Newtown Blues 0-12 Tullamore 1-7
Referee Anthony Nolan flashed two red and 12 yellow cards in what proved a niggly and ill-tempered encounter at the Gaelic Grounds, Drogheda yesterday.
Then at the final whistle the Wicklow official had a missile thrown in his direction as he was escorted to the dressing room as Tullamore supporters vented their anger.
The Offaly champions had Nigel Bracken sent off for a second yellow card offence on 40 minutes and were then reduced to 13 following the dismissal of their top scorer John Moloney who was shown a straight red card two minutes from the end.
Tullamore supporters were particularly incensed that Blues player Hugh McGinn only received yellow for a high challenge on substitute Stephen Egan before the finish.
The Louth champions were deserved winners after outscoring their opponents by 0-7 to 0-1 when aided by the strong breeze in the second half.
Moloney notched four of the Tullamore points as they led 1-6 to 0-5 at the break. They enjoyed their best spell close to half-time during which they notched 1-2 as they built up a six-point advantage.
Bracken accounted for their goal on 27 minutes and Moloney and Jonny O'Donohue shot points before McGinn and Barry Sharkey had late scores for the Blues to leave four between the sides.
The hosts dominated throughout the second half but laboured at times to translate that superiority into scores. They failed to convert any of three goal chances and only drew level following a Robert Carr point on 52 minutes.
Kevin Williamson had the Offaly side's only second-half score from a free at the three -quarter way stage to leave them two points clear.
Brian Kermode pointed Blues ahead on 57 minutes and Carr doubled that advantage in added time to make certain of victory. The win for Blues set up another home clash against Meath champions Summerhill in two weeks.
NEWTOWN BLUES: C Barton; E Judge, A Tinley, T Costello; S Moonan, N Costello, J Murray; K Lynch, J Kermode (0-2); B Sharkey (0-1), H McGinn (0-3, two frees), A McDonnell; C Judge (0-1), B Kermode (0-1), R Carr (0-4). Subs: C Branigan for Murray (49 mins), D Kierans for J Kermode (57 mins).
TULLAMORE: E Brennan; M Conlon, P McConway, K O'Brien; D Carroll, J Keane, G Ward; J O'Donohue (0-1), M Brazil (0-1); N Bracken (1-0), K Williamson (0-1, free), C Moloney; S Dooley, S Kelly, J Moloney (0-4). Subs: B Francis for Conlon (16 mins), S Egan for O'Brien (22 mins), J Kenny for O'Donohue (49 mins), A Shelly for C Moloney (51 mins), B Hogan for Williamson (57 mins).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow)