Down survive late scare
Published 05/04/2010 | 05:00
Down survived a late red card at Casement Park to hang on for a nail-biting victory that eases their relegation fears.
The Mourne men surged into a seven-point lead midway through the second half, only for Antrim to fire seven points in a row and bring the sides level -- for the eighth time in the match -- with eight minutes remaining.
Down responded with scores from Conor Woods and Gareth Johnston, but Paddy Hughes' 66th-minute dismissal gave the Saffrons renewed hope.
Karl McKeegan sent over a free for Antrim, but Down clung on. The visitors had overcome a quickfire brace of goals from Neil McManus -- the second a fizzing 20-metre free -- to lead by 1-12 to 2-8 at the break.
James Coyle whipped in Down's first goal, with Stephen Clarke adding the second after the interval
SCORERS -- Down: J Coyle 1-6 (0-4f), C Woods, G Johnston (0-2f) 0-3 each, S Clarke 1-0, A Savage, K McGarry 0-2 each, R McGrattan (0-1f ) 0-1.
Antrim: P Shiels 0-9 (0-8f), N McManus 2-0 (1-0f), PJ O'Connell 0-3, C McAllister, N McAuley, K Stewart, K McKeegan (0-1f) 0-1 each.
DOWN -- G Clarke; L Clarke, S Murray, S Ennis; P Hughes, R McGrattan, M Ennis; G Johnston, K McGarry; C O'Prey, C Woods, B Ennis; J Coyle, A Savage, S Clarke. Subs: D Flynn for O'Prey (55), S Conlon for McGarry (63), E Clarke for Ennis (63).
ANTRIM -- G McGhee; B McFall, C Donnelly, J McKeague; N McAuley, K McKeegan, C Herron; P Shiels, E McCloskey; C McFall, N McManus, PJ O'Connell; C McAllister, K Stewart, S McCrory. Sub: D Hamill for McAllister (54).
REF -- T Carroll (Offaly).