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Down show their clinical edge to leave Derry in a relegation scrap

Derry 1-15 Down 1-18

By Steven Doherty

Down ended Derry's Christy Ring hopes with a hard-fought 1-18 to 1-15 win at Owenbeg.

Ruairi Convery nailed a 70th-minute free to level the tie with extra-time looming. However, the Mournemen converted three late points to edge over the finishing line.

Respective defeats last week at the hands of Roscommon and London had paired Derry and Down in a winner takes all battle and while the hurling on show was far from the vintage variety, the intensity rarely flagged.

Derry began the brightest with Shane Farren handing them a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after five minutes. Down retaliated and squared matters through Aaron O'Prey, Danny Toner and Brook Byers.

Derry regained the lead when Oisin McCloskey took a superb catch and drilled into the net in the 10th minute, and they led 1-07 to 0-09 at the break.

Down's ability to dissect the posts, however, would be the winning of the game, while the home side's sorry total of 14 wides would cost them dearly.

Level at 1-15 apiece in injury-time, Michael Johnston's side wheeled off three points to kill off Derry, who now face Wicklow in the relegation play-offs.

Derry scorers: O McCloskey 1-0, T McCloskey 0-1, Farren 0-8 (0-4f), Convery 0-3 (0-2), Cleary 0-1, McGuigan 0-2. Down scorers: A O'Prey 0-3, Conway 0-1, McGrath 0-1, Woods 0-1f, Nicholson 0-1, Sheehan 0-1f, Toner 0-4 (0-2f), McManus 0-4, Byers 1-1, C O'Prey 0-1.

Referee: Colum Cunning (Antrim)

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