After a hat-trick of titles in Carlow, the time had come for St Mullins to make an impact in the AIB Leinster Club Championship.
Westmeath representatives Raharney and Clonkill stopped them in their tracks in the 2014 and 2015 first round, so there may have been mixed emotions when the draw, coincidentally, sent them back to Mullingar this season.
On this occasion, however, the St Mullins men rose to the challenge and returned home with a 2-14 to 1-11 victory over Raharney.
Wing forward Marty Kavanagh inspired his side with a terrific individual display – a superb clinching goal two minutes from full time the highlight of his personal tally of 1-10.
The sides had been deadlocked at half time and Raharney looked to have the edge after the resumption before a James Doyle goal turned the tie in favour of St Mullin’s.
Meanwhile, Cuala marked their return to Leinster Club action with a scintillating display against Borris-in-Ossory Kilcottton.
Defeated in last year’s final by Oulart-the-Ballagh, the Dublin champions showed their intent to go one step further this season.
Rising dual star Con O’Callaghan hit the headlines by striking four goals past the outclassed Laois side. A final tally of 4-16 to 0-14 reflected their overall dominance, with county regular David Treacy slotting over five frees.
Last season Cuala beat the Offaly and Kilkenny champions en route to the final, where they lost out by two goals to Oulart-The Ballagh.
With home advantage at Netwatch Cullen Park, St Mullins will hope to become the first Carlow side to reach the final since Mount Leinster Rangers in 2013, but they will have to focus first of all on containing their free-scoring opponents from Cuala.