Aaron Bergin's accuracy from placed balls did much to bolster Portlaoise efforts and shortly after he posted his sixth and final score Anthony Forde created the opening for Kevin Ryan to half the deficit.
The scoring rate slackened in the damp conditions but a fine Cian Taylor point left it 1-11 to 1-7 to the visitors heading into the final quarter. Points from Ross Ryan and Padraig Kelly further eroded the Kiltale deficit.
With numerical advantage Kiltale enjoyed increased possession as the half wore on. However, they posted seven second-half wides to Portlaoise's four.
A strong James Kelly run provided the opening for Peter Durnin to net from close range at the town goal in the 53rd minute. Kiltale were back in front, 2-9 to 1-11, for the first time since the 20th minute when Forde pointed.
A first Portlaoise score in nearly 15 minutes, a pointed free from just inside his own half by goalkeeper Noel Costello, levelled matters for the sixth and final time.
The Jack Regan intervened. A pointed 65 was followed by an assist for Anthony Forde's second point of the hour to secure a final meeting with Bennettsbridge (Kilkenny).
The scores were tied five times in a closely contested first half. Portlaoise led on three occasions with Kiltale ahead twice.
A Bergin free opened the scoring before Taylor's first doubled the Portlaoise advantage. Following Regan's first pointed free an excellent Durnin effort left it 0-2 each after seven minutes.
So the pattern continued until the 23rd minute when David O'Mahony scrambled the sliotar to the net after a long delivery broke to him. That left it 1-7 to 0-6.
By the 29th minute Portlaoise were five points clear and held that advantage, 1-9 to 0-7, to the interval. A foul on James Kelly - after his run through the Portlaoise rearguard - led to a penalty.
Kiltale endured a setback when Regan's effort went low, left and wide. That ensured that John Taylor's men had a five-point interval advantage on an calm afternoon when scoring was relatively low.
Another Bergin free left Portlaoise six points to the good by the 36th minute. However, a man down on a damp afternoon they were outscored by 0-2 to 2-4 over the remainder.
Kiltale - Shane McGann; Anthony Donnelly (C), David Donoghue, Ciaran Ennis; Stephen Donoghue, Ronan Ryan, Eamon Ryan; Anthony Forde (0-2), Padraig Kelly (0-1); James Kelly (0-1), John Donoghue, Jack Regan (0-4, 3fs, 1 65); Peter Durnin (1-2), Ross Ryan (0-1), Kevin Ryan (1-0). Subs - Shane Lenehan for Ross Ryan (49), William Harnan for J Donoghue (58).
Portlaoise - Noel Costello (0-1f); Eoin Phelan, Christopher Lynch, Keith Murphy; Ciaran McEvoy, Cahir Healy, Darragh Rigney; Cian Taylor (0-2), Dean Lynch (0-1); Tony Byrne, Tommy Fitzgerald (0-1), Eoin Costello; David O'Mahony (1-0), Joe Phelan (0-1), Aaron Bergin (0-6, 4fs, 1 65). Subs - Colm Gleeson for Lynch (45), Sean Culleton for Byrne (52).
Referee - Mick Murtagh (Westmeath)