Lorcan Connor hit a goal and four points to help Downings to an impressive victory over Magilligan in Sunday’s Ulster Junior Club Championship quarter-final at Celtic Park.
The Donegal side put in a strong second half display before they eventually got the better of the Derry champions who ended the game with 14 men.
The opening score of the game arrived on four minutes through Ciaran O'Hare (free) from 40 yards after a foul on Martin McIver.
The big Magilligan midfielder went on to score five points, four of them from frees.
The Donegal champions got on the scoreboard through a Kevin Doherty effort on 10 minutes only for Conor Logue to edge Magilligan in front once more thirty seconds later.
Andy Connor’s men were back on level terms through a fine Eric Roberts point before two scores from O'Hare, the second from play, saw the Derry men lead by double scores after 20 minutes
The game's first goal arrived six minutes before the break. Kevin Doherty's deft flick sent Lorcan Connor scampering clear before he hammered the ball high into the net.
O'Hare's fourth point of the half, a third free, ensured that the sides went into the break on level terms 1-02 to 0-05.
Downings missed a penalty in first half injury time – Connor's effort drifting wide of the goal after James Lee McBride had been upended by Michael McLaughlin.
Roberts, with a second fine individual score, edged Downings ahead inside the opening seconds of the restart before Doherty ventured forward from goal to convert a monster free before Jamie Lee McBride's snap shot rebounded to safety off an upright.
Magilligan were reduced to 14 men on 41 minutes when Cathal McCrudden picked up a second yellow card but they edged ahead once more through O'Hare's fifth point – a fourth free.
Lorcan Connor restored parity on 42 minutes only for Conor Canning to put the Derry men ahead once again
Two scores in as many minutes through Connor (free) and Roberts saw Downings move one clear.
Magilligan refused to lie down however, and when Brian Butcher split the posts, the sides couldn't be separated as the contest entered its final five minutes
Downings were awarded a late free after McBride was fouled allowing Connor to score and with McBride and Connor (free) knocking over further insurance points, the Donegal champions were looking forward to a first ever Ulster semi final.
DOWNINGS: Conor McBride; Max Davis, Shay Coyle, Ben McBride; Bryan McGinley, Kevin McGee, Kevin Doherty (0-01); Shaun McBride, Shaun McGinley; Alan Pasoma, Colin Gallagher, Oisin Boyce; James Lee McBride (0-01), Eric Roberts (0-03), Lorcan Connor (1-04, 3 frees). Subs: Gary McClafferty for Pasoma (34 mins), Fionan McClafferty for B McBride (40 mins), Aaron McClafferty for Boyce (41 mins), Shaun Boyce for S McBride (50 mins), Ben McNutt for Roberts (60 mins), James McBride for G McClafferty (60 mins)
MAGILLIGAN: Michael Doherty (0-02, frees); Colm McLaughlin, Lee Gaile, Michael McLaughlin; Eoin Canning, Eoin Kelly, Brian Canning; Ciaran O'Hare (0-05, 4 frees), Cathal McCrudden; Brian Butcher (0-01), Aaron Canning, Conor Logue (0-01);Martin McIvor, James Payne, Conor Canning (0-01). Subs Conor Kelly for C McLaughlin (37 mins), Anthony Doherty for Payne (57 mins), Conor McFeely for Butcher (59 mins)
REFEREE: Maggie Farrelly (Cavan).