Deegan in the spotlight as his young guns fire out an early U20 title warning
Former Down All-Ireland winner Conor Deegan found himself engaged on not one but two fronts at St Tiernach's Park, Clones yesterday.
Deegan is manager of the Down U20 football side that overcame Antrim by 1-16 to 0-11 in the first round of the Ulster championship and he was also a member of the all-conquering 1994 Down squad that was honoured at half-time during the Ulster senior final to mark the 25th anniversary of their All-Ireland title triumph.
"It was certainly a busy day for me but the main thing is that the under 20 side won and will now meet Tyrone next weekend in the second round of the competition. We will be expecting a much stiffer challenge from them, let it be said," declared Deegan.
Yesterday his team took a grip on proceedings from an early stage and were rarely troubled. Full-forward Liam Kerr laid the way in the scoring stakes by landing 0-5 (four frees), while Seamus Loughran and Ross Carr each registered four points.
Down led by 0-10 to 0-3 at half-time and rattled off four quick points on the resumption which effectively put them out of Antrim's reach.
Dermot McErlain, Tiarnan McAteer and Eoin Nagle each scored two points for the Saffrons whose resistance was extinguished when substitute Aaron Devlin drilled home Down's goal at the end of the third quarter.
Meanwhile, in the All-Ireland Intermediate camogie championship Down maintained their challenge for the title by beating Laois by 0-16 to 1-8.
Laois surprised Derry last weekend but Down, with Niamh Mallon again prominent, sustained their momentum to the end.
Derry showed great powers of recovery by overcoming Carlow by 4-18 to 0-8 to atone for their lapse against Laois. The Oak Leaf outfit were never in trouble against the midland side and they now face Down and Tipperary, two sides who have already beaten them this year.
Tyrone and Monaghan will meet in the final of the Ulster Minor football championship next month following their semi-final wins over Derry and Donegal lately.
Tyrone beat Derry by 1-14 to 0-10 while Monaghan overcame Donegal by 5-10 to 2-11.