Down leave it late with remarkable comeback victory over Galway

Tribesman’s unbeaten record ended as unpredictably continues in Division Two

Down’s Conor Laverty and Galway’s Damian Turley. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

Down’s Conor Laverty and Galway’s Damian Turley. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

 

Down 1-17 Galway 1-16

Down scored six of the last seven points to snatch a win to move to the top of Division Two of the Allianz Football League.

After Paul Devlin’s injury-time free condemned his team to a most unfortunate defeat in Pairc Esler, Galway manager Kevin Walsh said his team “left the points behind” them after seeing a 1-15 to 1-11 lead disappear in the last ten minutes.

In-form Patrick Sweeney’s sixth minute goal was the start of an unanswered 1-4 by Galway in a nine minute spell early on to take control.

Danny Cummins’ searing pace helped him to three early points and Galway were running straight through a porous Down defence, yet spurning numerous goal opportunities to go even further ahead.

Micheal Martin’s accuracy from frees kept the scoreboard ticking over while Sean Denvir, Garreth Bradshaw and Adrian Varley also chipped over nice points for Galway with a strong wind at their backs in the first half.

Donal O’Hare, Conor Laverty and Mark Poland were on target in the second quarter but Down still trailed 1-10 to 0-7 at the break.

O’Hare’s 43rd minute goal, after his initial penalty shot had been saved, sparked Down into life.

Points from Sean Denvir, Adrian Varley and Damien Comer kept Galway ahead but Paul Devlin nailed a ‘45’, a point and two frees in the second half.

Quality points from Laverty, substitute Caolan Mooney and Kevin McKernan then put Down ahead for the first time since the fifth minute.

If Laverty’s strike from near the stand side was good, then McKernan’s spectacular 55m sky-scraper was even better and it put Down ahead in the last minute of normal time.

Galway’s returning Paul Conroy showed great composure when introduced to level the scores in the second minute of injury time, but Cathal Sweeney’s high tackle on Laverty resulted in a long-range free which Devlin converted to put Down top of the table.

DOWN: S Kane; R Boyle, L Howard, D Turley; P Devlin (0-4, one ‘45’, 2f), C Garvey, C McGovern; B McArdle, P Turley; R McGarry (0-1), K McKernan (0-1), D O’Hanlon; M Poland (0-2), C Laverty (0-3, 1f), D O’Hare (1-5, 3f) Subs: J Johnston for McArdle (10), A McConville for Garvey (BC, 31), C Mooney (0-1) for McGarry (47), A Carr for Johnston (56), P Downey for Boyle (60), C Maginn for Poland (70)

GALWAY: M Breathnach; D Kyne, F Hanley, C Sweeney; P Varley, G Bradshaw (0-1), G O’Donnell; F O Curraoin, E Tierney; S Denvir (0-2), P Sweeney (1-0), D Comer (0-1); M Martin (0-5, 4f), A Varley (0-2), D Cummins (0-4, 2f) Subs: C O Ceallaigh for Kyne (BC, 43), P Conroy (0-1) for Tierney (45), S Breathnach for Cummins (54), E de Hora for Sweeney (64)

REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

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