Ryan Boyle in a race to regain fitness for Warrenpoint
Down star Ryan Boyle experienced mixed fortunes when his Naomh Peader Naofa, Warrenpoint team surged into the Ulster Club Intermediate football championship final by beating Donegal champions Cloughaneely by 2-16 to 1-8 at Clones yesterday.
While delighted that a showdown with Monaghan representatives Inniskeen now looms, Boyle faces a race against the clock to get fit for the game after suffering a slight hamstring injury.
But the gritty defender played through the pain barrier before being substituted with his brother John, who hurt his knee, also being forced to retire early.
Despite this dual handicap, Warrenpoint showed their mettle, particularly in the third quarter when they streaked clear after an evenly-contested first-half.
Goals from Ryan Magee and Ross McGarry proved central to Warrenpoint's victory while an inspirational point from Donagh McAleenan and three scores from substitute Johnny Murchin underpinned their superiority.
Cillian Gallagher's injury-time goal was very much in the nature of a consolation score for the Donegal side who clearly found the onerous task of fulfilling the fixture just too much after two demanding games within a 24-hour period last weekend.
Warrenpoint will now meet Inniskeen in the final following the latter side's impressive 1-14 to 1-7 semi-final win over Fermanagh outfit Derrylin.
Inniskeen led by 0-9 to 1-3 at half-time and when Paul Meegan grabbed their goal, this set them firmly on the road to victory.
In the Ulster Club Junior Championship semi-finals Keady Dwyers fell victim to Donegal side Urris by 1-7 to 0-7 while Tyrone title-holders Rock proved too strong for Drumaness, winning 0-16 to 0-11.
Keady were particularly flat against Urris. A Peter Devlin goal bolstered the confidence of the Donegal side and they led by 1-3 to 0-5 at half-time. Jason Doherty's brace of points was the final nail in the cofin for Keady.
Rock, meanwhile, continue to prosper and once again Conor McCreesh proved their scorer-in-chief. For Drumaness, this was a disappointing outing. Despite the best efforts of Gary Murdock, they could not achieve fluency to seriously trouble their opponents.