End of road for Down minors

End of road for Down minors

11 May 2022

DOWN minor footballers exited their Ulster competition at the hands of a Monaghan side who were clinical in front of goal at Páirc Esler on Saturday afternoon.

Despite the Mourne side enjoying large spells of possession, they couldn’t stop the deadly Monaghan duo of Max McGinnity and Eoghan McFarland from notching a brace of goals each.

McGinnity also proved accurate from frees as he registered all six of his points from a dead ball position.

James Savage was Down’s best on the day, finishing with an impressive personal tally of 0-7, four of which coming from frees.

It was a McGinnity major which split the sides early on, with the scores still relatively close before Down’s Patrick Brady received a black card at the 20 minute mark.

At this stage the Mourne side had kicked over four scores and where now three points adrift.

Monaghan took full advantage of their extra man with McGinnity scoring his second goal of the match eight minutes later.

Fellow Farney forward McFarland got in on the act with a goal of his own as Down struggled to add scores and by half-time, the hosts trailed 3-4 to 0-5.

It seemed as if Down’s campaign had ran its course, requiring a small miracle to get anywhere near level terms again. 

The next goal in the game would be a decisive one and unfortunately for Down it fell the way of the visitors almost instantly from the restart.

McFarland once again struck the net and although Down’s Savage kept up the scoring for his side, the tie was as good as done.

To their credit, the Mourne side refused to give up and actually enjoyed a brief scoring spell in which they converted five of the next seven points available.

However, with just a quarter left to go the final nail in the coffin for Pat Cunningham’s men was firmly installed as DJ McElvaney evaded the Down defence to record his side’s fifth goal of the match.

As the phrase correctly goes on this occasion, it was certainly goals which won the game but Down will take some solace in their share of possession as well as the stubbornness to remain fighting until the final whistle.

Down: N Howlett; P Brady, M McGuinness, S McEvoy; C Gribben (0-3, 2f), B Christie (0-1f), C McDevitt; C McLeod, D Murdock; L Green, L Fallon, E Murray; B Grant, J Savage (0-7, 4f), T O’Hanlon

Subs: D Og McCoy for O’Hanlon, C Woods for Fallon, N Burden for Murdock, O Donaldson (0-1) for Murray, D McArdle for McDevitt

Monaghan: O Finnegan (0-1, ’45); C Curran, N Meehan, J McDonnell; J Lavelle, C McQuilan, P Doogan-Burke; DJ McElvaney (1-0), S Arya;  F Foye (0-1), T Mallen (0-3, 1f), S Casey; M McGinnity 

(2-6, 6f), E McFarland (2-2), B McCaul.

Subs: C Murphy for Casey, S O’Connell for Foy, S Freeman for Arya, N McGeough for McFarland, J Lynch for Curran