Sunday 18 February 2018

Game at a glance

Man of the match

Ambrose Rodgers (Down)

Martin Clarke, Kevin McKernan and sub Ronan Murtagh ran him close, but the highly energetic midfielder deserves the accolade for the huge impact he made over the 70 minutes. Won a massive amount of possession, and also charged through to shoot Down's second goal, which snuffed out any threat of a Sligo revival.

Turning point

Down's 1-2 unanswered scoring haul in the first five minutes of the second half, which effectively decided the outcome of the contest and ensured that there was no way back for Sligo.

Talking point

How difficult it is for beaten provincial finalists to raise their game for a qualifiers test the following weekend. Sligo's fellow provincial runners-up, Limerick, Louth and Monaghan, also lost on Saturday.

Ref watch

Maurice Deegan occasionally came under verbal fire from some of the passionate Down following, but in the main the Laois official had a competent 70 minutes in a game that was played in a good spirit.

What they said

James McCartan (Down manager):

"I felt that, based on our territorial advantage, we should have been further ahead after 20 minutes or so of the first half. But then the first goal (scored by John Clarke on 30 minutes) put a more accurate reflection on the scoreboard. We were on top in most positions throughout the field."

Kevin Walsh (Sligo manager):

"After being seven points down at half-time, we desperately needed a good start to the second half to get back into the match, but Down hit us with

1-2 in the first five minutes to put us further on the back foot.

Match statistics

Wides: Down 10 (6); Sligo 6 (4).

Frees: Down 14 (8); Sligo 13 (7).

Yellow cards: Down 1 (D Rooney 34); Sligo 4 (A Costello 34, M Breheny 45, A Marren 45, 68).

Red cards: Down 0; Sligo 1 (A Marren 68).

Attendance: 8,617.

What next?

Down play Kerry in the All-Ireland quarter-final this weekend. Sligo's championship campaign is over.

Irish Independent

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