Sheehan salutes Down
Down hurling boss Ronan Sheehan had made it clear that he would not allow last weekend's defeat to Derry in the Christy Ring Cup to demoralise his side.
And sure enough the Mourne outfit responded by getting the better of Wicklow at Aughrim over the weekend.
In what is regarded as an inhospitable venue by visiting sides, Down made themselves at home and won 2-25 to 2-19.
Tim Prenter's late goal proved crucial after Daithi Sands had earlier found the Wicklow net, while both players, along with Eoghan Sands and Oisin McManus, helped Down to amass their formidable points tally in a victory that has revived their hopes of progress.
"The side showed character and resilience against Wicklow and this gives us a boost going forward," insisted Sheehan.
And Derry carved out a second successive Christy Ring Cup victory in overcoming Donegal by 0-20 to 1-14.
Cormac O'Doherty was again to the fore for the Oak Leafs.
In the Nicky Rackard Cup, Tyrone slipped up against Sligo following their superb win over fancied Mayo last Sunday.
Manager Mattie Lennon was not happy that his side conceded 3-19 while compiling only 1-14 with Damian Kelly again the side's scorer-in-chief.
Armagh only fared marginally better against Warwickshire in Birmingham where they had to be content with a draw.
The Orchard County appeared to have stolen a march when Danny Magee fired to the net in the 57th minute to bring their tally to 1-21 but Warwickshire snapped up 1-1 in the closing moments to finish on 2-18.
Orchard County boss Padraig O'Connor was prepared to take the positives, though.
"We were five points down going into the last few minutes until Danny Magee scored and before that I might have taken the arm off you for a draw," stated O'Connor. "We are still in with a chance of making the semi-finals but much will depend on our next match against Longford. We need a victory to ensure that we get a place in the last four."
Meanwhile, questions will surely be asked about the feasibility of Ulster teams participating in the Leinster Minor Hurling Championship after further morale-sapping defeats were inflicted on Antrim and Down.
The young Saffrons emerged with a modicum of credit in going under to Meath by 3-17 to 1-12 but Down were overwhelmed by Kildare 7-36 to 0-5.