Tuesday 27 September 2016

Down misery deepens as Coulter leaves and Rossies cruise home

Roscommon 1-12 Down 0-6

Declan Rooney

Published 07/03/2016 | 02:30

Roscommon's Ciaran Murtagh fires home a late penalty to put the seal on his side's Allianz NFL Division One victory over Down at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park yesterday Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE
Roscommon's Ciaran Murtagh fires home a late penalty to put the seal on his side's Allianz NFL Division One victory over Down at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park yesterday Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE
A couple of Roscommon supporters unfurl a banner at the match which says it all about how things worked out in the end Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE
Roscommon's Enda Smith tries to escape a challenge from Down player Gerard McGovern Photo: Sam Barnes / SPORTSFILE

Roscommon look to have secured their top-flight status with a third convincing win in a row, but after a fourth loss for Down and confirmation that former All Star Benny Coulter has left the panel, it looks bleak for the Mourne men.

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Ciaran Murtagh and Fintan Cregg were standout performers for Roscommon, who also had Seanie McDermott in great form at the back, as Murtagh's penalty a minute from time put the hat on a convincing win.

It was only on Thursday that Hyde Park was deemed unplayable and Roscommon were forced to forfeit home advantage and move the game to Longford.

Manager Fergie O'Donnell admitted that the uncertainty over the venue was a distraction.

But Roscommon had little trouble adding to their away wins in Cork and Kerry, but Donegal await next weekend.

Distraction

"I suppose back in November we probably would have taken six points but there are three games to go and hopefully we can pick up something. There's no point saying that we're not happy, we are happy," said O'Donnell.

"It was a huge distraction. You know you're going to Páirc Uí Rinn, you know you're going to Letterkenny next week.

"The two games we've had at home, they should be big occasions played in Hyde Park, but it's hugely disappointing."

For Down this was another poor display, and relegation looks a certainty barring a miraculous comeback which must be started next week against Dublin.

But the loss of Coulter is a blow to manager Eamonn Burns, who is now surely planning for the summer.

"Benny Coulter has withdrawn from the panel. He couldn't make the commitment due to work commitments. We have no one else coming in," said Down boss Burns. "He was in shortly after Christmas time but he can't make the training because of work so he's withdrawn himself from the panel."

Scorers - Roscommon: C Murtagh (4f, 1-0 pen) 1-6; F Cregg (1f) 0-3; C Daly 0-2; C Cregg 0-1. Down: C Harrison (1f) 0-2; D O'Hanlon, M Poland, B O'Hagan, P Devlin 0-1

Roscommon - G Claffey 6; S McDermott 9, N Collins 8, N McInerney 8; C Daly 8, S Purcell 7, D Murray 7; E Smith 6, I Kilbride 8; F Cregg 9, C Murtagh 9, C Devaney 7; C Connolly 7, S Kilbride 6, C Cregg 9. Subs: R Stack 7 for Smith (half-time), N Kilroy 6 for S Kilbride (54, BC), R Daly 6 for C Cregg (59), C McHugh for Connolly (65), C Shine for I Kilbride (68), J McManus for McInerney (70)

Down - M Cunningham 8; R Boyle 6, G McGovern 6, G Collins 7; J Flynn 6, A Carr 6, D O'Hanlon 8; P Turley 7, M McKay 6; C Maginn 6, M Poland 6, R Mallon 6; C McGovern 6, C Harrison 8, B O'Hagan 6. Subs: D O'Hare 7 for Harrison (52), N Madine 6 for O'Hagan (57), P Devlin 7 for Poland (57), D McKibbon 6 for Flynn (65), C Doyle for Maginn (68), S Kane for Cunningham (69, BC)

Ref - B Cassidy (Derry)

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