Island men set up final clash with Bundoran
Loughinisland are providing proof that club football in Down is still in a healthy state.
The team, with Dan Gordon as its talisman, certainly struck it rich yesterday when they hurdled Monaghan side Doohamlet by an impressive 4-7 to 1-7 in the Ulster Club Intermediate Football Championship semi-final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.
There was no real indication of the fire-power that was to be unleashed in the second-half when Loughinisland led by an unflattering 1-4 to 0-3 at the break with Doohamlet having contributed to their own misfortune at this juncture by their inaccuracy in front of the posts.
Conor McGoran's goal provided the Down side with stimulus and spirit but Doohamlet's tenacity and commitment were always much in evidence.
It was a rather different story after the break, though. Skipper Dan Gordon joined John McCarthy and Paddy McKinney in pilfering further goals that sent Loughinisland well clear.
Goalkeeper Kieran Gordon played a big part in their victory and afterwards said: "We knew Doohamlet would present us with a physical challenge and I think the way we stood up to them showed that there is character and courage in our side. We will certainly need these attributes and more in the final."
A spectacular display of finishing skills from all-action full-forward Christy Keaney underpinned Bundoran's 1-12 to 1-7 win over Glenavy in the other semi-final.
Keaney landed 1-5 from play, his goal at the end the icing on the cake as the seaside team roared into the Intermediate decider.
Yet when Niall McCann scored a Glenavy goal in the 8th minute, it seemed as if the Antrim holders would wield control.
Indeed they were ahead by 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time but points from Tommy Houricane and Gary Clancy brought Bundoran back on level terms in the third quarter.
Glenavy's cause was not helped when Michael Johnston was dismissed with eight minutes to go.
The Antrim side never gave up but Keaney's late goal proved their undoing as the Donegal champions swept into the decider.