DOWN JUNIOR HURLING
TEAM - LEINSTER SHIELD WINNERS
Hurling Shield Final (Replay):
Down 6- 11 Longford 4-11
Down junior hurlers
brought this year’s first silverware
to the county with a hard-fought
victory over Longford in the replayed
Leinster Shield Final. They are
believed to be the first Down GAA team
to win a Leinster title at any level.
Down's Micéal McCartan
Playing in front of a
mere handful of spectators, Down won a
tough, physical match through
hat-tricks from corner forwards Eoin
McGuiness and Jonathan McCusker.
Manager Paddy Braniff played a two-man
inside forward line and they revelled
in the additional space and the good
supply of ball throughout the match.
But as fast as Down
were scoring goals up front, they were
conceding them at the back and,
although they always looked like
winning, they gave away too many soft
scores to allow them to relax.
first goal in the third minute was
matched by Longford’s a minute later.
McGuinness scored his first after 15
minutes but Longford added their
second five minutes later. Three
points from Kieran Courtney (by far
the most influential player on the
field) left the teams level at 2-4
each after 22 minutes.
Longford then went
ahead by two points but the
McCusker-McGuinness double act struck
again with goals in the 25th
and 27th minutes. Again
Longford produced a goal of their own
on the half hour and it took a third
goal from McCusker on 34 minutes to
leave the Down men ahead by 5-5 to 3-7
Dan McCusker scored
Down's third goal
In the second half Down
gradually gained control of the
match. McGuinness scored 1-2 and
points from Artie McGuinness,
Courtney, Murphy and that man McCusker
saw Down reach a total of 6-11.
Longford managed 1-4 in the second
half, all but a point coming from
Despite conceding a few
handy goals, the Down defence played
well both as individuals and as a
unit. Overall the team showed
tremendous fight and, although they
did not always pass the ball as well
as they have been doing, they
out-hurled Longford in the end by a
combination of skill, guts and shrewd
tactical switches by the management.
The players only
complaint on the day was the lack of
shower facilities after the match.
But at the winners banquet in the
Canal Court Hotel the players were
looking forward and not back.
Longford were beaten semi-finalists in
the Nicky Rackard Cup last year.
With the right backing there could be
more than a Leinster Shield in this
Down's Artie McGuinness
tries to get round a Longford defender
Down: Damien Kearns,
James McGrath, Brian McAleenan, Paul
McCusker, Micéal McCartan, Fintan
Conway (Capt) Daniel McCusker, John
Murphy, Daniel Doran, John Brown,
Kieran Courtney, Artie McGuinness,
Jonathan McCusker, David McGovern,
Eoin McGuinness. Subs: Tom Jennings
for D Doran and Eamon Hardy for D
Scorers: J McCusker
3-3, E McGuinness 3-2, K Courtney 0-4
(0-1 free, 0-1 65) A McGuinness 0-1, J