Choose any superlative you want and it wouldn't do justice to Down's brilliant performance in this Senior Two Cup semi-final tie.

Beaten 5-1 the previous week by South Antrim, the Lisburn side saw just what the Malone Park outfit is capable of in a thrilling game last Saturday that was good enough to grace any final.

Down scored six goals, hit the post twice and played with a confidence and a composure which had been a feature of their play up until last weekend's woeful performance when everything went wrong. By stark contrast, everything went right last Saturday.

The players were heroes to a man and proved how good they can be. While they viewed the game as one-off, they knew they had a score to settle and settle it they did in a game graced by some top class umpiring.

Missing skipper, Jeremy McCready, Down started brightly with Aaron Minnis the most outstanding player on the park. Sinclair White bagged a glorious hat-trick, but Minnis gave a powerful and commanding performance which provided the foundation for his side's emphatic win.

The visitors took the lead in the 10th minute through Ashley Gibson who, along with strike partner, Mark Elliott, gave the South Antrim defenders something to think about all afternoon.

Gibson was in the right place at the right time to cleverly lift the ball over the 'keeper after some terrific work by Paul Tate and Chris Taylor, with the latter's return to the side another major influencing factor in Down's win.

To their credit, South Antrim battled back to make it 1-1 courtesy of some poor Down marking following second phase play from a short corner, but the visitors were out to prove a point and the superb Taylor gave his side a deserved 2-1 lead in the 19th minute.

Back came the home side who scored their second equaliser of the game after Down lost possession in the middle of the park.

Down's half-time team talk focused on the fact that they were clearly the better side, despite the scoreline, and there was a steely determination to go on and win the game. But when George Glass made it 3-2 in favour of the home side, it looked as though the visitors' plan would go out the window, but Down were determined to show just what they can do.

White, who was inspirational and a model of composure and consistency, cracked home a brilliant short corner strike to make it 3-3, with the goal visibly deflating the home side, as Gavin Ringland and Stephen Ferguson helped their side take a grip of the game in the middle of the park.

The turning point in the game came within minutes of Down drawing level. A sweeping move along the South Antrim right saw the ball worked to the unmarked Glass at the top of the circle. He took aim and fired goalwards, but his powerful shot was saved by Down's 'keeper. Within two minutes, the ball was in the back of the net at the other end.

Philip Thompson, who ran his socks off, sent the visiting supporters wild with delight when he made it 4-3 with a glorious reverse stick shot past the 'keeper who found himself with no defensive support.

Tate and Taylor then intercepted a South Antrim move in the middle of the park and a raking pass seemed to miss out White, but he dived full length to brilliantly reverse stick the ball into the net. Superb.

South Antrim were forced to commit more men forward at this stage of the game, but they didn't get another shot in on goal for the rest of the game as Minnis, Chris Lennon and Alasdair Duff kept things tight.

White deservedly completed his hat-trick with three minutes to go following a goalmouth melee and Down could have ended up scoring eight as both Elliott and Gibson struck the base of the post in the closing stages.

The semi-final was a superb game, played in a sporting manner thanks to brilliant umpiring which made the match the spectacle it was. Now Down meet derby rivals Saintfield in the final.