Magical Mooney conjures up late, late winner

Magical Mooney conjures up late, late winner

6 February 2019

DOWN were forced to rely on an eleventh hour intervention from Caolan Mooney to get over the line at Connolly Park, Sligo, on Sunday.

The Rostrevor governor swooped in added time to turn a 1-10 to 0-12 deficit into a winning scenario with a sensational last-gasp goal to give Paddy Tally’s charges their first win of the campaign.

It all looked so bleak for the visitors for most of the game as Sligo dominated the exchanges, but Down hung on grimly and Mooney saved the day four minutes into added time. 

Sligo started in a hurry and points from Pat Hughes and Liam Gaughan gave the hosts a 0-2 to 0-0 lead after five minutes.

Hughes slammed in a quick goal to increase Sligo’s lead to five points before Paul Devlin registered Down’s first score with a converted free in the eighth minute.

Further unanswered points from Pat Havern and Ryan and Jerome Johnston brought Down to within a point of the home side midway through the first half. Sligo then hit another purple patch and points from Sean Carrabine and Niall Murphy (0-2) eased them into a 1-5 to 0-4 lead by the 27th minute.

Down brought on Donal O’Hare at this stage of the game for Jerome Johnston and the Burren hit man lofted over the last two scores of the half to send Tally’s men into the break, trailing 1-5 to 0-6.

It was Down who held sway at the start of the second half and O’Hare and Devlin quickly wiped out Sligo’s lead with two well-taken points to leave it all square at 1-5 to 0-8 after 37 minutes.

There was a bit of a lull in the action before Gaughan and Ryan Johnston exchanged scores to maintain the status quo, but with 48 minutes gone Mooney joined in the fun and pointed Down into a 0-10 to 1-6 lead.

Aiden Devaney cancelled this score out with a point for Sligo and the unerring Hughes split the posts to send The Yeats County back in front with nine minutes remaining. Down held their nerve and the elegant Mooney fisted the equalising point as the game hurtled to a conclusion.

O’Hare took full advantage of Sligo going down to 14 men when Hughes was shown a straight red, but the home side were far from finished. 

Two points from Carrabine and Murphy seemed to have given Sligo a prized scalp, but Mooney finished off an incisive move to secure an unlikely victory for Down.

Sligo: A Devaney (0-1, 1f), N Mullen, P Laffey, JF Carr, L Nicholson, P McNamara, G O’Kelly-Lynch, P Kilcoyne, A McIntyre, L Gaughan (0-2), P O’Connor, S Carrabine (0-2, 1f), A Marren, P Hughes (1-2, 2f), N Murphy (0-3, 2f). Subs: C Henry for L Nicholson, A McLoughlin for Kilcoyne, B McGowan for O’Connor.

Down: R Burns, D O’Hagan, S Murnin, G Collins, S Fegan, C Flanagan, C Mooney (1-2), L Devlin, J Flynn, C Francis, C Poland, K McKernan, J Johnston (0-1, 1f), P Havern (0-1), P Devlin (0-2, 2f). Subs: R Johnston (0-2) for Murnin, D O’Hare (0-4, 2f) for J Johnston, D McCarthy for Devlin, C Harrison for P Havern, B O’Hagan for Devlin.

Sligo 1-10

Down 1-12