Gritty Down battle back as Roscommon let chance slip
Down 2-24 Roscommon 1-20
When Robbie Fallon's 40th-minute free sent Roscommon five points up, it looked as if the visitors were on their way to avenge the National League defeat in Ballycran some eight weeks ago.
But it was the prompt for Down to introduce Gareth Johnston and his ball-winning ability turned the course of the game. 'Magic' only scored a single point himself but he set up Eoghan Sands for Down's second goal and also drew a number of frees which Paul Sheehan converted.
Sheehan was Down's top scorer with 0-15, all from frees, although when he sliced a 45th-minute penalty wide, it looked, at 1-16 to 1-13, as if it might be Roscommon's day.
Playing with a slight breeze, Roscommon were the better team in the first half and thanks to the placed-ball accuracy of Shane Curley and Fallon they turned around leading by 1-13 to 1-10.
Curley had the best technical score of the half when his 45-metre sideline soared between the posts but Mal Magee's finish to the Roscommon net was the individual highlight.
The goal put Down three points to the good midway through the first half but after Stephen Keith's reaction save Naos Connaughton flicked the loose ball to the Down net.
Between the 50th and 60th minutes Down then shot 1-4 without reply.
Scorers - Down: P Sheehan 0-15f; M Magee 1-2; E Sands 1-1; D Hughes 0-1; C O'Prey 0-1; O McManus 0-1; G Johnston 0-1; C Woods 0-1; G Hughes 0-1. Roscommon: S Curley 0-6 (5f); N Connaughton 1-2; R Fallon 0-5f; J Coyne 0-3; E Flanagan 0-2; T Seale 0-1; H Rooney 0-1.
Down: S Keith; J McManus, S Nicholson, S Ennis; A Bell, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes, D McManus; C O'Prey, M Magee, C Mageean; E Sands, P Sheehan, O McManus. Subs: G Johnston for Nicholson; M Hughes for Bell; G Hughes for McManus
Roscommon: N Fallon; P Nolan, P Kellehan, A Moore; M Beirne, P Kelly, T Searle; S Curley, C Dolan; G Fallon, G Keenan, N Connaughton; E Flanagan, J Coyne, R Fallon.
Referee: M Murtagh (Westmeath)
Sunday Indo Sport