Derrygonnelly captain Ryan Jones understands the belief of some people that their victory over Trillick was a ‘breakthrough win’ for the club.

This was the Harps third victory in Ulster in the last five years, beating Armagh Harps in 2017 and Cargin a couple of weeks ago.

However, taking the scalp of a fancied Trillick outfit is another step up for Derrygonnelly and has them mixing with the best in the province.

“It does feel like a breakthrough, look at the scenes with those supporters on the pitch,” said Jones after the drama of the penalty shoot out victory over the Tyrone champions..

“It’s the first time that we have done two wins in a row and I suppose when you look at Trillick, they are a quality outfit, as any team that comes out of Tyrone are.”

The Harps had looked as if they were on their way out in both normal time and extra time but they displayed great character and determination to battle their way back on both occasions to take the game to penalties.

Jones feels a lot of that is down to experience and knowing not to panic in situations like that.

“In normal time we came back from three down and in extra time it takes serious grit to pull back a four point gap but it shows the fight and that bit of experience that we have in that team.

“We are on the road now five years and we don’t panic. That goal we conceded in extra time could have been a killer blow but we kept going.

“We weren’t going to throw in the towel at that stage because we have worked too hard this last five years to lie down like that,” he added.

Central to the Derrygonnelly success in their ball winning ability in the middle third where Jones and Stephen McGullion have formed a strong partnership. Jones was full of praise for his midfield partner but also stressed that it was a team performance that saw them over the line.

“Mug (McGullion) is a different player, he has developed immensely and he has been called up to the county squad. I think me and him bounce off each other well but it is collective effort, we are going up jumping for these balls but it is the boys getting in for the break ball, it is the boys popping the ball over the bar, the boys making tackles at crucial times and the subs coming on and making an impact, that’s what it is all about, it is a team performance. You don’t get to an Ulster semi-final having beaten a team like Trillick unless you have a quality squad,” he explained.

And he felt that Derrygonnelly got their tactics spot on against Trillick.

“You can’t sit off Trillick, they are quality footballers and they will play around you. We felt that we are a big, strong, physical team and why not go for it, that was our tactics going into the game although we would like to have kept it tighter. We have quality players up top and we feel that it is important for us to get quality ball into them and let them at it. I think we got it spot on,” added the Harps captain.

In the end, penalties were required to separate the sides and while delighted to have won Jones admits that it is not a nice way to lose a game.

“It is unbelievable to win that way. Look, it’s not a nice way to lose and I feel for the Trillick boys. Lee Brennan is a quality player but we are absolutely delighted and what a day for the parish and the club.

“I’m immensely proud of all the players and everybody involved,” he said.

So, next up is the Down champions, Kilcoo, and Jones is expecting another big test.

“Kilcoo are a serious team, they won six or seven Down championships in a row and Down club football is very competitive.

“They have been on the road a long time as well and they are probably favourites to win the thing outright so it is another massive test but we’ll get back to training on Tuesday night and give it a crack,” he concluded.