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Paul Sheehan points the way as Down secure first ever win in Joe McDonagh Cup


Down's Paul Sheehan

Down's Paul Sheehan

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Down's Paul Sheehan

Down’s hurlers claimed their first win in the Joe McDonagh Cup yesterday, beating Meath by eight points in their final Group B game at McKenna Park, Ballycran.

Having made a losing debut in the second-tier competition against Kerry last week, Down withstood a second-half comeback from Meath to all but secure their place in the competition next year.

The opening exchanges were fairly even with Paul Sheehan on song from frees for Down with Jack Regan and Ian Bermingham doing the damage for Meath. Down stamped their authority on the second quarter and led by five points, 0-14 to 0-9, at the break with Sheehan continuing to punish the Royals from placed balls and Tim Prenter, Chris Egan and Liam Savage joining him on the scoresheet.

The Royals were on level terms on 47 minutes when Alan Douglas rippled the net. Down responded well and were back in the ascendency when Ryan McCusker raised a green flag on 55 minutes for a 1-20 to 1-14 lead.

A Regan goal closed the gap but Down outscored their visitors by 0-5 to 0-1 in the next five minutes to secure a 1-27 to 2-16 win.

Derry opened their Christy Ring Cup campaign with a one-point win over Roscommon at Athleague. The Oak Leafers were reduced to 14 men early on when Darragh McCloskey saw red and trailed by 1-2 to 0-1 when Connell Kennelly found the net for the hosts after five minutes.

Derry trailed by 1-11 to 0-8 at the break but had clawed back the deficit midway through the second half when Cormac O’Doherty levelled from a free on 58 minutes. As injury time approached, Derry held on for a 0-19 to 1-15 win.

Tyrone advanced to the Semi-Finals of the Nicky Rackard Cup with a 1-18 to 1-6 win over Armagh at the Athletic Grounds. The sides were tied at 1-16 apiece as the clock ticked towards 70 minutes but points from Rory Weir and Mickey Little sealed the win for Tyrone.

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