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GAA: Down v Armagh - How the players rated

Ratings by John Campbell

After Down ended their 25 year hoodoo with a two point win over Armagh, John Campbell gives his rating on each and every player. Do you agree?


Michael Cunningham: Landed a point from a free, was rather erratic with kick-outs in the first half and had no chance with the two shots that beat him. 6

Anthony Doherty: On his championship debut it was a big ask to police Andrew Murnin but he gained in confidence as the match progressed. 6

Gerard McGovern: Covered soundly for the most part, made a few timely interceptions and used the ball well out of defence. 7

Darren O’Hagan: Lead the team well in his role as skipper by setting a fine example even though Jamie Clarke in particular presented him with problems on occasions in the early stages. 7

Daragh O’Hanlon: Always looked hungry for the ball, broke up several attacks through his positional sense and scored four points in an accomplished display. 7

Conaill McGovern: Kept Oisin O’Neill in check, tackled strongly and helped to minimise Armagh’s threat through the middle in the second half. 7

Caolan Mooney (above): One searing first half run underpinned his counter-attacking ability while his game intelligence and experience saw him make a huge contribution to his team’s performance. 8

Kevin McKernan: Played as sweeper in the first half but was seen in a more attacking role on occasions after the break as he produced his usual whole-hearted performance. 7

Niall Donnelly: Put in a strong shift, won a lot of ball and did good work in defence when it was most required. 7

Peter Turley: A solid effort from the Downpatrick man who played despite a hamstring injury and never shirked a tackle throughout. 7

Conor Maginn: Busy as always, he found it difficult to fend off the attentions of Paul Hughes at times but scored a point and kept going right until the end. 6

Shay Millar: Did his reputation no harm on his championship debut by tracking back when necessary, scoring a point and undertaking useful work in the middle third of the pitch. 7

Jerome Johnston: Tended to flit in and out of the game, scored an early point from a free but did not really threaten a great deal afterwards. 6

Ryan Johnston: Looked busy in the first-half, landed a point and was unselfish in his use of the ball. 7

Connaire Harrison: Turned in an impressive performance after a spell on the sidelines, landed two points and always looked dangerous when in possession. 7


Barry O’Hagan for Harrison (52mins): Proved a thorn in the side of the Armagh defence and scored a point. 6

David McKibben for Donnelly (52): Like O’Hagan, looked lively and helped himself to a point when the heat was on. 6

Niall McParland for Doherty (BC 50): Put himself about as he helped his side see out the game. 6

Joe Murphy for Jerome Johnston (58): Looked energetic and forceful but did not see enough of the ball in the closing stages. 6

Aidan Carr for Turley (71): Used his experience to help keep Armagh at bay in the frenetic finish. 6

Mark Poland for Maginn (71): Dropped deep to bolster Down’s bid to seal the game. 6


Blaine Hughes: Made a magnificent save from Harrison in the 18th minute, might have varied his kick-outs a little more but was sound otherwise. 7

James Morgan: Kept a tight rein on Jerome Johnston for the most part and still found time to support his attack when possible. Battled throughout. 7

Charlie Vernon: Started well in defence, then moved out to midfield but was called ashore as early as the 43rd minute. 6

Paul Hughes: Had quite a battle with Conor Maginn but nonetheless managed to push up when he could especially in the second quarter when Armagh were chasing the game. 6

Aaron McKay: Struggled on Shay Millar in the opening phase but looked much more confident and composed after the break. 7

Brendan Donaghy: Played as sweeper in the first half when he deployed his experience well, fielded the ball capably and initiated some counter-attacks. 6

Mark Shields (above): In his first game in almost four months, he put in a lot of hard work and highlighted his admirable overall effort with a superb early goal. 8

Stephen Sheridan: A wholehearted player whose commitment and work-rate throughout the match were admirable as was the point that he took so well. 7

Joe McElroy: A surprise selection, the Harps clubman put in some big challenges, picked up a yellow card in the feisty finish and battled until the end. 7

Aidan Forker: Tried hard to link defence and attack, got himself into some good positions and scored a fine point. 6

Oisin O’Neill: Showed early promise but then began to look out of his depth and was replaced by Anthony Duffy in the 47th minute. 5

Rory Grugan: A disappointing outing for the captain who never really got going despite an encouraging start and his substitution in the 57th minute was no big surprise. 5

Jamie Clarke: Tried hard to make things happen in the first half, was rather unusually held scoreless from play and was unable to prove an inspirational force. 6 

Stefan Campbell: Forced to play in a very deep role, his undoubted finishing skills never really came into play and his team suffered in consequence. 6

Andrew Murnin: Enthusiastic and inventive, he scored one goal, might have had another and did not always enjoy the rub of the green but kept going until the end. 7


Niall Grimley for Vernon (43): Made an immediate impact, won three kick-outs and looked more than useful. 7

Anthony Duffy for O’Neill (65): Made a big effort to impose himself on the game but found Down’s tigerish tackling too much. 5

Gavin McParland for Grugan (57): Might have made a bigger impact had he been introduced earlier. 5

Niall Rowland for Forker (65): Unable to make any headway as Down shut up shop. 5

Ciaran McKeever for Campbell (76): Not on long enough to be rated.

Ciaron O’Hanlon for Murnin 76: Not on long enough to be rated.


ratings by john campbell

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