Mark Elliott won the Senior Two Cup for Down with a last gasp winner in last weekend's thrilling final at Deramore.

The game was heading for penalty strokes when Elliott grabbed his 31st and most important goal of the season to send his team mates and the travelling supporters wild with raptures of delight.

The cup win follows the Malone Park's side success in winning the Senior Two title and now attention switches to the battle for Senior One survival come September. But it's a battle the locals have every chance of winning.

Going into last weekend's final, Down knew they had defeated their opponents twice in the league, but had lost out to the Belfast side in the semi-final of the Irish Challenge Trophy. It was going to be tough and so it proved.

Down were far and away the better side in the first half and thoroughly deserved their 2-0 lead, but they were pegged back in the second, sending the tie into extra time when both teams had chances to win it.

While Elliott rightly grabbed the headlines with his late winner, the top two performers on the day by a country mile were goalkeeper, Mark Johnston and defender James Erskine.

Johnston had to be at his very best during a Campbellians onslaught midway through the first half, making a number of crucial saves and in the second period of extra time he smothered a goal-bound shot from Adam Campbell which would almost certainly have handed the cup to the Belfast side.

Meanwhile, Erskine was absolutely everywhere. Tenacious in the tackle, he never missed a ball all afternoon and broke up a number of telling attacks. A superb reader of the game, he was the most outstanding defender on the park and deserved the plaudits he received from his team mates at the end.

Richard Owens, who was again tightly marked, got the ball rolling in the first minute with a penetrating run, but he was stopped by Chris Maskery and then Gavin Ringland, who also had a tremendous game at the heart of the Down defence, cleared his lines.

Johnston's first save of the game came in the fourth minute when he denied Campbell before his side took the lead with the next attack. Sinclair White and Paul Tate combined to create a gilt-edged chance for the latter who rifled the ball past Pete Gray to give his side the lead. Campbellians came straight back and Down were grateful for two timely interventions by Erskine and then Alasdair Duff.

Reuben Barry went close for Campbellians in the seventh minute and then former Down player, Andrew Bassett, cut out a pass that was destined for Tate who had ghosted in behind him and would have been through on goal.

Owens then found Tate who was buzzing at this stage, but he was robbed off possession by Maskery. Minutes later it was Barry's turn to block the Down striker. Owens then set up Elliott but his shot was well saved by Gray.

Campbellians first corner came in the 12th minute, but Maskery's shot was well saved by Johnston, while at the other end, Tate's shot was deflected for a long corner in the 14th minute. Elliott, Tate and White produced a sweeping move five minutes later, but play broke down on the edge of the Campbellians penalty area.

The Belfast side was then awarded a penalty corner, but again a strong shot was saved by Johnston, while at the other end, Gray produced a great stick save to prevent White's shot creeping in at the far post, but nine minutes before the break, Down made it 2-0.

Tate, who was close to the corner flag, drilled the ball into the penalty area where Elliott, who was all on his own with not a defender in sight, stopped it dead and calmly placed it wide of Gray. Johnston then produced three stunning saves from short corners, denying Maskery and Conor Bannister to preserve his side's 2-0 lead at the break.

Down tired in the second period and this was exploited to the full by the younger, fitter Campbellians side, but it was the locals who should have went 3-0 ahead in the 38th minute. Instead of squaring the ball to Elliott and Tate who were both free, Stephen Ferguson went for glory and drilled the ball wide. Tate then saw a short corner effort saved in the 41st minute before James Leebody went close for the Belfast outfit following their first short corner of the second half.

Eight minutes in, Bassett reduced the arrears with a drag flick effort from a short corner, with the ball flying past Johnston's stick into the net and the goal injected new life into Campbellians. They raised their game and the impressive Owens had to dig in in the middle of the park alongside Ferguson and White in a bid to break up attacks.

In the 51st minute, Owens was left holding his head in his hand when his short corner shot struck the inside of the post and rebounded wide, but team mates around him were convinced the ball had crossed the line and that a goal should have been awarded. Bassett then attempted another drag flick effort but his radar was off beam and the ball flew harmlessly wide. The same player then went close again with a crisp shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Six minutes from the end of normal time Maskery got his angles right at a short corner, with the ball finding its way past Johnston and Duff on the goal-line to set up an exciting finish. With just two minutes of normal time to go, Campbell had a chance to win it for Campbellians, but Johnston spread himself at his near post to block a shot which had "goal" written all over it.

Ringland than had a chance in the 70th minute when he found himself free on the right hand side of the Campbellians penalty area, but he tried to take the skin off the ball and skewed his shot wide of the post.

The Belfast side created an early opportunity in the third minute of the first period of extra time, but Maskery's short corner strike was deflected wide before Joel Easlea went close with a half chance. Duff was harshly penalised in the 77th minute and Johnston kept his side in the game with a smart short corner save.

It was anyone's tie at the start of the second period of extra time. If no one scored in the next seven and a half minutes, the destiny of the cup would be decided from the penalty spot.

Predictably, both sides were cagey and while they wanted to score the winner, no one wanted to do anything silly at the back. There were no real clear cut chances but with just under three minutes to go, Down scored the winner to take the cup back to Malone Park.

The goal came from a perfectly executed short corner. Tate's push out was stopped by Ringland and with the Campbellians defence expecting Owens to blast the ball towards goal, he intelligently slipped it to Elliott who flicked it into the net.

Down pulled men back behind the ball to see out the final whistle and while they were delighted at the end, the players also heaved a huge sigh of relief. They knew they had been in a battle and that there was virtually nothing left in the tank.

Lifting the cup capped what has been a tremendous season and the players are looking forward to life in Senior One. The addition of Owens was pivotal and Down know they need to recruit a few more players for next season so they will be able to cope with everything Senior One has to offer.

Mark Johnston, Alasdair Duff, James Erskine, Chris Lennon, Gavin Ringland, Stephen Ferguson, Paul Tate, Sinclair White, Richard Owens, Adam McKee, Mark Elliott. Subs: Jeremy McCready, Chris Ferguson.