Burns delight as Down show class to sink Roscommon
Down 0-12 Roscommon 0-7
Down manager Eamonn Burns hailed his side's mature display as the Mourne men got their campaign back on track with a deserved success against Roscommon at Dr Hyde Park.
The visitors were always in control, building up a six-point interval advantage. Roscommon, who lost Ian Kilbride to a couple of yellow cards after 15 minutes, rallied in the third quarter and missed a penalty when Down 'keeper Marc Reid made a fine save from Ciarán Murtagh. But Down held their opponents scoreless for the last 20 minutes to run out winners and give themselves a shot at promotion.
"It's important because the division is very competitive. It means we're facing into the break with four points, and then we have a home game against Clare for our next game, so it was important to come here and get some sort of a result," said Burns.
Down dictated large tracts of the opening period. Points from Niall Donnelly, Barry O'Hagan, Ryan Johnston, Donal O'Hara (two frees) and Caolan Mooney opened up a six-point advantage.
Shook Roscommon shook themselves with two frees from Cian McKeon and an effort from play by Conor Devaney in quick succession but Down finished the half strongly with points from Colm Flanagan, Anthony Doherty ('45) and O'Hara for a 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead.
The home side were better in the third quarter with a couple of Diarmuid Murtagh frees hinting at a revival. When Enda Smith was upended inside the small square in the 45th minute, Roscommon were presented with a chance to haul themselves back into contention from the penalty spot. But Reid did brilliantly to turn Ciarán Murtagh's effort around the post.
Sub Donal Smith pointed the resultant '45. The Boyle player added another score from play in the 53rd minute to reduce the arrears to just two points. Darren O'Hagan settled Down with a point and further efforts from Darragh O'Hanlon and Niall Madine comfortably saw Down home.
Roscommon boss Kevin McStay couldn't hide his frustration, saying the loss left his team in "no man's land" in the division.
"It was very frustrating. It was really disappointing," said McStay.
Scorers - Down: D O'Hara 0-3 (2f); N Donnelly, B O'Hagan, R Johnston, C Mooney, C Flanagan, A Doherty ('45), D O'Hagan, D O'Hanlon (1f), N Madine 0-1 each. Roscommon: C McKeon (2f), D Murtagh (2f), D Smith (1 '45) 0-2 each; C Devaney 0-1.
DOWN - M Reid 7; A Doherty 7, B McArdle 7, C Flanagan 7; D O'Hagan 9, N McParland 8, C Mooney 7; C Poland 7, N Donnelly 7; R Johnston 7, C Maginn 7, S Millar 7; B O'Hagan 7, D O'Hare 7, A Morgan 7. Subs: D McKibbin 5 for Poland (55), D O'Hanlon 5 for O'Hagan (55), N Madine for O'Hara (BC, 61), K Quinn for McArdle (67).
ROSCOMMON - J Featherston 6; D Murray 6, J McManus 7, N McInerney 6; N Daly 7, F Lennon 6, B Stack 6; I Kilbride 5, E Smith 6; F Cregg 5, N Kilroy 6, C Devaney 6; D Murtagh 7, C Lennon 6, C McKeon 6. Subs: C Murtagh 5 for Cregg (h-t), D Smith 6 for McKeon (45), C Daly 5 for F Lennon (55), H Darcy 5 for Kilroy (58), S McDermott 5 for Stack (58), U Harney 5 for E Smith (69).
REF - S Hurson (Tyrone)