Skipper Toner points way as Down step up promotion bid
Danny Toner is certainly playing a captain's part in keeping Down very much in the frame for promotion from Division 2B of the Allianz Hurling League.
Having played a prominent role in his side's recent victory over Roscommon, Toner again stepped up to the plate in fine style yesterday when he underpinned their emphatic 2-23 to 0-12 win over Mayo in McHale Park, Castlebar.
Toner, the essence of accuracy throughout, landed 1-9 in setting the tone for an accomplished team performance that has already sparked fresh optimism in terms of promotion.
But Toner was not the only Down hero. Caolan Taggart chipped in with five points before incurring a red card in the closing stages while Malachy Magee scored 1-1, his second half goal providing the momentum for Down's winning surge with Gareth 'Magic' Johnson also making a big impact.
Manager Marty Mallon can take considerable satisfaction from his team's performance but acknowledges that there are further stiff tests on the horizon as the team seek to improve their status in the league.
But there was disappointment for Derry in the same division when they lost by 1-21 to 1-11 to Wicklow having fallen heavily to Meath in their last outing.
The Oak Leaf side endured their share of misfortune in the game when ace marksman Ruairi Convery was forced off injured while Liam Hinphey was dismissed after incurring a second yellow card.
Alan Grant's late goal was very much in the nature of a consolation score for Derry, Andy O'Brien having earlier hit the net for Wicklow, a score which he complemented with a handful of points.
In Division 3A, Tyrone suffered what could prove to be a significant setback when they were beaten by Donegal. The north-west side came out on top by 2-14 to 0-15 thus sustaining their promotion aspirations.
Monaghan made it four wins from four games by beating Louth and look set to clinch promotion while in Division 3B Fermanagh secured a rare win by beating Sligo by 2-15 to 1-14.