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Armagh's ruthless young guns trounce poor Down side

Down 1-09 Armagh 5-16

By John Campbell

Published 17/03/2016

Net gains: Armagh’s Cathal McKenna bagged a goal
Net gains: Armagh’s Cathal McKenna bagged a goal

Armagh's fortunes at senior level may be at a low ebb but the county's U21 side illuminated the gloom with a flourish when they overwhelmed Down in the Ulster Championship quarter-final at Pairc Esler, Newry last night.

By half-time the match was over as a contest. Armagh were on a different planet, their emphatic 3-8 to 0-3 advantage bearing testimony to their authority.

The Armagh full-forward line of Cathal McKenna, Shane McPartlan and Conor Martin revelled with McPartlan and McKenna tucking away goals in the opening 18 minutes.

When McPartlan swooped for his second after slick work by McKenna, Down were hopelessly adrift, their frailties up front highlighted by the fact that their three first-half scores came from Conor Doyle frees.

And even when the visitors dropped a gear in the second period, Down were still unable to offer any real level of resistance.

They lost wing-back Jamie Donnan to a red card, landed just one point in all from play through Cory Quinn and conceded two further goals when Martin flashed the ball to the net before Oisin O'Neill flicked in number five.

DOWN senior boss Eamonn Burns has suffered a setback now that Caolan Mooney has left the squad, while it is believed that Mark Poland is also considering his future.

Down: M Reid; J Connolly, C Fitzpatrick, C McCartan; J Donnan, A Fulcher, R Magee; P O'Hagan, J Bell; D McAleenan, S McGonigle, D McCarthy; C Doyle 0-3 (f), R Treanor 0-1 (f), C Quinn 0-1. Subs: G McDowell for Connolly (Black card) 7, C McCarron for Bell (Black card) 15, L McGreevy 0-2 (2f) for McGonigle (38), T Rush 0-2 (f) for Doyle (39), C Harney for Treanor (40), S Gallagher for Fulcher (49). Red card: J Donnan (second yellow ) 40.

Armagh: B Hughes; G McCabe, A Rushe, J Cosgrove; C McConville, S Heffron, J McElroy; D McKenna, O O'Neill 1-6 (1f); P Quinn, J Rafferty, C Boylan; C McKenna 1-5 (1f), S McPartlan 2-2, C Martin 1-3. Subs: R Finn for McElroy (21), M Finnegan for Cosgrove (42), N Kerr for Boyland (48), J Freeman for McCabe (57), A Conlon for McKenna (57). Yellow cards: Rafferty (2), McPartlan (29), McCabe (32), McConville (41), Quinn (47). Red card: McPartlan (52).

Referee: Sean Laverty (Antrim)

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