Early Conor Laverty goal helps Down to a comfortable victory over UUJ

Mournemen make their experience tell in terrible prevailing conditions at Páirc Esler

UUJ’s Richard Donnelly in action against Down’s Conall McGovern and Niall Madine during the Dr McKenna Cup clash at Páirc Esler, Newry. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/Presseye

UUJ’s Richard Donnelly in action against Down’s Conall McGovern and Niall Madine during the Dr McKenna Cup clash at Páirc Esler, Newry. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho/Presseye

 

Down 1-13 University of Ulster 1-7

Down moved a step closer to a place in the McKenna Cup semi-final last night, making light of terrible playing conditions in Páirc Esler to beat University of Ulster.

The home side got off to a dream start with a goal from Conor Laverty after 55 seconds, the forward outjumping his marker to fist Arthur McConville’s long ball into the net.

Down’s former AFL star Caolan Mooney scored a superb long-range point for the students in what turned out to be UUJ’s only score from play in the first half.

Mayo star Cillian O’Connor showed superb judgement to convert tricky dead ball chances into a difficult wind for UUJ.

Donal O’Hare, Conor Maginn and Danny McKay picked off points from play for Down before half-time while goalkeeper Stephen Kane showed great reflexes to save Caolan O’Boyle’s thunderous shot after 27 minutes. Down led 1-5 to 0-3 at the break.

O’Hare and Peter Fitzpatrick stretched Down’s lead early in the second half but Niall McKeever was credited with a bizarre goal for the students after 41 minutes.

He appeared to foul the goalkeeper, who spilled the ball into the back of the net, but the score was allowed to stand and half-time sub Paddy McBrearty added two quick points.

However Down pulled clear in the last ten minutes with scores from Cathal Crilly and Conor Laverty to ensure a deserved victory.

DOWN: S Kane; D O’Hagan, L Howard, D Turley; M Magee, B McArdle, D McKay (0-1); N Madine (0-1), P Fitzpatrick (0-1); P Devlin (0-2, 2f), C McGovern, C Maginn (0-1); C Laverty (1-1), A McConville (0-1), D O’Hare (0-4, 2f) Subs: C Garvey for McKay (h-t), K McKernan for D Turley (54 mins), P Turley for Madine (BC, 57 mins), C Crilly (0-1) for McGovern (62 mins), K Anderson for McConville (66 mins).

UUJ: S Fox; K Brady, R Johnston, D McNally; B Sankey, M Donnelly, C Harkin; C Mooney (0-1), N McKeever (1-1); F Burns, C O’Boyle, R Donnelly; L Gervin, R O’Neill, C O’Connor (0-3, 3f) Subs: P McBrearty (0-2) for Gervin (h-t), K Hughes for Harkin (h-t), M Johnston for Sankey (47 mins), P Casey for McNally (53), J McGovern for Burns (68), R McAlinden for R Donnelly (68).

Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim)

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