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Donal O'Hare goal helps get Down boss McCorry off mark

Monaghan 0-11 - Down 1-12

ByColm Shalvey

Down kept Section A of the Dr McKenna Cup wide open with a well deserved win over Monaghan in Clones.

A first-minute goal by Dónal O'Hare ultimately separated the teams in a game which Down could have won more comfortably but for a combination of poor finishing and a man-of-the-match performance by Monaghan goalkeeper Enda Duffy.

O'Hare, Niall Madine, Paul Devlin and Kevin McKernan, who was stretchered off late on, were key to Down's first victory under Jim McCorry.

It took less than half a minute for O'Hare to rifle a shot past Duffy and although Paul Meegan got Monaghan off the mark, Packie Downey kept Down on the front foot.

A brace of points from Daniel McKenna and one each by Darren Hughes and Neil McAdam steered Monaghan into the lead for the first time, but Madine and O'Hare replied for the visitors.

Paddy Kieran and Thomas Connolly added their names to the list of Monaghan scorers before half-time, but a brace of stylish points by Kevin McKernan were enough for Down to change ends leading by 1-5 to 0-7.

Duffy denied Down sub Arthur McConville for the second time after the restart, although Devlin opened his account from the resulting '45.

Hughes kept Monaghan in touch with a fine score and McKenna equalised, before Paul Finlay slotted a trademark point.

Down retook the lead through subs Conor Garvey and McConville, with O'Hare and Devlin also on target before Kevin Anderson produced a fine score.

A Finlay free reduced the gap to a goal, but Devlin finished well to secure a win that leaves all four teams in the group on two points, ahead of Wednesday's final round.

McCorry was pleased to get off the mark, declaring himself delighted with his players' work-rate, although he acknowledged Down will have to sharpen up in front of goal.

Belfast Telegraph

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