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Wasteful Down made to pay price

Cork 0-16 Down 1-08

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No joy: Owen McCabe was on target for Down but they
suffered their first league defeat of the season

No joy: Owen McCabe was on target for Down but they suffered their first league defeat of the season

�INPHO/Ryan Byrne

No joy: Owen McCabe was on target for Down but they suffered their first league defeat of the season

Cork made it three wins from as many games to go top of Division Three against a Down team that simply wasn't at the races for periods but rallied late.

Played in Pairc Ui Chaoimh at the edge of Cork city, Storm Ciara made its presence felt with a strong wind blowing, which Down were facing into in the opening half.

The stadium lights were required as the grey clouds and driving rain, which appeared only seconds before throw-in, made visibility difficult.

Down manager Paddy Tally made a couple of late changes to the team with St Peter's Warrenpoint clubman Paddy Murdoch making his National League debut in place of the experienced Benny McArdle, while Kilcoo's Jerome Johnston started instead of young Cory Quinn.

The Mournemen started brightly with Donal O'Hare jinking through two defenders before slotting over but Down failed to make the most of their early chances and the Rebels made use of the strong wind, kicking seven points in a row.

Down were caught in their own half with Cork pressing high and turning over possession.

John O'Rourke, full-back Thomas Clancy and Brian Harnett all scored from play while Damien Gore, Ciaran Sheehan and Cathal Mahony all converted frees to give Cork a 0-7 to 0-1 lead but Owen McCabe grabbed a second point for Down before Ruairi Deane extended Cork's lead to 0-8 to 0-2 at the break.

Six points was a huge margin and Down hoped the wind could aid their cause in the second period, but it was Cork's Harnett who grabbed his second point.

While Darren O'Hagan and Paul Devlin hit back with points for Down, it was the Rebels who remained on top as Liam O'Donovan and the nippy Gore tagged on points.

McCabe's second point left six between the sides again with 45 minutes played but Mahony showed a touch of class when, from 40m out and against the wind, he stroked between the sticks.

The game was running away from Down but substitute Quinn scored their sixth point and O'Hare and O'Hagan chipped away before Quinn's 65th-minute goal put four points between the teams.

That set up a tense finale but Luke Connolly's converted free increased Cork's cushion and made things more comfortable.

There were six additional minutes but Down squandered their chances and it was Cork who had done enough.

Cork scorers: D Gore (0-03, 0-2f), C Mahony (0-03, 0-02f), B Harnett (0-02), T Clancy, L Donovan, I Maguire, J O'Rourke, R Deane, C Sheehan (free), L Connolly (free) all 0-01.

Down scorers: C Quinn (1-01) O McCabe (0-02), D O'Hare (0-02, 0-2f), D O'Hagan (0-02), P Devlin all (0-01).

Belfast Telegraph