Brilliant Braniff rises to the occasion
Down 2-24 Roscommon 1-12
Down, after a poor start to the campaign, needed to get something out of this game in Newry – and they did so emphatically.
Roscommon started well, but the home side soon settled as Paul Braniff put two over the bar and James Coyle and Danny Toner adding a point each. The visitors' Adrian Murphy replied with a couple of points.
Down upped the intensity, with points coming from Gareth Johnston, Toner, Gary Savage and two from Braniff to add to a fine Toner goal. Just before the interval, Johnston netted a second for the winners.
They started the second period in similar fashion, Braniff adding four points.
With five minutes left, the visitors nabbed a goal and two points from Cathal Kelly, their best player. However, it was too little too late as Down went on to secure their first points of the league.
Braniff was in flying form – for the home side throughout – he scored nine points from frees and three from play – and considering it was such an important game, Down will be more than happy with the outcome.
Scorers – Down: P Braniff 0-12, D Toner 1-2, G Johnston 1-3, J Coyle, M Ennis 0-2 each, A Savage, P Sheehan, M Turley 0-1 each. Roscommon: C Kelly 1-6, A Murphy 0-3, G Fallon, J Lawlor, C Kelly 0-1 each.
Down – P McNally; M Conlon, P Hughes, C O'Prey; B Toner, C Coulter, F Conway; A Savage, M Ennis; E Clarke, P Braniff, K McGarry; D Toner, G Johnston, J Coyle. Subs: P Sheehan, M Turley.
Roscommon – P Dolan; I Delaney, D Shortt, D Leonard; S Curley, M Kelly, S Melia; J Moran, G Fallon; J Lawlor, D Nolan, C Kelly; C Kelly, R O'Meara, A Murphy.
Ref – J Keenan (Wicklow)