TOURNAMENT hosts Queen's crashed to a shock first-round defeat to GMIT in Belfast.
Two goals in the last 10 minutes from GMIT substitutes Shane Hennelly and Aineas Lawless ensured Queen's will play no part in the Sigerson Cup finals weekend on their home pitch on February 21/22.
Despite having home advantage, Queen's never looked convincing at any stage. They started badly with GMIT setting the tone and scoring the first four points of the game.
The visitors should have been further ahead, but Ronan Steede blazed wide in front of goal after five minutes and they also kicked six first-half wides.
Eighteen minutes elapsed before Queen's got their first score through Down player Ryan Mallon, but Michael Farragher got the last two points of the half to stretch the visitors' lead to 0-6 to 0-2 at half-time.
Queen's rallied in the third quarter and scored three points without reply to close the gap to a point, including two points in two minutes from Ryan Murray. But that was as close as they got.
Although they played with more urgency and purpose in the second half, they struggled to penetrate and too often played themselves into trouble.
GMIT failed to score any points in the second half, but did score a goal in the 52nd minute, when substitute Hennelly palmed a Michael Lundy fist pass to the net. Queen's responded with two quick scores from sub Ross McGarry (1-6 to 0-7), but then missed two easy chances to cut deficit further.
GMIT made the most of those misses when Lundy, acting as creator again, slipped the ball to substitute Lawless and he blasted to the net to kill the game off.
Scorers – GMIT: S Hennelly, A Lawless 1-0 each, J Duane 0-2 (1 '45), M Farragher 0-2, M Lundy, R Steede 0-1 each. Queen's: R McGarry 0-3 (1f), R Murray 0-2, R Mallon, D O'Hanlon, R Grugan (f) all 0-1 each.
GMIT – G Shiels; N Sheridan, C Sweeney, A Wynne; J Duane, P Holloway, R Shanahan, S Tighe, A McCormack; M Lundy, G O Ceallaigh, Ml Farragher; S Walsh, R Steede, E Monahan. Subs: A Lawless for Shanahan (BC, 45), Martin Farragher for Steede (47), S Hennelly for Monahan (49), J Walsh for Tighe (57).
QUEEN'S – M Cunningham; P Quinn, C Cullen, C McNulty; R Mallon, D O'Hanlon, C McCartan; M McElhinney, H Og Conlon; C Maginn, R Grugan , R Jones; R Murray, G McGovern, R Rafferty. Subs: T Donnelly for Conlon (BC 15), O Costello for McGovern (17), R McGarry for Grugan (43) S Warnock for Quinn (49), S McArdle for Rafferty (53), D McAleese for Donnelly (60).
REF – C Branagan (Down)