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Mooney has final say to give Down a lift

Sligo 1-10 Down 1-12

Caolan Mooney

Caolan Mooney's injury-time winner saw Down pick up their first points in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League as they squeezed their way past 14-man Sligo in Collooney.

Played in difficult conditions at the south Sligo venue, it was the home side who burst into a five-point lead, courtesy of points from Pat Hughes and skipper Niall Murphy.

While the Yeatsmen's only goal of the day arrived on six minutes when Hughes plucked Adrian Marren's punt forward from the sky, before turning and blasting past Rory Burns.

The Ulster men slowly settled and edged their way back into contention through white flags from Paul Devlin, Pat Havern and Jerome Johnston. While substitute Ryan Johnston was only seconds on the pitch when he had Down's fourth with 19 played.

Having endured almost a quarter of an hour without a score, Sligo's Sean Carribine had the Connacht side ahead by two, while Murphy followed up with two more scores as Paul Taylor's charges enjoyed their second win.

Keen to recover from an opening day defeat to Laois, the red and black fought their way back into the tie again and were within two points of Sligo at the break thanks to successive kicks from Donal O'Hare.

O'Hare had his third early in the second half, before Devlin had his brace shortly after to tie the game.

The second period was nine minutes old when Sligo managed their first score of the half. Carribine's superb swinging effort from out wide a highlight of the day.

Neither side was able to pull clear of the other and the destination of the points was anyone's guess as the game's big talking point arrived.

Hughes' high tackle on a Down player two minutes from time was deemed a red card offence by referee Padraig Hughes. A decision which drew plenty of post match criticism from the Sligo bench.

Paddy Tally's side took advantage of the situation, O'Hare converting the subsequent free to put Down into the lead for the first time.

Sligo looked like they had recovered when Murphy first levelled the game on 70, while the home crowd looked to be going home happy when Carribine's patience paid off as he found the posts 60 seconds later.

But Down were to have the final say. Barry O'Hagan had passed up a great chance to level proceedings once again when he fluffed his lines from close range. But the visitors rallied once more and went one better in the fifth-minute of added time.

Punishing Sligo's deep line with quick incisive passing, O'Hare teamed up with Darren O'Hagan at the back post who pulled the ball back for Mooney.

The Rostrevor man hammering the ball to the net from six metres to deliver a timely boost to the Mournmen's chances in Division 3.

Scorers: Sligo: Aidan Devaney (0-1); Liam Gaughan (0-2); Sean Carribine (0-2); Pat Hughes (1-2); Niall Murphy (0-3)

Down: Jerome Johnston (0-1); Donal O'Hare (0-4); Pat Havern (0-1); Ryan Johnston (0-2); Caolan Mooney (1-2); Paul Devlin (0-2).

Belfast Telegraph