Castlebar Celtic got the better of Ballina Town in brilliant Belleek sunshine today to reach the last four of the TP Brennan Connaught Cup.
Jordan Loftus was the star of the show for the Hoops as he tormented the Town rearguard and helped himself to all of Celtic's goals in a 4-1 victory.
The first came on 30 minutes as he reacted quickest when Ioseph O'Reilly's header from a corner came back off the crossbar.
By that point the home side should have been ahead. While the game had been very even, they had created the two best openings and Celtic 'keeper Steven Cafferkey was at his brilliant best to deny Benny Lavelle from close range, while Jamie Cawley also had a good chance but rolled his shot wide of the left-hand post.
Once ahead, Celtic maintained the one-goal lead with relative ease up to half-time and they were looking good for a comfortable victory when Loftus scored his second just 11 minutes into the second half when he found acres of space in front of Mark Duffy's goal and scored with a confident side-footed shot.
Town were back in the game by the midway point when Lavelle scored from a tight angle but any thoughts of a comeback were dashed just a couple of minutes later when Loftus completed his hat trick after a quick break down the left.
Loftus muscled his way in again just a minute later before producing a deft finish past Duffy, and from there until the end of the game it was just a matter of seeing it out. Celtic could even afford to miss a penalty, Jason Hunt winning and then taking the spot-kick but not finding a way past the Ballina 'keeper, who made a fantastic save.
The Hoops march on then, and will be joined in the last four by Manulla, who earned a brilliant 2-1 victory away to Boyle Celtic after extra time, and Galway pair Corrib Rangers and Mervue United.
Ballina Town: M. Duffy, T. Forde, D. Helly, S. Melvin, D. Tansey, D. Doherty, J. Cocozza, D. McKee, B. Lavelle, D. Edwards, J. Cawley.
Subs used: D. O'Mahoney, D. Loftus, N. Leahy, N. Casey, F. Macario.
Castlebar Celtic: S. Cafferkey, R. Nevin, M. Howley, I. O'Reilly, C. Coyne, C. Nevin, J. Sola, B. Murphy, J. Loftus, J. Hunt, G. O'Boyle.
Sub used: B. McLoughlin.