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The game at a glance

Benny Coulter (Down): Coulter rolled back the years with a vintage display in which he sent over seven points from play from a variety of angles. He broke Leitrim hearts and the Down supporters gave him a standing ovation when he was taken off with bigger battles ahead in mind.

Turning point

Down did not panic when Adrian Croal's shock goal gave Leitrim the lead just after half-time. The Down response was clinical, with Coulter leading the way as they kicked eight points without reply.

Talking point

We are still none the wiser, after their two games in the qualifiers, as to whether Down are poised for another All-Ireland final appearance via the scenic route or are they holding something in reserve for the bigger tests ahead?

Ref watch

No goalmouth controversy to concern us here. Martin Sludden blew for everything and played it by the book.

What they said

James McCartan (Down manager):

"What has been said about Benny I don't need to repeat it, but he is a key player for us. He has been carrying a few injuries for the last few months and he is coming back into a bit of form because he has shaken them off."

Mickey Moran (Leitrim manager):

"We had a great first half and could have got more scores. But I thought the effort the lads put in and the football they played was terrific."

Match statistics

Frees: Down 14 (11); Leitrim 21 (16)

Wides: Down 15 (6); Leitrim 9 (5)

Yellow cards: Down (1) 1; Leitrim (2) 3

Attendance: 6,000

What next?

Down play Antrim away this Saturday, while the winners then face Cork in the fourth round of the qualifiers. Leitrim's year is over again as they still chase that illusive first back-door victory.

Irish Independent