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Burns facing a bigger challenge after Down falter at home

By John Campbell

Down manager Eamonn Burns saw his team’s hopes of promotion back into the top tier of the Allianz Football League take a knock yesterday when they lost to Cork by 1-13 to 0-10 at Pairc Esler, Newry.

An out of the blue second half goal by the outstanding Mark Collins — he scored 1-5 in all — proved the catalyst for a strong final quarter by the visitors who tacked on three more points to leave Down floundering in their slipstream.

Down, for whom Anthony Doherty converted three frees and Darragh O’Hanlon two, were in arrears by just a point at the break (0-7 to 0-6), but the finishing skills of Collins and Colm O’Neill in particular helped to give Cork their first league victory.

Mourne boss Burns, though, has already issued a call to his team.

“We must dust ourselves down and get ready to face Roscommon next week They will have taken heart following their win over Tipperary and will have home advantage but we must be up for this challenge,” asserts Burns.

“It was a disappointing result against Cork. I thought we were in the game at half-time even though we did not take all the chances that were presented to us .”

“We knew going into the game we were facing a big, strong physical team and they certainly showed that.

“We had a very good start to the second half, we got ourselves back level with them but within the space of about four minutes they got a goal and two points and that effectively finished the game as a contest.”

He added: “Those scores gave Cork a five-point lead and there was no way back for us.”

Meanwhile, Armagh and Fermanagh made further ground in Division Three. Kieran McGeeney’s side beat Westmeath by 2-17 to 1-11 in Mullingar with Ronan Lappin and Rory Grugan grabbing their goals while Rory Gallagher’s Erne outfit proved too strong for Offaly at Enniskillen where they won by 2-11 to 1-6.

Adrian Breen and Conall Jones hit the home team’s goals in the first half and at half-time they were virtually assured of the two points when they led by 2-6 to 0-4.

But new Derry manager Damian McErlain does not have his sorrows to seek just now. Having succumbed to Westmeath last weekend, his team surprisingly bowed the knee to Longford on a 1-13 to 1-6 score line yesterday.

Skipper Enda Lynn scored Derry’s goal in the 32nd minute and although they trailed by 0-6 to 1-1 this sparked hope of a recovery, but it was not to be with Longford striding confidently to their second successive victory.

Derry are still pointless in Division Two and face a huge challenge to retain their status over the remainder of the competition.

Cavan showed their mettle by beating Louth by 3-17 to 0-13 also in Division Two with Bryan Magee, Niall Clerkin and Martin Reilly scoring their goals.

And there was a boost for Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke who saw his side scrape past Kildare by 1-10 to 0-12. Conor McCarthy landed a late winning point for the Farney county in a match that was nip and tuck throughout.

But Donegal stumbled for the second Sunday in succession, this time to Galway in Letterkenny. The Tribesmen won by 1-12 to 0-14 in a tense finish.

Antrim, though, enjoyed a productive trip to Waterford where they came out on top by 2-12 to 0-10. The talented Murray brothers Ryan and Connor each landed a goal in the Saffrons’ handsome win in Division Four.

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