Down 2-17 Kerry 3-16: Down have been drawn against neighbours Armagh in Round 2B of the Christy Ring Cup after suffering a first round defeat at home to Kerry.
Despite losing by two points against Kerry, Down coach and former Waterford hurler Paul Flynn believes that the Mourne county have every reason to be optimistic about their chances of progression in the Christy Ring.
"Kerry would be the favourites for the Christy Ring," said Flynn. "The fact that we can come out and say we didn't take our chances and that we are disappointed – that has to be good for us."
Flynn also admitted that while defeat to Kerry was not ideal, the result changed little for Down in terms of preparing for their next game.
"Win or lose, we were still going into a knock-out situation so that hasn't changed," he said. "We can take a lot of things out of it and we just have to try to win our next match. It's as simple as that."
Down had enough chances to beat the Kingdom on Saturday but a lack of composure, particularly in the second half, cost them.
Kerry seized the early initiative on seven minutes when Aidan Boyle reacted quickest to turn a loose ball in the square into the net. The goal gave Kerry a lead they would not relinquish for the remainder of the match.
Down hit back with a goal of their own, which was set up superbly by Gareth 'Magic' Johnston and scored by Danny Toner.
Shane Nolan's prowess from the dead ball and a second Kerry goal scored by former Kilkenny hurler Willie O'Dwyer gave the visitors a 2-11 to 1-8 advantage over their hosts at half-time.
With the wind in their favour in the second half, Down's performance notably improved and when James Coyle scored a second Down goal from close range only one point separated the sides.
Kerry hit back almost immediately with a Brendan O'Leary goal.
Down kept pushing forward but a series of misses ultimately allowed Kerry to claim victory.