Braniff sparks Down recovery
Down 0-19 Roscommon 1-14
Down rallied impressively in the last 25 minutes to claim the title with a two-point win over Roscommon at St Loman's Lakepoint Park in Mullingar on Saturday.
A well-taken goal from Ronan O'Meara after 10 minutes pushed Roscommon into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead and, with Gerry Fallon punishing Down indiscretions with some excellent free-taking, the Connacht outfit were full value for their 1-11 to 0-6 interval lead.
In the opening 12 minutes of the second half, the two sides matched each other stride for stride, with Fallon and Paul Braniff both reliable from placed balls for their respective sides, with the Roscommon men still in control, leading by 1-14 to 0-9.
However, the Rossies failed to add to their tally for the remainder of the contest, while the Mourne men clocked up 10 points, including six from the impressive Braniff to deservedly take the honours.
Scorers – Down: P Braniff 0-11 (9f, 2 '65s'), J Coyle 0-3, A O'Prey, A Savage 0-2 each, C Dorrian 0-1. Roscommon: Gerry Fallon 0-9 (9f), R O'Meara 1-1, D Nolan, Cormac Kelly, A Murphy, E Kenny 0-1 each.
DOWN – S Keith; C O'Prey, P Flynn, P Hughes; F Conway, B Toner, M Ennis; A Savage, C Flynn; A O'Prey, P Braniff, D Toner; J Coyle, C Dorrian, M Turley. Subs: C Coulter for Dorrian (42), J McCusker for Flynn (42), S Nicholson for Turley (59).
ROSCOMMON – P Dolan; I Delaney, D Leonard, S Curley; C Dolan, D Short, S Melia; Cathal Kelly, Gerry Fallon; J Lawlor, R O'Meara, A Murphy; Cormac Kelly, N Connaughton, D Nolan. Subs: E Kenny for Murphy (23), Gary Fallon for Kenny (35), D Flaherty for Lawlor (h-t), N Keenan for Cormac Kelly (64), T Seale for C Dolan (64).
REF – T Anderson (Offaly).