DOWN booked their place in the Tailteann Cup quarter-finals with a determined second half display, seeing off Longford by seven points.
Things looked ominous in the first half, but Down did enough to turn it around in the second half and secure victory.
The sides were equally matched early on but three Longford points on the trot from Dessie Reynolds, and Joe Hagan (2) put them 0-7 to 0-4 ahead.
Liam Kerr pulled one back for the hosts but that man Hagan, who was a pain in Down’s side during the opening period, pushed the Leinster men further ahead.
His effort on goal dribbled past Niall Kane, hit the post and rolled into the back of the net and of all of Longford’s goal chances, it was probably the worst strike of them all.
Kane redeemed himself with a terrific save from Hagan moments later while a heroic block from Anthony Doherty denied his namesake Darragh.
Longford defender Patrick Fox, who’d already scored a point, flashed another opportunity wide as Paddy Christie’s side cut the Mourne men open at will.
Down had their own goal chance when Liam Kerr was hauled down in the square. Odhran Murdock’s spot kick was saved, ricochet off the post, and bounced to safety.
Andrew Gilmore popped over a free soon after and narrowed the margin to just three at the break, with Longford ahead 1-8 to 0-8.
Down soared back into contention, due mostly to a superb individual goal by substitute Danny Magill, who sliced through the Longford defence and cooly dispatched to the net.
That levelled matters and Laverty’s side pushed four in front with scores from Ceilum Doherty, Havern, Ross Carr and Patrick McCarthy.
Longford had a late charge at the Down goal, with Doherty and Kane pulling off stunning saves to deny Longford full back turned full forward Andrew Farrell a goal.
Fitness told in the end of this highly entertaining encounter and Down were superior and they make their way through to the last eight.
Down scorers: Pat Havern 0-6 (2f), Andrew Gilmore 0-3 (1f), Rory Mason 0-3 (2f), Ross Carr 0-2 (1m), Eugene Branagan 0-2, Liam Kerr 0-1, Patrick McCarthy 0-1, Donach McAleenan 0-1, Ceilum Doherty 0-1.
Longford scorers: Joe Hagan 1-3, Keelin McGann 0-2, Dessie Reynolds 0-2, Dylan Farrell 0-2 (2f), Darragh Doherty 0-2 (1m), Patrick Fox 0-1.