Semi-final defeats are hard to take at any time but especially when you have had your nose in front for the majority of the game only to be pipped at the line.

And Aghadrumsee manager Colum Monahan admitted that it was a heartbreaking end to their campaign as Limavady came with a late surge to see off the Magpies in Omagh on Sunday.

“It was a pleasing season but a tough way to finish it,” said Monahan.

“It was a pity because we led the whole way through the game only to lose it in the final few minutes so that is hard to take. I’m sure though that if we had said to the lads at the start of the year that they would play in the semi-final of Ulster they would have bit our hand off.”

Everything seemed to be going well for the Fermanagh champions as they led at half time after enjoying the better of the exchanges in the first half.

“We would have been happy enough in the first half, we went in in front and had dealt with anything they threw at us. Limavady maybe had a lot of ball at the start but once we settled into the game we controlled the half, I felt. The boys were causing a lot of trouble inside and the only thing was that I would like them to have taken on their markers a bit more,” he said.

And they pushed four clear by the midway stage of the half but failed to build on this in the final quarter of the contest.

“We had a couple of frees that didn’t go over, we had a shot blocked and another shot skied and that would have pushed us back to three or four ahead at that stage.”

However, as the game drew to a close, it was the Derry side who got on top and Aghadrumsee found it hard to swing things back their way.

“When that bit of momentum goes away there is very little you can do to turn it around. It swung in their way in the latter stages and it was really hard for us.The crowd really got behind them as well and once they got a head steam they didn’t look back,” explained Monahan.

When they look back though this year will be deemed a major success for Aghadrumsee and Monahan acknowledges that the success they enjoyed this year in winning the Junior Championship, a first championship title in 28 years, should give the players renewed confidence heading into 2019.

“There was maybe a bit of a lack of belief because the club hadn’t won anything in so long but now they have had their hands on silverware it will only help their confidence.”

Indeed, he feels that they can look to last year’s Junior Championship winners, Belnaleck, and see the strides that they made this year, the Art McMurroughs having gone on to lift the Intermediate title.

“They can look at what Belnaleck did this year and we played them twice this year and beat them away and drew with them at home. The Intermediate Championship though is very tough,” he said.