No red letter day as Limavady bite dust
Limavady Wolfhounds' aspirations of bringing down the curtain on 2019 in the grand manner were torpedoed when Donegal side Red Hughs proved their masters in the Ulster club junior football championship final at Celtic Park, Derry on Saturday night.
Up until this decider, the Limavady side had suffered just one defeat this year and had hit their opponents' net in every game that they played.
But it was rather different against a fired-up Red Hughs side that took their inspiration from marksman Johnny Carlin who made a telling contribution when sprung from the bench.
Limavady, for whom Callum Brown was playing his last game before embarking on a new career in the Australian Football League, led by 0-7 to 0-6 at half-time and when Cormac Quigley drilled in a 41st minute goal the side looked to be on firmly on the path to victory.
But the dismissal of Richard King soon afterwards was to have an unsettling on the Wolfhounds at a crucial stage of the tie.
And when Carlin drilled in Red Hugh's goal deep in added time, they gained in confidence, sweeping into a 1-11 to 1-17 lead as the game underwent something of a transformation.
Seanie McLaughlin and Eugene O'Kane scored late points for the Wolfhounds but Red Hughs had no intention of surrendering the initiative and emerged as worthy winners.
Their manager Joe McKelvey, though, made it clear afterwards that his team have a habit of "doing things the hard way".
Red Hughs now meet Connacht champions in the All-Ireland junior semi-final and McKelvey believes they can absorb lessons from their Ulster championship itinerary.
"We generally do things the hard way," reflected McKelvey, "In our Ulster semi-final we had to come back from being five points down and now once again we were up against it."
"We missed a goal chance at the start of the second half that had it been taken would have been a bonus, but I think our substitutes and no one more so than Johnny Carlin, made a big impact in eventually helping to get us over the line at the end."