Goals paved the way as Down take the title

TG4 Intermediate Football Championship Final 

Down 2-9  Monaghan 0-14 

DOWN made it back-to-back Ulster championships when they held off a battling Monaghan to claim the intermediate title to follow up on last year’s junior crown.

When Laoise Duffy struck for their second goal at the beginning of the second half it looked like the Mourne girls were coasting as it opened up a 10 point advantage. However, they were hanging on at the end and Monaghan had two opportunities to possibly win or at least force extra-time.

The winners laid the foundation for victory with a superb opening half as they moved the ball quickly from defence to attack. Eimear Fitzpatrick was the star of the show and deservedly collected the player of the match award. She rattled the net on 13 minutes when referee Oliver McKenna played a good advantage and while she didn’t get the best of connections, it crept under Orna Kelly, to leave it 1-5 to 0-3. Monaghan, too had a glorious goal chance on eight minutes but Leanne Maguire was denied by Maeve Deery. At the break Down led 1-8 to 0-4.

Duffy, with their second goal give them the dream start on the resumption but what was to follow was a spirited Monaghan performance. They pressed Down but Deery was excellent under severe pressure at times to find teammates, but Monaghan were more hungry and turned over possession. The introduction of Chloe McBride also had a huge impact while both Jennifer Duffy and Casey Treanor excelled.

They rattled off seven unanswered points, to suddenly reduce the deficit to a one score game. Enter Natasha Ferris to a huge Down roar and a lift they badly required at that stage and she converted a much needed free. Monaghan, were not done yet and McBride with three in-a-row left one between them and they had their chances but Down held firm to edge home by the minimum after a wonderful game of football.

Scorers for Down: E Fitzpatrick (1-3), L Duffy (1-1), N McClory, S Dougherty (0-2), N Ferris (0-1f)

Scorers for Monaghan: C McBride (0-5, 0-4f), E Sherry (0-3, 2f), S Tierney (0-2), L Maguire (0-2,f), L Garland (0-1), Jayne Drury (0-1).

Down: M Deery; A Greene, C Byrne, P Smyth; C Mulvenna, N McKibbin, O Duffy; M Doherty (capt), E Fitzpatrick; E Sands, N King, L Duffy; N McClory, S Dougherty, V McCormack
Subs: N Scullion for Sands, A McAlea for Greene (35), N Ferris for McCormack (38), A Laverty for McClory (38), N McGrath for King (52)

Monaghan: O Kelly; A Bannigan, N Cohan, K Nolan; A Garland, M Monaghan (capt), A Loughman; J Duffy, E Carolan; S Tierney, E Sherry, C Treanor; L Maguire, J Drury, L Garland
Subs: C Nally for Carolan, C McBride for Maguire (ht), J McQuillan for Tierney (49), N Flanagan for McQuillan inj (51)

Referee: O McKenna (Tyrone)

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