Two second half goals sink Down as season starts

Two second half goals sink Down as season starts

10 January 2018

DOWN made a faltering start to their Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup Section B campaign in Newry last Wednesday night when they were well beaten by Armagh.

Down registered the game’s first score in the second minute when Conor Maginn split the posts, but this proved to be a false dawn for the home side as Armagh quickly seized control of proceedings. 

Oisin Mac Iomhair brought the sides level from a fifth minute free before Niall Rowland edged Armagh ahead with a well-taken score.

Armagh continued to hold away and Aidan Forker swapped points with Kevin McKernan before Forker gave his side a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 17 minutes.

Down were struggling to find any sort of rhythm and had to rely on Ronan Millar to keep them in touch with a brace of points, but Armagh took a 0-5 to 0-4 lead thanks to another Forker point.

A typically robust encounter continued at full pelt with Paul Hughes and Ronan Millar swapping points, but frees from Forker and two from Mac Iomhair gave Armagh a 0-9 to 0-5 interval lead.

Armagh continued in a rich vein at the start of the second half and when Down goalkeeper Shane Harrison parried out a Forker shot, Andrew Murnin was on hand to steer the rebound into the net and give his side a 1-9 to 0-5 lead. 

Castlewellan’s Sean Dornan lofted over a point for Down and Downpatrick’s Anthony Doherty converted a free to leave six points in it, but with 46 minutes gone Ronan Lappin put Armagh into a decisive 2-9 to 0-7 lead with his side’s second goal.

Eamon Burns’ men staged a bit of a revival and plundered the next four scores through Caolan Mooney (0-2), Doherty and Barry O’Hagan to leave four points between the sides.

Armagh had no intention of relinquishing their hard-earned advantage and Rowland and Lappin gave their side their first scores in almost 20 minutes when they pointed from play.

The lively Millar, with his fifth score of the game, kept Down ticking over, but it was never enough to prevent Armagh from securing victory.

Down: S Harrison, C Flanagan, G McGovern, K McKernan (0-1), J Bell, A Doherty (0-2, both frees), J Flynn, P Turley, N McParland, S Millar, C Maginn (0-1), C Poland, R Millar (0-5, 3f), S Dornan (0-1), A Morgan. Subs: C Mooney (0-2) for Bell, B O’Hagan (0-1) for Dornan, S Murray for R Millar.

Armagh: B Hughes, A McKay, A Forker (0-4, 2f), P Hughes (0-1), B Donaghy, N Rowland (0-3), M Shields, C Vernon, P Burns, O Mac Iomhair (0-3, all frees), A Murnin (1-0), R Lappin (1-1), G McCabe, J McElroy, S Sheridan. Subs: R Grugan for Murnin, A Findon for Sheridan, D McKenna for Forker, M McKenna for Rowland, R Kennedy for R Lappin, O Lappin for McKay. 

Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim).

Down 0-13

Armagh 2-12