Ulster Club SFC: Derrygonnelly beat Trillick in historic shootout to reach last four

Watch Derrygonnelly's historic shootout win in Ulster Club SFC tie

Derrygonnelly Harps are through to the Ulster Club SFC semi-finals after beating Trillick 6-5 in an historic penalty shootout at Brewster Park.

Penalties were required after a titanic tussle ended 1-17 to 3-11 after extra-time, with Conall Jones scoring a last-gasp point to keep the Harps alive.

Derrygonnelly scored all six penalties in the shootout with Lee Brennan missing a decisive kick for Trillick.

The Harps will face Down champions Kilcoo for a place in the decider.

This was the first time that penalties have decided a senior provincial championship match in either club or inter-county football.

In September, there was a shootout in a Monaghan SFC game between Scotstown and Truagh Gaels while two took place in the Connacht Football League back in January - although the latter two games which featured Mayo against Leitrim and Galway - both went directly to penalties at the end of normal time.

Brewster barnstormer

In a barnstorming start to the game, after Mattie Donnelly kicked over Trillick's first point in the opening minute, Eamon McHugh rose highest to meet Conall Jones' undercooked shot and fist the ball into the net to give Derrygonnelly a goal after just two minutes.

From there, the intensity rarely waned as the two sides went hammer-and-tongs in front of a gripped Brewster Park.

Derrygonnelly keeper Jack Kelly did well to charge down James Garrity's shot at goal, but there was little he could do when Ryan Gray burst through the Harps defence and struck Trillick's opening goal at the end of a great move in which Richie Donnelly found Mattie Donnelly with a dead-eyed pass.

Both teams notched quality scores to go in level at 1-6 to 1-6 at the break and, following Conall Jones' fifth point of the afternoon, James Garrity popped up with a well-taken goal for the Tyrone champions, spinning away from Declan Cassidy before rifling his shot into the far corner.

With Mattie Donnelly forced off injured at half-time, Lee Brennan stepped up with a couple of impressive scores as the Reds charged into a three-point lead with eight minutes left.

But the Harps, undeterred, fought back through a pair of Garvan Jones frees before Shane McGullion split the posts in additional time to force extra-time.

Conall Jones' last-gasp free took the game to penalties
Conall Jones' last-gasp free took the game to penalties

Harps fight back in extra-time

Despite wearying legs and battered bodies, the ferocious intensity continued into extra-time.

Daniel McDonnell's goal, which came after Lee Brennan's 45 caused a goalmouth scramble, and Brennan's seventh point of the day gave the Tyrone champions a four-point lead after the first period.

But back came a spirited Derrygonnelly, with three points in less than two minutes to reduce the arrears to just one.

With darkness fast approaching in Enniskillen, Derrygonnelly were awarded a free on the 21-yard line with seconds left on the clock, with Mattie Donnelly - who had only re-entered the field a couple of minutes earlier - penalised for a foul after he had slipped while in possession.

Conall Jones stepped up, took a deep breath, and landed the score to take the game into an historic shootout after a final score of 1-17 to 3-11.

Lee Brennan missed the decisive penalty as Trillick bowed out
Lee Brennan missed the decisive penalty as Trillick bowed out

Agony for Brennan after quality shootout

It was fitting, given the quality of the game from the first whistle, that the penalty shootout produced some excellent finishing.

Conall Jones, Eamon McHugh, Garvan McGinley Aidan McKenna and Gary McKenna all dispatched their kicks in the regulation shootout for Derrygonnelly.

Trillick responded each time, however, with Lee Brennan, Daire Gallagher, James Garrity, Sean Garrity and Niall Gormley all finding the back of the net.

With the score locked at 5-5, Conall Jones again seemed immune to nerves as he confidently slotted his second kick of the shootout beyond Joe Maguire.

Lee Brennan, however, couldn't convert. With his teammates finding it tough to look on, the full-forward's kick came back off the base of Jack Kelly's right-hand post as a sea of purple and yellow invaded the pitch.

It was ecstasy for the Fermanagh champions, but a cruel blow for the Tyrone kingpins to take after their almighty effort ended with heartache at the end of an unprecedented climax at this level.

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