Thursday 12 December 2019

Burns' future in doubt as Longford advance

Longford 2-24 Down 3-17

Longford’s Mark Hughes fires home his side’s second goal against Down. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Longford’s Mark Hughes fires home his side’s second goal against Down. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

Eamonn Burns said he will "contemplate" his future as Down manager after the county's annus horribilis came to a sorry end on Saturday.

Longford, driven on by the outstanding Mickey Quinn, thoroughly deserved their extra-time win in the first round qualifier in Newry which inflicted an 11th defeat in 11 inter-county matches on Down, now without a win in league or championship since April 2015.

Down's Donal O’Hare shoots to score his side's third goal. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Down's Donal O’Hare shoots to score his side's third goal. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

Burns inherited a whole heap of trouble but when asked whether he wished to stay on and try to reverse the decline, he said: "We're not going to make a knee-jerk reaction".

"We'll contemplate it over the next week or two and see where we go from there. It's been a difficult year.

"We're in transition, we're building a team and things don't happen quickly."

Longford scored goals in each half of extra-time and apart from the third quarter which belonged to Down, they totally outplayed their opponents.

Longford's Donal McElligott in action against Down's Aidan Carr. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile
Longford's Donal McElligott in action against Down's Aidan Carr. Photo: Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

"It's a fantastic result for us," said Longford boss Denis Connerton. "We knew beating Down was possible if we played well and it's a big scalp for us."

Donal O'Hare top-scored with 2-9, his two goals after half-time bringing Down back into contention for a spell, but their problems were at the other end.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

After leaking 2-22 against Monaghan in the Ulster championship, they leaked 0-21 in normal time.

Quinn was instrumental in Longford's good start with Barry McKeon, Robbie Smyth and Brian Kavanagh also scoring as they opened up a 0-7 to 0-3 lead after 21 minutes.

Conor Maginn finished off a well-worked Down goal but Longford led 0-11 to 1-4 at the break, having hit eight wides.

Two O'Hare goals early in the second half made things interesting but Longford hit five unanswered points as it finished level 3-12 to 0-21.

There was only one team in it in extra time, Longford subs Seamus Hannon and Mark Hughes scoring a goal in each half to book their place in this morning's Round 2B draw.

SCORERS - Down: D O'Hare 2-9 (8f), C Maginn 1-1, R Mallon 0-4, B O'Hagan 0-1, S Dornan 0-1, M Poland 0-1. Longford - B Kavanagh 0-6 (5f), M Quinn 0-4, R Smyth (0-4, 1f), S Hannon 1-1, J McGivney 0-3, D Masterson 0-3, M Hughes 1-0, B McKeon 0-2, D Reynolds 0-1.

DOWN: M Reid 6; C McGovern 6, G McGovern 6, D O'Hagan 6; D McKibbin 5, A Carr 6, D O'Hanlon 5; P Turley 7, K McKernan 6; R Mallon 7, M Poland 6, J Murphy 5; C Maginn 7, D O'Hare 7, B O'Hagan 7. Subs: G Collins 5 for McKibbin (43), M McKay 5 for McKernan (53), D Turley 5 for Murphy (55), S Dornan 6 for B O'Hagan (63), H Brown 5 for McKay (BC, 79), K McKernan for Maginn (84), B McArdle for Carr (89).

LONGFORD: P Collum 6; C Farrelly 6, B Gilleran 6, D Brady 7; D McElligot 7, M Quinn 9, D Masterson 8; M Brady 6, D Gallagher 6; D Reynolds 6, J McGivney 7, B McKeon 7; R Smyth 8, B Kavanagh 7, B O'Farrell 6. Subs: P McGee 5 for Gilleran (47), L Connerton 5 for Gallagher (55), S Hannon 7 for McKeon (60), B Farrell 5 for Reynolds (67), M Hughes 7 for J McGivney (BC, 80), R Connor for Smyth (86), D McGivney for Quinn (89).

REF - B Cassidy (Derry)

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Irish Independent

The Throw In: From 1955 heartbreak to 2019's five in-a-row - Inside the Decades of the Dubs

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport