Agony for Down fans as Mournemen pipped by single Cork point
Gaelic football fans at Croke Park saw Cork produce a powerhouse second-half comeback to edge out Down by just a single point in a thrilling All-Ireland final yesterday.
It was exactly 50 years since Down first captured the Sam Maguire trophy and the team are now feeling the pain of not achieving six out of six titles and losing their 100% record in All-Ireland finals.
Down manager James McCartan said his players should be proud of their efforts this season.
“We are disappointed but the players can hold their heads high,” Mr McCartan said. “We want to return to Croke Park on future occasions — we don't want to be one-year wonders.”
Down substitute goalkeeper Declan Alder said: “The fellas are devastated. We seemed not to get enough breaking ball in the middle of the park.
“Hopefully we can bounce back and focus on getting back next year to this stage.”
The final scoreline was Cork 0-16, Down 0-15.
Cork didn’t have it all their own way, as in an equally thrilling minor final Tyrone held on to win their eighth All-Ireland title with a 1-13 to 1-12 win over the Rebel County.
Secretary of State Owen Paterson was also at Croke Park for the nail-biting clash between Down and Cork, the first British representative in Northern Ireland to do so.
After the match he said the Down team had every reason to be proud of their “brave and spirited” challenge in the final.
Mr Paterson said: “It was a huge pleasure to be part of this great sporting occasion. I really appreciated the warm welcome extended to me and Julian King, the British Ambassador to Ireland, from GAA officials and fans.
“It shows, once again, how relations between the UK and Ireland have been transformed over the years.”
The Secretary of State went on to congratulate Tyrone on winning the minor final.
Mr Paterson also mixed business with pleasure, meeting Irish Foreign Minster Micheal Martin before the senior game.
Today he will meet the Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern before returning to Belfast for a meeting with David Ford and officials from the Department of Justice.