Down won't be heading to Dublin at the end of the month for the final of the Irish Challenge Trophy.

They were dumped out of the competition by a golden goal in last weekend's semi-final tie against Campbellians at Douglas Park in Newcastle in a tie which went to extra time.

Down also reserved one of their worst performances of the season for the game which probably should have went ahead on the shale surface at Malone Park.

The Belfast side, beaten twice by Down in the league already this season, chased and harried all afternoon and were worthy winners in the end. Both sides failed to make the most of the chances they created and a golden goal by Joe Easley in the second period of extra time booked Campbellians a place in the final where they will meet Mullingar.

Defeat for Down ended their hopes of an unprecedented treble this season. The Senior Two title is already in the bag and the locals are also in the semi-finals of the Senior Two Cup. Hopes were high they could lift three trophies but it isn't going to be.

And, ironically, Down won't get an opportunity to redeem themselves next season as they are not eligible for the Irish Trophy competition, having gained promotion to Senior One.

The locals had the luxury of having a full squad available for the weekend cup tie, which was controlled by one umpire for the opening 35 minutes and, to his credit, he did a magnificent job, with his counterpart from the south arriving for the second period.

Cup semi-finals can be cagey affairs, but this was anything but. Down's Paul Tate went on a rampaging run in the second minute but was tackled by Andrew Bassett and then Gavin Ringland had to be alert to break up a Campbellians attack.

Down were awarded their first short corner in the third minute and while they were awarded a number of others during the course of the semi-final, they weren't clinical and rarely threatened the Campbellians goal.

From the first of these, Richard Owens, singled out by the Belfast side as Down's main threat and who was man-marked all afternoon, got a shot in on goal, but it was saved by the 'keeper. Two minutes later from another short corner, Owens drilled his shot just past the post.

Owens combined with Alasdair Duff to create a half-chance for Tate in the ninth minute, but he was tackled when about to shoot by Chris Markey.

Chris Lennon then teed up Mark Elliott whose shot was blocked by Bassett. Campbellians were awarded their first short corner of the game in the 28th minute and Markey's crisp shot had "goal" written all over it, but it was brilliantly cleared off the line by home skipper, Jeremy McCready.

The visitors were awarded another short corner on the stroke of half-time but Markey failed to get a shot in on goal and the opportunity to take the lead was lost.

Tate went agonisingly close to giving his side the lead two minutes after the restart when his shot was deflected for a long corner before Owens was forced to clear his lines at the other end.

The most controversial moment of the game came in the 41st minute when Campbellians were awarded a penalty stroke. Down's Stephen Ferguson came into contact with Campbell as he cleared the ball, but the umpire pointed to the spot, gave Ferguson a yellow card and Campbell promptly sent Mark Johnston the wrong way to give the visitors the lead.

Five minutes later, Johnston kept his side in the tie, getting down at his near post to deny Campbell before McCready, who ended up leaving the field with an injury, produced a last-ditch tackle.

John Rea was bossing the midfield for Campbellians much more in the second period. By contrast, Down failed to control this sector, despite opting to play with five in the middle of the park.

Tate was again denied in the 47th minute while at the other end, a crisp shot from James Leebody flashed past the wrong side of the post.

Down upped the tempo at this stage in search of an equaliser and Chris Taylor was left holding his head in his hands when 'keeper, Pete Drury, produced a point blank save to deny him, but Down were back on level terms in the 55th minute.

A scintillating run by McKee ended with him being fouled and a short corner was awarded. From the resultant set piece, the ball came to Owens who smacked it home. Campbellians went close to making it 2-1 minutes later before a quick free by Tate almost found Taylor, but Bassett cleared the danger.

Johnston then produced another save during a goalmouth scramble, while a penetrating run by Owens failed to produce an end product. Bassett, who had an outstanding match, then denied Sinclair White a scoring opportunity before Campbell drove a shot wide at the other end.

Both sides were going for the winner at this stage and Ringland picked out Chris Lennon who almost scored a dramatic winner in the dying seconds of the game.

During the first period of extra time, Down were awarded a short corner, but once again failed to hit the target. Three minutes later, Campbellians were awarded a similar set piece, but Bassett contrived to drag his shot wide.

The winning goal came in the 78th minute when Easley produced a sublime reverse stick shot which flew through a crowd of players, past the unsighted Johnston, into the net to book Campbellians a place in the final.

While disappointed, Down knew they didn't match the high standard of performances in recent weeks last weekend. Promotion to Senior One was the priority this season and with that safely in the bag, they will be hoping to redeem themselves by winning the Senior Two Cup.