It might not have been pretty at times but Belnaleck got there in the end as they over came Derry side Doire Trasna to book their place in the Ulster Club Junior Championship final for the first time in their history.
There is no doubt that Doire Trasna will rue missed chances in the first half as Belnaleck somehow went in two points ahead at the interval.
But when they Derry side hit the front through a fortuitous goal with just over ten minutes left on the clock it looked as if it was not going to be the Art McMurroughs day.
However, they responded superbly after the goal and a strong finish to the contest saw them over turn the two point deficit to run out one point victors.
“We’re delighted with the win,” said Belnaleck manager Gerry Flanagan. 
“The key thing for us was to get over the line, semi-finals are all about winning and there is no place for runners up. We know there are areas we can improve on but it was great to see us grind out the win.”
While Belnaleck were not at their best on the day, Flanagan acknowledged that much of that was down to the quality of their opponents.
“We were jittery throughout the game but it was a lot tougher than people were expecting. They were a big strong team and they made life very difficult for us. They hounded us and they never really gave our forwards much time on the ball while they were very good around the middle. 
“We didn’t really win much breaking ball in the first half but I thought we got it together in the second half around the middle,” he explained.
Doire Trasna were guilty of some poor shooting in the first half and the Belnaleck manager accepted that his side were maybe lucky to have went in with the advantage at the break.
“They had nine wides in the first half and a couple of good goal chances. Eoin (McGahey) made one great save and they shot wide from a great shot right at the end of the half. 
“I’m sure they would have been disappointed not to have been in front at half time,” he said.
And the Fermanagh champions looked to be in big trouble when a long free kick from Doire Trasna goalkeeper Conan Doherty dropped into the back of the net to put the Oak Leaf men two points ahead. 
From this point on though the character of the Belnaleck side shone through as they hit straight back to level matters.
“It was a great response after the goal. We went up the other end and got a point and that was important. If they had got the next point it would have left three in it and we would have been in bother. That though was an important score and I felt we kicked on and finished strong over the last 10 minutes or so,” stated Flanagan.
With the game in injury time it was still all to play for the sides locked together at 1-06 apiece but it was Belnaleck who were to grab the win through a fine point from substitute Johnny Owens.
“Johnny held his head well to kick the final point and in general I thought the subs all did well, they gave us fresh legs at an important time,” commented the Belnaleck manager.
Belnaleck will now have the opportunity to watch their final opponents with the other semi-final between Naomh Colmcille and Tattyreagh taking place at Celtic Park, Derry, this Saturday night. And from that it will all be about preparing for the biggest day in the club’s history with the final having been fixed for Saturday November 25 at 7pm at a venue to be confirmed after the second semi-final.
“It is great for Belnaleck to have got to the final and the final is going to be a big day for everybody involved with the club,” added Flanagan.