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McGuinness disappointed by lack of 'composure' in defeat by Down

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DONEGAL'S wayward shooting proved costly as Jim McGuinness' troops suffered their first defeat of this year's league campaign, losing 1-9 to 0-10 against Down at Páirc Esler.

Donegal posted 12 wides and also dropped a few efforts short in a dismal spectacle. Neither side scored for 21 minutes of the second half but despite only scoring three points after the interval, Down clung on for a deserved win that moves them into promotion contention.

Down were denied a clear penalty after eight minutes when Paul Durkan hauled down Conor Laverty, who was black-carded late on, but they led all the way from Conor Garvey's sixth-minute point.

"We're disappointed we didn't retain our composure, settle down and kick our scores when they were on," said McGuinness.

"It might have been a different result if we had, but you have to give Down the credit."

Bottom side Galway earned their first point of this campaign thanks to Sean Armstrong's 72nd-minute point as the clash against fellow relegation candidates Louth finished 2-9 to 0-15 in Drogheda.

Galway looked like picking up a victory when they overturned a five-point half-time deficit to lead late on.

But a stoppage-time goal and point from Louth talisman Paddy Keenan looked like giving Louth a shock win until Armstrong kept his nerve late on, and they probably should have snatched the win when Gary O'Donnell subsequently dropped a glorious chance short from 20 metres.

Galway boss Alan Mulholland conceded a point wasn't ideal for either camp. "It leaves us in a tricky position and we probably need to win our last two (against Armagh and Monaghan), but what from I've seen against Down last week and again today, there's still hope."

A superbly taken Derek Crilly goal on 25 minutes helped the Wee men to open a 1-5 to 0-1 lead, but Galway pulled two back before the interval and dominated the third quarter to lead by 0-9 to 1-5.

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke has praised his team's attitude following their 1-17 to 0-10 victory over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds pushed them further towards promotion.

"We are delighted to be in a much more comfortable position and we are continuing to improve. We cannot afford to sit still. The team's attitude is top-class," maintains O'Rourke. "We've two more league games. We want to finish on a high."

With Jack McCarron and Conor McManus rampant up front, Owen Lennon and Gavin Doogan holding sway at midfield, and Dessie Mone and Drew Wylie marshalling their defence, the visitors left Armagh in tatters.

Late substitute Darren Hughes emphasising their authority with a 70th-minute goal.

Armagh boss Paul Grimley admitted: "We were beaten by the better team, we have no excuses.

"We have two more games in which we can show that we are capable of remaining in this division."

A revitalised Meath came away from Portlaoise with the points thanks to a 0-15 to 1-10 win. Playing with a new-found confidence, apart from a period midway through the opening half, they outplayed Laois in most sectors of the field, overcoming a five-point deficit.

A Ross Munnelly penalty before half-time left Meath with plenty of work to do after the restart, but Mick O'Dowd's men increased their intensity and gradually reeled in their opponents, as Michael Newman ended up with a tally of six points, five coming from placed balls (three frees, 2 '45s').


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