Loughinisland stun Bundoran with late show
Loughinisland 4-01 Bundoran 0-07
The scoreline, Jerome Johnston observed, 'is like something out of an under-10s game' but they'll hardly care in Loughinisland where the bonfires blazed after they snatched the Ulster IFC title from under Bundoran noses.
Without ever being at their best, Bundoran were the dominant team for long periods but, despite only conceding one point over the hour, they lost by six in the end.
Loughinisland didn't score for 42 minutes, but the Down side hit three goals in the final 10 minutes, a period that will haunt Bundoran and particularly their goalkeeper, Johnny Keenan.
Paddy McKenny drilled home in the 50th minute to put Loughinisland in front, 2-1 to 0-5.
Bundoran levelled through Alan Russell and Christy Keaney, but for Keenan, the afternoon unravelled and became an ordeal. Mason's free from 30 yards crept past the goalkeeper's right hand and into the top corner off the inside of the post.
After Loughinisland lost midfielder Damhan O'Toole, who was given a second yellow card on 58 minutes, Johnston's team netted a fourth goal when Sean Cochrane got ahead of Keenan to connect with Conor Megoran's ball in.
Somehow, Loughinisland had the prize.
"That wasn't pretty at all, but it's all about winning and we got over the line," Johnston said. "It was like something that you'd see in an under-10 match, but you take wins whatever they come.
"Luck sometimes plays a part and we certainly had it today."
The beginning had felt as bad as the end for Bundoran. With barely two minutes gone, they conceded a goal as Seamus O'Hare swept home from Rory Mason's centre.
Mason converted a free in the eighth minute that was the only addition to the Loughinisland tally for the remainder of the first half. Bundoran were on level terms, 0-4 to 1-1, by the end of a sometimes frustrating period.
Donegal Under-21 Jamie Brennan - who has been injured since Bundoran won the county title last month - was introduced at half-time.
With the wide count rising there was always the chance the Realt na Mara could be caught.
And that's just what happened during those long, agonising last 10 minutes when the title slipped away.
For Loughinisland, though, it was one of the great days.
LOUGHINISLAND: K Gordon; P Digney, P Megoran, R Nixon; D McLaughlin, J Flynn, J McCarthy; D O'Toole, D Gordon; R Mason (1-1, 1-1f), C Killen, S O'Hare (1-0); A McClements, C Megoran, C O'Toole. Subs: P McKenny (1-0) for Killen (41), S Cochrane (1-0) for McLaughlin (50), M Cochrane for Nixon (55)
BUNDORAN: J Keenan; D McCaughey, J Keaney, P Rooney; P Brennan, S McGowan, J Boyle (0-1); C McCaughey, P McGonigle; N Dunne, G Clancy (0-1), A Russell (0-2); T Hourihane (0-1), C Keaney (0-1), D Hoey. Subs: J Brennan (0-1) for Dunne (half-time), D Spratt for Hourihane (56), F McKiernan for C.Keaney (60)
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)