Ballinamore Sean O'Heslin's and Leitrim Gaels must have been reading the same script as both followed remarkably similar paths before booking their places in the Connacht Gold Senior and Smith Monumentals Intermediate Championship Finals.
Ballinamore's 1-14 to 0-13 victory over Mohill ensured that the 2017 champions would not take part in County Finals day for the first time since 2015, a Luke Murphy goal proving the difference in a tense and hard fought contest.
Sean O'Heslin's generally had the better of the first half but found Mohill keeper Padraig Tighe in inspired form as the netminder denied them two certain goals while another effort came cannoning off the woodwork.
The first half was a tit for tat affair with both sides opening up gaps before three 'scores from Shane Moran, Wayne McKeon and Barry McGovern gave O'Heslin's a 0-8 to 0-5 halftime lead. Two early Mohill scores cut the gap back to the minimum in the second half before the game changed dramatically.
Niall McGovern's driving run and pass to Luke Murphy saw the Ballinamore show good footwork and patience to fire the ball to the net. That proved to be the winners as Ballinamore stretched their lead to six points midway through the second half. Two Domhnaill Flynn points and one from Darragh Gordon suddenly had the gap back at three points with ten minutes to go.
But Ballinamore were not to be denied and frees from McKeon and Murphy sealed a famous victory and a place in the County Final for the first time in 21 years.
In the Intermediate semi-final. Leitrim Gaels followed much the same path with a 1-13 to 0-11 victory over a dogged and battlign Annaduff. The scores were tit for tat in the first half and level at 0-6 apiece at halftime after Enda Moreteon, Aidan Flynn and David Regan were all denied goal chances for the Gaels.
However, a goal from Enda Moreton inside two minutes of the second half gave the Gaels the room they needed and they stretched the lead to six points at one stage, holding off a determined Annaduff fightback.
The victory sees Leitrim Gaels back into the finals for the first time since they lost out to Aughnasheelin where they will face a Drumkeerin side who defeated neighbours Ballinaglera in Saturday's semi-final.
SEE THIS WEEK'S LEITRIM OBSERVER FOR FULL REPORT