Down Gaa The Official Site of

Down GAA News

Mournemen grab dramatic Division Three win over Saffrons

Saturday 4th February 2023

Down 2-18 Antrim 2-17

Down fought back from five points down with five minutes left to snatch a 2-18 to 2-17 win over Antrim in Division Three of the Allianz Football League.

The Saffrons seemed set for victory after two first-half goals from Aghagallon's Ruairi McCann helped them lead 2-16 to 1-14 after 65 minutes.

But a run of 1-4 - including a Conor Poland goal - saw the Mournemen move into a two-point lead.

A Dominic McEnhill point was academic for the shell-shocked Saffrons.

Andrew Gilmore hit Down's other goal in the first half.

After losing their opening game at home to Offaly, this late collapse will be a devastating blow to Andy McEntee's Antrim squad.

They looked certain to earn a morale-boosting win over Conor Laverty's side but instead the Mournemen produced their amazing conclusion to the game to record their second straight victory in Division Three after their opening away success over Tipperary.

With both sides making changes to their previously announced sides, Antrim started with two Ruairi McCanns, with the Aghagallon man joined in the Saffron starting line-up by his Creggan namesake.

After Barry O'Hagan opened the scoring for the home side, both the McCanns were on target to put Antrim ahead and they led 0-4 to 0-2 and 0-5 to 0-3 before a run of three scores edged the Mournemen into a one-point lead.

McCann netted on 24 minutes to put Antrim ahead again and while Gilmore's goal saw Down regain the lead, it was was shortlived with the Aghagallon man firing in his second major after a Conor Stewart shot had come back off a post.

Down suffered a further blow late in the first half as influential forward O'Hagan had to be stretchered off with an apparent leg injury.

Trailing 2-8 to 1-9 at the break, points from Liam Kerr and Pat Havern saw Down levelling after the restart only for a 45 from keeper Michael Byrne to start a run of three straight Antrim points as they led 2-11 to 1-11.

With Antrim seemingly unperturbed by the black carding of Sean O'Neill, they looked in firm control as an Adam Loughran effort started a run of four scores in seven minutes to extend their lead to 2-16 to 1-14 after 65 minutes, with the only Down response during that period a Liam Kerr point.

At that stage, an Antrim victory seemed certain but Down's scoring burst as points from Eamon Brown and Odhran Murdock were followed by Poland's levelling goal, with Antrim failing to deal with a long ball from Pierce Laverty, and the further Havern and Gilmore points sealed the Mournemen's great escape despite McEnhill's score in the final seconds.