Na Cúnna Limavady (Doire) 2-09 Teconnaught (An Dún) 0-11
A late goal from the flying Brandon O'Brien finally killed off the stubborn challenge of Down champions Teconnaught in Owenbeg on Saturday afternoon as they reached the Semi-Final of the Ulster JFC.
Teconnaught had hit 41 goals in league action this season, but only threatened Oran Hartin's goal on once occasion, opting instead to drop David McGreevy back in a sweeper role and look to hit the Wolfhounds on the break.
It was an approach that may have proved effective had Na Cúnna adopted a similar approach, but they spent the early minutes firing in low, accurate ball to Cormac Quigley who drew two fouls and an eventual yellow card from full back John Johnston, before finding the net with his first possession after the yellow card.
It was Johnston's first foul that resulted in Ruairí Hassan opening the scoring from a close-range free in the opening minutes, before goalkeeper Justin Kelly had to be alert to turn away an effort from Sheagh McLaughlin as the midfielder caught a high ball on the edge of the square.
Limavady netminder Oran Hartin then pulled off a save of his own, getting down low to deny the lively Patrick Grant after a strong run from Ciaran Carville released the corner forward for a shot at goal, before Teconnaught got back on level terms, a slack kick out dropping to Andrew McCartan who raced through to tap over the point.
Ruairí Hassan then tapped over his second of the day following a third foul on Cormac Quigley, for which Johnston earned his yellow card. With the next ball in, Quigley took advantage of the extra space afforded to him by Johnston's caution, rounding the full back and burying a superb finish into the roof of the net to see the 'Hounds open up a four-point lead.
Teconnaught responded, Ciaran Carville shrugging off Callum Brown and Ruairí O'Kane to fire over an excellent score from 40 yards in front of the Limavady posts. Carville followed up with his second of the afternoon, again kicking from distance to cut the lead to two.
Despite being in control, the Derry champions were struggling to hit scores, and with the wide count racking up, it took Oisín Hassan to cut in from the right flank to swing over a left-footed effort, before Callum Brown took a superb mark and fed Kieran McGlinchey to fire over off the outside of his right boot to restore the four-point deficit.
The Crossgar side hit back once more, captain David Kelly chipping a free short to Patrick Grant who slotted his effort between the posts, before Oran Hartin had to be alert to turn over a dipping shot from the same player as Grant notched his second.
A frustrated Limavady coughed then coughed up possession to midfielder Tony Davis, who embraced the gift and despite the Wolfhounds' dominance, they found themselves leading by the minimum at half time.
Na Cúnna flew out of the traps for the second period, half back Kieran McGlinchey splitting the uprights with another drilled right-footed effort from 35 yards, before his half back counterpart Aaron McGregor ended a fine move involving McGlinchey and Sheagh McLaughlin to extend their lead to three.
A Tony Davis free from an acute angle on the left hand side got Teconnaught off the mark for the second half before Patrick Grant found space in the Limavady defence and raised a white flag as the Down champions closed the gap once again to the minimum.
Richard King and David Kelly then traded points before the passionate Eugene O'Kane swung over a left-footed effort and saluted the travelling Wolfhounds support in the stand. The tireless Kieran McGlinchey then fed Ruairí Hassan who nipped between two defenders to squeeze a shot between the posts as he re-established a three-point lead for his side.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Patrick Grant cut in off the right flank to leave the game finely poised with the Derry men leading by two points, Teconnaught refusing to allow their opponents to pull away.
A flurry of substitutions followed, Limavady notably introducing Conor Forrest, their only remaining link to their 2003 Ulster odyssey, as they looked to control the final stages of the game.
It was another substitution, Brandon O'Brien who eventually sealed the victory. Having spurned the opportunity to put Callum Brown through on goal moments earlier, the rapid corner forward got on the end of a superb sweeping move, Callum Brown moving the ball through hands to O'Brien, who played a swift one-two with Cormac Quigley before tucking his finish into the bottom corner with aplomb.
A late Patrick Grant free zipped low over the bar for Teconnaught as the game entered stoppage time, but the damage was done and the journey continues for Limavady as they progress to a Semi-Final in two weeks' time.
Na Cúnna: Oran Hartin, Jamie McLaughlin, Manus Quigley, Harry McLaughlin, Kieran McGlinchey (0-02) (Brandon O'Brien, 1-00), Conor Boyd (c), Aaron McGregor (0-01), Sheagh McLaughlin, Callum Brown, Eugene O'Kane, Richard King (0-02), Ruairí O'Kane (Eoighan Rogers), Oisín Hassan (0-01) (Conor Forrest), Cormac Quigley (1-00), Ruairí Hassan (0-01, 0-02f).
Teconnaught: Justin Kelly, Andrew McCartan (0-01f), John Johnston, Kevin Johnston (Kevin Flanagan), Jack Bell, James Greene, Shane Brennan, Tony Davis (0-01, 0-01f), Jack Larkin, David Kelly (c) (0-01), David McGreevy, Connor Degan (Rory McDonnell), Patrick Grant (0-04, 0-01f), Ciaran Carville (0-02), Conor Greene.
Referee: Kieran Eannetta (Naomh Éanna an Ómaigh, Tír Eoghain)