Toner haul gives Down the edge
Down 2-16 Armagh 2-13
Down survived a late Armagh rally to pick up the maximum points in a tough and physical match at the Athletic Grounds.
Down manager Michael Johnston felt his side could have won more comfortably whereas the Armagh boss Sylvester McConnell felt that victory had slipped through his side's fingers.
The truth lies somewhere in between.
Down were leading 0-6 to 0-3 when the Mourne keeper and captain Simon Doherty pulled of a stunning save to deny Artie McGuinness from the penalty spot. Armagh also missed a number of frees in the closing stages.
John Corvan's 22nd minute goal gave Armagh a 1-05 to 0-06 lead. However Down finished the half strongly with Danny Toner bagging the goal to give his team a 1-09 to 1-08 lead.
Down enjoyed a 10-minute purple patch where they struck 1-4 before Armagh replied, with Conor Woods finding the net from a cut.
Conor Corvan struck the second Armagh goal in the 70th minute and deep into injury-time Gaffney looked for an equalising goal but his effort went over the bar.
Scorers - Down: D Toner 1-6 (1f), C Woods 1-3 (1-0 s/l), C Bailie 0-2, C O'Prey, D Hughes, C Mageann, S Nicholson, F Conway 0-1 each. Armagh: C Corvan 1-4, R Caffney 0-5 (3f), J Corvan 1-0, D Coulter 0-2, N Curry, D McKenna 0-1
Down - S Keith 8; M Conlon 7, P Flynn 6, M McCullough 6; C O'Prey 8, C Woods 8, J McGrath 6; S Nicholson 6, F Conway (8; C Bailie 7, S Dineen 7, D Hughes 7; D Toner 9, C Mageean 6, C Egan 6. Subs: S Ennis 7 for M McCullough (39), C Taggart 7 for Dinnen (46), R Branagan 6 for Mageean (54), A O'Prey 6 for Egan (57), J Doran 6 for Conway (65).
Armagh - S Doherty 7; C Clifford 6, A McGuinness 6, C Devlin 7; J King 6, N Curry (7), C Toner 7; K McKernan 7, E McGuinness 8 (0-1); D Coulter 7, R Gaffney 7, D Carvill 7; C Corvan) 8, J Corvan 7, C Carvill 6. Subs: D McKenna 7 for C Devlin (59).
Ref - Eamonn Hassan