Exiles dispensed by four goals
Sunday, May 15
Down, as expected, advanced into the
semi-final of the Ulster SHC by beating London at
Casement Park - but it was no cakewalk for the
Despite the 4-25 to 1-17 scoreline, London can take
a lot out of this game as they fought hard for
three-quarters of the action and put it up to Down
around the middle of the field.
In the opening stages, the visitors played some
really good hurling and their darting runs forward,
particularly by Jim Ryan, bothered Down at the back.
The losers led by 0-4 to 0-1 after five minutes but
a sixth-minute goal by Gabriel Clarke levelled the
argument before Brendan McGourty sent over his
second point to give Down the lead which they never
Down continued on top with a further five points but
Jim Ryan hit two for London and Mick O'Meara and
Dave Bourke rifled over two more to keep the Exiles
well in the game.
Indeed, London should have gone ahead in the 27th
minute when Fergus McMahon was clear in a
one-and-one situation with Down 'keeper Graham
Clarke but the full forward fluffed his shot with
Clarke clearing the danger.
Within a minute Down snatched their second goal when
Martin Coulter rounded JJ Burke and shot into an
empty net to give the Mournemen a 2-7 to 0-8 lead on
the way to a 2-12 to 0-10 half-time advantage.
London maintained a stiff challenge during the third
quarter with Mick O'Meara and Michael Harding in
fine form in midfield. Harding was also
accurate from frees, tossing over three in 17
minutes to keep his side in touch.
At that stage Down led by 2-16 to 0-15 and then
turned up the pressure with eight points against
three from London. That left the Mournesiders
leading by 2-15 to 1-17, Kevin McMullen having
goaled for London. In the closing minutes Martin
Coulter fired a close-in free to the London net and
Emmet Trainor added another goal for a comprehensive
4-25 to 1-17 victory.
"We learned from that game that we can be opened up
at the back and that is something that we have got
to work on before we meet Derry next Sunday
evening," said Down manager John Crossey.
"However, I have got to be happy with the result and
we have got something to go on."
Down - M Coulter 2-3 (1-1f), B McGourty 0-6,
S Wilson 0-5 (4f), G Johnston 1-2, E Trainor 1-1, E
Clarke 0-2, P Braniff 0-2, S Clarke 0-2, P Monan
London - M Harding 0-5f, M O'Meara 0-3,
KMcMullen 1-0, E Kindlon 0-2, J Ryan 0-2, D Bourke
0-2, J McCaughan 0-1, M Gordon 0-1, F McMahon 0-1.
WIDES: Down 12, London 12.
BOOKINGS: L Clarke, S Murray, S Wilson (Down), B