Great day at office for Down gaels

Great day at office for Down gaels

6 February 2019

IT was a Red Letter day for Down Gaels on Sunday when everything fell into place.

The county’s senior footballers registered their first win the NFL when they beat Sligo.

The hurlers also picked up the spoils when they got the better of Wicklow and Down Ladies beat Offaly to get their NFL campaign off to a winning start to make it a Red and Black treble.

Paddy Tally’s footballers were expected to win at Connolly Park, but they certainly didn’t get things all their own way.    

Sligo went into added time at the end of the game with a one point lead, but Caolan Mooney popped up from nowhere in the 74th minute to fire the ball to the net after a piercing move involving Darren O’Hagan, Johnny Flynn, Kevin McKernan and Donal O’Hare.

To say that Tally was pleased to hear the final whistle would be an understatement.

“We probably did steal it,” he admitted. “I’d say Sligo are bitterly disappointed with that. 

“They were one point up going into injury time and I’m sure they thought they were going to win it.

“We were able to get ourselves level and get a point ahead, but we weren’t able to hold on to it.But a goal at that stage is very hard to come back from, so I’ll take it.”

Mooney was the real star of the show and in addition to scoring the winning goal, he also found time to fire over two superb points. 

His direct running sets him apart and he has the necessary power and pace to attack when defences least expect it.

He also has bags of experience and Tally believes that helped get Down over the line.

“A wee bit of experience helped us,” the manager said. “Darren O’Hagan came in, Kevin McKernan and Caolan Mooney got more football and Ryan Johnston as well. Those players made a significant difference,” he said afterwards.

“We knew we had to get something from the game”, Tally continued. “We lost last week and we were disappointed with our performance. We’ve still a lot of work to do. We made a lot of mistakes and conceded a lot of turnovers.

“There are boys still finding their feet at this level, which is part of it. It takes a few matches.”

Down now take on Westmeath at Pairc Esler, Newry, on Saturday night. 

Meanwhile, over in Aughrim, the county’s hurlers more than made up for last week’s disappointing defeat to Derry when they beat Wicklow 1-23 to 0-15 in Division 2B of the National League.

Ronan Sheehan’s side were in command throughout the first half and raced into a 0-13 to 0-4 interval lead.

Wicklow bravely tried to get back into contention, but Down’s greater accuracy stood by them with Paul Sheehan, Oisin McManus, Conor O’Prey, and Daithi and Eoghan Sands all getting vital scores.

The hurlers are now away to Warwickshire on Sunday, February 16. 

The county’s senior ladies travelled to face Birr in County Offaly on Sunday to begin their National League campaign and came home with a 6-7 to 3-12 win.

Down were never really able to get away from Offaly, but two late goals finally killed off the hosts. Next up is a trip to Wicklow on Sunday.