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Johnson weaves Down magic

Down cruised to a 17-point victory over a listless Armagh at McKenna Park, Ballycran.

The winners were always in control, with Andy Savage and Conor O'Prey dominating midfield, while in attack Gareth 'Magic' Johnson was in brilliant scoring form with eight points. and was assisted by Benny Ennis and Stephen Clarke.

Armagh struggled throughout, with five of their six scores coming from placed balls, as Down's Ciaran Coulter, Kevin McCarty and Michael Ennis formed a brilliant half-back line.

Down opened strongly and a goal after five minutes by Ennis set them on their way. Johnson hit five points, Clarke two and Conor O'Prey one as Down led by 1-8 to 0-4 at half-time.

Down continued to dominate in the second half with points coming at regular intervals and ran out easy winners.

Man of the Match: G Johnson (Down)

Scorers -- Down: B Ennis 1-3, G Johnson 0-8 (4f), S Clarke 0-6, C O'Prey, J Coyle, D Hughes 0-1 each. Armagh: R McGrattan 0-3 (3 '65'), P McCormack 0-2, M Moen 0-1

Down -- G Clarke 7; M Hughes 7, S Ennis 7, J Merron 7; K McGarry 8, C Coulter 8, M Ennis 8; A Savage 8, C O'Prey 7; S Clarke 8, G Johnson 9, D Hughes 7; J Coyle 7, B Ennis 8, C Mageean 7. Subs: A Clarke 7 for J Coyle (47); M Conlon 7 for K McGarry (57); A O'Prey 6 for A Savage (61); D Toner 6 for C Mageean (63); S Nicholson for C O'Prey (68).

Armagh -- S Doherty 8; B Mallon 8, A Curry 7, C McKee 5; P Gaffney 7, R McGrattan 8 Clifford 7; K McKernan 7, J Corvan 7; M Lennon 6, G Enright 6, C Carvill 7; C Corvan 6, P McCormack 7, J King 6

Subs: F 7or C McKee (4); M Moen 7 for M Lennon (30); N Duffy 6 for P Gaffney (ht); B McCormack 6 for C Clifford (ht); P Heaney 6 for J King (60)

Ref -- R Matthews (Antrim)

Irish Independent