Promotion confirmed for Down footballers

Promotion confirmed for Down footballers

27 March 2024

DOWN senior footballers clinched promotion to Division 2 after overcoming opponents Clare in an action-packed affair at Páirc Esler on Sunday.

The victory also means the Mournemen will make the trip to Dublin to face off against Westmeath in the Division 3 final this Saturday evening at 7.15pm.

Conor Laverty’s men knew the ball was in their court before proceedings began on Sunday and they were eager to right a few wrongs from the previous week’s match up which ended in a stalemate with Westmeath.

This contest ended in an 11-point difference in favour of the red and black outfit but it wasn’t entirely straight forward.

Down did, however, make their intentions known from the off with man of the match Ceilum Doherty netting a goal and knocking over two points within the opening stages.

Clare replied with a goal of their own as Aaron Griffin took his chance after receiving the assist from Manus Doherty.

Pat Havern uncharacteristically missed a few frees but Down did go into the break ahead by 1-7 to 1-4. They did have to play a portion of the game with 14 men on the pitch as 

John McGovern received a black card near the end of the opening half.

Meath whistle blower David Coldrick gave McGovern his temporary marching orders for an attempted trip, although this decision was debatable.

After the break, rather bizarrely, Down’s Daniel Guinness was denied registering a goal for his team after successful Clare appeals.

Despite netting, Guinness saw his goal revoked to a free which was given in the build-up. Nevertheless, Havern split the posts and sent Down on their way again.

Guinness was afforded some form of comfort when he later won his county a spot kick, which star midfielder Odhrán Murdock stepped up to convert.

Then, almost immediately, Clare custodian Stephen Ryan found himself picking the ball out of his net yet again as Murdock turned from goal scorer to provider and assisted team-mate Danny Magill, who finished from close range to make it 3-10 to 1-5 with less than 15 minutes to go.

From this point onwards both sides traded a total of five points each, with Down finishing comfortably ahead by the full-time whistle.

After the conclusion, Down’s Finn McElroy reflected on his county’s promotion to Division 2.

“It’s unbelievable, obviously last year against Fermanagh we fell at the last hurdle so it’s good to get over the line, that’s the first of our objectives done and now we just need to push on next week against Westmeath,” he said.

“We probably thought coming here with 11 points today we would already be up but we knew we needed one more push and we definitely stepped up today so it’s a good win with a big crowd behind us.”

Down: J O’Hare; P Fegan, R McEvoy, C Doherty (1-2); M Rooney (0-1), P Laverty, D Guinness (0-1); J Flynn, O Murdock (1-0); D Magill (1-2), L Kerr (0-3), R Johnston (0-1); F McElroy, P Havern (0-5, 3f), J Guinness.

Subs: J McGovern for J Guinness (19); O Savage for McGovern (39); S Ainnett for McElroy (58); C Francis for Rooney (65); R Magill for Kerr (64).

Clare: S Ryan (0-1); M Doherty, R Lanigan, M Garry; I Ugweru, A Sweeney, D Walsh; B McNamara, G Murray; E McMahon (0-2f), C Downes (0-3, 2f), D Coughlan (0-1); C Rouine, A Griffin (1-0), C Murray.

Subs: J McGann for Murray (HT); M McInerney (0-2, 1f) for Murray (54); T Kelly for Sweeney (59); D O’Donnell (0-1) for McMahon (62); S Griffin for A Griffin (65).

Referee: D Coldrick (Meath).