at Kingspan Breffni
Mullahoran caught fire in the closing stages to run out emphatic winners of the Intermediate Championship final before a crowd of 4,100 at HQ today.
By half-time, Mullahoran were 0-6 to 0-4 ahead after a slow-burner of an opening period. Cuchulainns dominated the opening quarter but they were wasteful in front of the posts.
In fact, both teams showed signs of nerves and squandered good chances but the Dreadnoughts were that bit more economical.
Cuchulainns began on the front foot and were 0-2 to 0-0 ahead after seven minutes following a free from Evan Doughty - who came into the match carrying a hamstring injury and left the fray just before half-time - and a super point from wing-back Ruairi O'Connell.
A combination of good Mullahoran pressure and poor shooting saw Cuchulainns kick three wides in succession before Mullahoran opened their account with a well-taken point from young corner-forward Cormac O'Reilly on 14 minutes.
Four minutes later, Enda O'Reilly converted a free to level matters but Cuchulainns were soon in front again when Adrian Taite made a fine catch and Bryan Magee found Conor Smith, who slotted over with the left boot.
Mullahoran responded immediately, Killian Brady going long to young Cormac O'Reilly, who won a free which Enda O'Reilly converted.
The pattern continued. A free by Eugene Keating from all of 60 metres was instantly cancelled out by a well-worked Mullahoran point, the two O'Reillys combining to release defender Matthew Hynes, who thumped over.
The Dreadnoughts then kicked on. A 40-metre free from the ground by Cormac O'Reilly was followed by a brilliant long-range, left-footed point from Shane Sheils, created by a turnover at wing-back by Cian O'Reilly.
Cuchulainns had two chances just before the break but both efforts were off the mark as the sides went in with Seanie Smith's men holding a two-point advantage, 0-6 to 0-4.
The early stages of the second half followed a similar trend, with very little between the sides.
Magee won the throw-in and fed Keating for a score after just 10 seconds but Mullahoran replied quickly through Philip Brady.
An excellent free from Enda O'Reilly was cancelled out by a good Eoghan Donoghue point to make it 0-8 to 0-6, with Gary Daly denying Man of the Match Cormac O'Reilly a goal with a courageous save moments later.
One of the best points of the game arrived in the 40th minute when Enda O'Reilly blasted over from 40 metres but Cuchulainns weren't going away and strung together a good move involving captain Taite which Keating finished.
The former county star cut the gap to one on 46 minutes with a free but, incredibly, that would be Cuchulainns' final score as Mullahoran kicked into a higher gear and ran up 2-6 unanswered in an awesome final quarter performance.
An exquisite point from the left wing by Gavin Brady restored the two-point gap before the defining score of the contest arrived when Philip Brady latched on to a long ball and, soccer-style, side-footed to the net.
A 46-metre free from Cormac O'Reilly then made it 1-11 to 0-8 and the same player kicked a beauty from the left corner to put seven between the teams as the would-be winners accelerated off over the horizon.
When Cuchulainns lost Taite, who had been playing a mighty game, to injury, the fight went out of them and a succession of high quality points from Philip Brady, Gavin Brady and Sean McKeogh made it 1-15 to 0-8 by the 57th minute.
A free from Enda O'Reilly heaped on the misery for the Cross-Mullagh men before, fittingly, the final say fell to Cormac O'Reilly, who latched on to a high delivery and belted a rocket of a shot to the roof of the net to round off a resounding victory.
Cuchulainns: Gary Daly, Killian Lynch, Aoghán Daly, Jamie Fitzgerald, Christopher Tully, Donnacha Dunne, Ruairi O'Connell (0-1), Adrian Taite, Bryan Magee, Eoghan Donoghue (0-1), Eugene Keating (0-4, 2f), Conor Flanagan, Evan Doughty (0-1f), Conor Smith (0-1), Adam O'Reilly
Subs: Conor Daly for Doughty (29 mins), David Carolan for O'Reilly (46), Seamus Clarke for Taite (inj, 52), John Flanagan for O'Connell (58)
Mullahoran: Sean Briody, Callum Mussi, Tadhg McGahern, Paul Brady, Cian O'Reilly, Matthew Hynes (0-1), Colm O'Reilly, Killian Brady, Gavin Brady (0-2), Shane Sheils (0-1), Enda O'Reilly (0-5, 4f), Sean McKeogh (0-1), Raymond Lynch, Philip Brady (1-2), Cormac O'Reilly (1-4, 2f)
Subs: Daniel Smith for C O'Reilly (temp, 42 mins), Peter Paul Galligan for Sheils (46), Fionan O'Reilly for McKeogh (58), Patrick Brady for Philip Brady (58), D Smith for Cian O'Reilly (60), Kevin Fitzsimons for Paul Brady (60), Barry McArdle for Gavin Brady (60)
Ref: Maggie Farrelly