Saturday 10 December 2016

Burns' future in doubt as Longford advance

Longford 2-24 Down 3-17

Orla Bannon

Published 27/06/2016 | 02:30

Longford’s Mark Hughes fires home his side’s second goal against Down. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Longford’s Mark Hughes fires home his side’s second goal against Down. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Eamonn Burns said he will "contemplate" his future as Down manager after the county's annus horribilis came to a sorry end on Saturday.

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Longford, driven on by the outstanding Mickey Quinn, thoroughly deserved their extra-time win in the first round qualifier in Newry which inflicted an 11th defeat in 11 inter-county matches on Down, now without a win in league or championship since April 2015.

Down's Donal O’Hare shoots to score his side's third goal. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Down's Donal O’Hare shoots to score his side's third goal. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Burns inherited a whole heap of trouble but when asked whether he wished to stay on and try to reverse the decline, he said: "We're not going to make a knee-jerk reaction".

"We'll contemplate it over the next week or two and see where we go from there. It's been a difficult year.

"We're in transition, we're building a team and things don't happen quickly."

Longford scored goals in each half of extra-time and apart from the third quarter which belonged to Down, they totally outplayed their opponents.

Longford's Donal McElligott in action against Down's Aidan Carr. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Longford's Donal McElligott in action against Down's Aidan Carr. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

"It's a fantastic result for us," said Longford boss Denis Connerton. "We knew beating Down was possible if we played well and it's a big scalp for us."

Donal O'Hare top-scored with 2-9, his two goals after half-time bringing Down back into contention for a spell, but their problems were at the other end.

After leaking 2-22 against Monaghan in the Ulster championship, they leaked 0-21 in normal time.

Quinn was instrumental in Longford's good start with Barry McKeon, Robbie Smyth and Brian Kavanagh also scoring as they opened up a 0-7 to 0-3 lead after 21 minutes.

Conor Maginn finished off a well-worked Down goal but Longford led 0-11 to 1-4 at the break, having hit eight wides.

Two O'Hare goals early in the second half made things interesting but Longford hit five unanswered points as it finished level 3-12 to 0-21.

There was only one team in it in extra time, Longford subs Seamus Hannon and Mark Hughes scoring a goal in each half to book their place in this morning's Round 2B draw.

SCORERS - Down: D O'Hare 2-9 (8f), C Maginn 1-1, R Mallon 0-4, B O'Hagan 0-1, S Dornan 0-1, M Poland 0-1. Longford - B Kavanagh 0-6 (5f), M Quinn 0-4, R Smyth (0-4, 1f), S Hannon 1-1, J McGivney 0-3, D Masterson 0-3, M Hughes 1-0, B McKeon 0-2, D Reynolds 0-1.

DOWN: M Reid 6; C McGovern 6, G McGovern 6, D O'Hagan 6; D McKibbin 5, A Carr 6, D O'Hanlon 5; P Turley 7, K McKernan 6; R Mallon 7, M Poland 6, J Murphy 5; C Maginn 7, D O'Hare 7, B O'Hagan 7. Subs: G Collins 5 for McKibbin (43), M McKay 5 for McKernan (53), D Turley 5 for Murphy (55), S Dornan 6 for B O'Hagan (63), H Brown 5 for McKay (BC, 79), K McKernan for Maginn (84), B McArdle for Carr (89).

LONGFORD: P Collum 6; C Farrelly 6, B Gilleran 6, D Brady 7; D McElligot 7, M Quinn 9, D Masterson 8; M Brady 6, D Gallagher 6; D Reynolds 6, J McGivney 7, B McKeon 7; R Smyth 8, B Kavanagh 7, B O'Farrell 6. Subs: P McGee 5 for Gilleran (47), L Connerton 5 for Gallagher (55), S Hannon 7 for McKeon (60), B Farrell 5 for Reynolds (67), M Hughes 7 for J McGivney (BC, 80), R Connor for Smyth (86), D McGivney for Quinn (89).

REF - B Cassidy (Derry)

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