Down creep into the last four


Down 0-13 Antrim 0-9

By Michael McMullan

THREE points from Oisin Savage helped Down steer clear of Antrim on Saturday night in Páirc Esler.

The Saffrons won the toss and played with the wind but went in at half-time 0-6 to 0-3 in arrears.

There were yellow cards for Joe Finnegan and Odhrán Murdock before the ball was even thrown-in when tempers flared after the parade.

There was also a flashpoint at half time that saw referee Barry Cassidy show a member of the Antrim backroom team a red card before play resumed.

Ryan McEvoy and Pat Havern hit early Down scores before Antrim goalkeeper Michael Byrne opened their account from a 45 after John O’Hare denied Joe Finnegan.

Antrim did have to play with 14 men after Conor Hand was shown a black card in the second minute.

It was Byrne’s kick-out to Conor Hand paved the way for debutant Ryan McQuillan to use the wind for a sweet equaliser after 15 minutes.

Down pushed ahead before Ryan Johnson’s outside of the boot effort – into the wind – from a mark made the half-time score 0-6 to 0-3 in home side’s favour.

After a bright Down opening, Antrim had their spell but Eoghan McCabe’s point from four chances they created in their spell of control.

Both teams did have runs through the centre with a hint of a goal chance without making either goalkeeper work.

Down pushed six clear before a late Antrim rally but, without a goal, it was never going to be enough.

Conor Laverty’s side will face Armagh or Fermanagh in the semi-final.

For Antrim, for whom Marc Jordan was excellent, will carry regrets into the Tailteann Cup after a game that was within their reach going into the final quarter.

Down: J O’Hare; P Fegan, R McEvoy (0-2); C Doherty; M Rooney (0-1), P Laverty, D Guinness (0-2); P Havern (0-1f), O Murdock (0-1), D Magill; S Johnston, L Kerr (0-1), R Johnston 0-1); B O’Hagan, C McCrickard
Subs: O Savage (0-3, 1m, 1f) for P Havern (25),  E Brown for C McCrickard (48), S Annett (0-1) for B O’Hagan (53),  R Magill for S Johnston (62),  R Mason for D Magill (75)

Yellow card: O Murdock (0)

Antrim: M Byrne (0-1 45), E McCabe (0-1), E Walsh, D Lynch; J Finnegan, K Keenan, D McAleese; C Hynds, M Jordan (0-1); C Hand (0-1), P McBride (0-1f), R Boyle; R McQuillan (0-3, 2f), R McCann (Creggan) (0-1f), D McEnhill
Subs: N Burns for D McEnhill (HT), P McAleer for R Boyle (53), E Hynds for E Walsh (INJ 66), P Shivers for R McQuillan (77)

Black card: C Hand (3)

Yellow cards: J Finnegan (0), D McAleese (26), K Keenan (32)

Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)

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