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Poland snatches Down victory with last-gasp goal


Mark Poland's injury-time goal for Down sunk 14-man Armagh on a wet Friday night at the Athletic Grounds

Mark Poland's injury-time goal for Down sunk 14-man Armagh on a wet Friday night at the Athletic Grounds

Mark Poland's injury-time goal for Down sunk 14-man Armagh on a wet Friday night at the Athletic Grounds

MARK Poland's injury-time goal snatched a rare win for Down in the Athletic Grounds over 14-man Armagh.

Armagh looked like they had done enough against the wind in the second half when Tony Kernan netted their second goal after 56 minutes.

The home side lost Robbie Tasker to a straight red card six minutes later but still led by two points as the game entered injury-time.

However Eoin McCartan's fisted point followed by Poland's 72nd-minute goal, his second of the game, gifted Down a first victory over Armagh in the Athletic Grounds since 1992.

With 22 minutes played, the score was 0-2 to 0-1 in favour of Armagh, the home side getting both of their points inside the opening five minutes.

Down rarely got inside the Armagh '45' but Donal O'Hare converted a close-range free for their first score after 14 minutes.

Jamie Clarke showed a rare glimpse of quality on a terrible night for football with a superb point. The score seemed to revitalise Armagh and three minutes later Kevin Dyas had the ball in the net after a good move.

It looked like Armagh were going to take a 1-3 to 0-1 lead into the changing-rooms at half-time before Down's late brace in injury-time.

Kevin McKernan pointed their only score from play in the first half and Donal O'Hare converted another free to keep Down well in touch, with a strong wind to come.

Within two minutes of the restart, Down were level when Poland fisted to the net – and a minute later, Conor Maginn fisted the ball over the bar to put Down in front for the first time.

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Robbie Tasker should have replied with a goal for Armagh after a pin-point pass from Kernan but blazed the ball over the bar to level the scores.

McKernan put Down ahead again but the visitors lost Ryan Mallon to a black card for a trip on McKeever after 49 minutes.

Kernan got Armagh's second goal in the 56th minute when his point attempt bounced in front of Shane Harrison and flew into the top corner of the net. In a dramatic finale, Robbie Tasker received a straight red card for Armagh for an off-the-ball incident in the 58th minute.

Campbell capped off a lung-bursting run with a fine score on the run for Armagh, but Down broke Armagh hearts with 1-1 in injury-time.

SCORERS – Down: M Poland 2-0, D O'Hare (2f), K McKernan 0-2 each, C Maginn, N Madine, E McCartan 0-1 each. Armagh: K Dyas 1-0, T Kernan 1-1 (0-1f), J Clarke, R Tasker, C Rafferty, S Campbell 0-1 each.

DOWN – S Harrison 6; D McCartan 6, B McArdle 6, D O'Hagan 6; R Boyle 6, A Carr 6, C Garvey 6; K McKernan 8, P Turley 8; R Mallon 7, M Poland 8, C Maginn 7; D O'Hare 7, N Madine 6, J Johnston 6. Subs: R Johnston 6 for Mallon (BC, 49), D O'Hanlon 6 for McCartan (52), E McCartan 6 for Boyle (68), B Coulter 5 for Madine (70).

ARMAGH – P McEvoy 6; A Mallon 6, C Vernon 6, P Hughes 6; M Shields 6, C McKeever 8, C Rafferty 7; S Harold 6, E Rafferty 6; B Mallon 6, K Dyas 8, T Kernan 8; J Clarke 8, S Campbell 7, R Tasker 7. Subs: S Forker 6 for Mallon (48), R Grugan 6 for C Rafferty (57), N McConville 5 for Clarke (70), A Findon 5 for Harold (70).

REFEREE – D Coldrick (Meath)

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