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Down lack that little bit extra but Burns sees better times up ahead

Down 3-17 Longford 2-24

By Gareth McCullough

Down boss Eamonn Burns spoke of his disappointment after his side were knocked out of the All-Ireland qualifiers with an extra-time defeat to Longford at Pairc Esler on Saturday.

"I'm very disappointed for the boys. They worked very hard but that's the way it goes," said Burns.

"It's been a difficult year for Down. We're in transition, we're building a team and things don't happen quickly but we'll have a look over the summer and see where we go from here.

"In the Championship we blooded a lot of new players. It's very tough, we're down and the mood's not great but hopefully those games will stand to them."

After Ryan Mallon and Longford's Brian Kavanagh traded scores, Donal O'Hare converted a free before the visitors took a 0-4 to 0-2 lead after 13 minutes with points from Barry McKeon, Kavanagh and Robbie Smyth.

Longford responded to Barry O'Hagan's point to go 0-7 to 0-3 ahead with scores from Mickey Quinn, Smyth and Kavanagh.

They stormed ahead before O'Hare's stoppage-time free gave Down hope, and the Burren man netted 35 seconds into the second period to make it 2-4 to 0-11 before Conor Maginn levelled.

McKeon edged Longford ahead only for O'Hare to point and fire home his second goal.

Longford hit scores from Reynolds and Quinn before O'Hare and Kavanagh traded frees to make it 3-7 to 0-15 to Down. Mallon's second point and an O'Hare free increased Down's lead only for Quinn to pull one back and James McGivney and Diarmuid Masterson levelled.

Longford went two clear from another Kavanagh free and Masterson again before Mallon's point. Down sub Sean Dornan levelled and although Quinn put Longford ahead, O'Hare's injury-time free took it to extra-time.

Kavanagh made it 3-12 to 0-22 but Mallon and Mark Poland put Down ahead before O'Hare knocked over and Smyth scored.

Seamus Hannon netted to make it 3-15 to 1-23 and McGivney was black carded.

Mark Hughes goaled to make it 3-16 to 2-23 before Seamus Hannon pointed and, while O'Hare scored, Down went out.

Down: M Reid; C McGovern, G McGovern, D O'Hagan; D McKibbin, A Carr, D O'Hanlon; P Turley, K McKernan; R Mallon (0-4), M Poland (0-1), J Murphy; C Maginn (1-1), D O'Hare (2-9, 0-6 frees), B O'Hagan (0-1) Subs: G Collins for D McKibbin (44), M McKay for K McKernan (53), D Turley for J Murphy (54), S Dornan (0-1) for B O'Hagan (62), K McKernan for C Maginn (84), B McArdle for A Carr (89)

Black card: M McKay replaced by H Brown (78-79)

Longford: P Collum; C Farrelly, B Gilleran, D Brady; D McElligott, M Quinn (0-4), D Masterson (0-3); M Brady, D Gallagher; D Reynolds (0-1), J McGivney (0-3), B McKeon (0-2); R Smyth (0-4, 0-1 free), B Kavanagh (0-6, 0-3 frees), B O'Farrell Subs: P McGee for B Gilleran (48), L Connerton for D Gallagher (55), S Hannon (1-1) for B McKeon (60), B Farrell for D Reynolds (67), D Gallagher (returned for extra-time), R Connor for R Smyth (85), D McGivney for M Quinn (89)

Yellow: M Brady (15), D McElligott (23), D McGivney (43) Red: M Brady (15 & 70, two yellows) Black card: J McGivney replaced by M Hughes (1-0) (80-81) Ref: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

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