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Pearse Óg McCrickard saves point for Down and keeps them up for now

Allianz HL Division 2A

Down 0-23, Derry1-20


Down's Pearse Óg McCrickard. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Down's Pearse Óg McCrickard. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Down's Pearse Óg McCrickard. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Pearse Óg McCrickard’s injury-time free not only earned Down a share of the spoils against Derry, it also kept his side in Division 2A for at least another week.

With the loser of this tie being condemned to relegation to 2B, the pressure couldn’t have been greater on McCrickard when he stepped up to knock over the 75th-minute free.

The draw also saw both sides pick up their first points of the season, but while Ronan Sheehan’s Down will feel relieved to escape with a point, Derry will have no doubt left Ballycran with a feeling that this was one that got away.

Trailing by five points at half time, 0-14 to 1-6, a young Derry outfit put up a gutsy showing in the second period and, backed by a strong wind, led by one point deep into injury-time.

However, a harsh free for a hand-pass infringement on Sean Cassidy presented Down with a get-out-of-jail-free card that McCrickard was more than happy to accept.

Down played with the elements in the first half and scored nine points in the opening 14 minutes. But thanks to a second-minute Cormac O’Doherty penalty, Derry were always able to stay in touch.

McCrickard and Paul Sheehan kept Down’s noses in front but as the half progressed, Derry grew stronger and Corey O’Reilly, John Mullan and O’Doherty looked to have won it for the Oakleafers before McCrickard settled the affair deep into added time.

Scorers – Down: P Óg McCrickard (3f , 1 sideline) 0-8; P Sheehan (6f) 0-6; T Prenter 0-3; M Fisher, L Savage 0-2 each; O McManus, D Sands 0-1 each. Derry: C O’Doherty (1-0 pen, 8f) 1-10; C O’Reilly, J Mullan 0-3 each; J Friel 0-2; C Gough, D McGilligan 0-1 each.

Down – S Keith (7), J McManus (6), B Trainor (5), T Murray (6), M Fisher (7), M Conlon (6), C Teggart (5), L Savage (7), F Turpin (7), R McCusker (7), P Sheehan (7), P Óg McCrickard (8), O McManus (6), C Egan (6), T Prenter (7). Subs: N McFarland (7) for Trainor (HT), D Sands (7) for McManus (52), J Doran (7) for Murray (55), T McGrattan (6) for Sheehan (58), S Martin (6) for Prenter (58).

Derry – O O’Doherty (7), S F Quinn (7), M Craig (7), D Kelly (6), E Conway (6), R Mullan (8), S Cassidy (7), M McGrath (7), P Cleary (8), C O’Reilly (7), C O’Doherty (8), J Friel (7), C Gough (7), J Mullan (8), D McGilligan (7). Subs: S Melaugh (7) for Conway (48), C O’Kane (7) for Friel (62), P Neilis (6) for Gough (69).

Referee – Seán Stack (Dublin)

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