Tally’s Down torment continues

Tally’s Down torment continues

9 January 2019

DOWN fell to their second successive McKenna Cup defeat when Donegal proved too strong for Paddy Tally’s side in front of just over 2,000 spectators at Pairc Esler on Sunday.

The Down manager made several changes from the side that started against Cavan as he continues in his bid to unearth some fresh talent, but it was Donegal and their new faces that impressed.

The visitors registered the first score when Niall O’Donnell converted in the first minute. Down responded well and less than a minute later Gerard Collins picked out Ciaran Harney and the Saul man did the rest with an accomplished point.

A Michael Langan free and a good score from Jamie Brennan eased Donegal into a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after only five minutes. Saval’s Pat Havern pointed to leave a single point in it before Down lost the services of the experienced Benny McArdle who went off injured and was replaced by Dowpatrick’s Conor McGrady after 12 minutes. 

Despite the loss of the influential Annaclone man, Down continued to win their fair share of possession, but they were not just as clinical in front of the posts as Donegal.

With 16 minutes gone the impressive Martin McElhinney pointed Donegal into a 0-4 to 0-2 lead before Down had a Harney goal disallowed under the new hand pass rule.

Five minutes later a raking pass from Rory Mason released Ryan Johnston and he brought Down back to within a point with a well-taken score.

Down lost their way at this stage with McElhinney and Peadar Morgan dominating the midfield exchanges and unanswered points from Caolan McGonigle, Martin O’Reilly, Jamie Brennan, Michael Langan and McElhinney gave Donegal a commanding 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead.

Tally introduced Kilcoo’s Paul Devlin at the start of the second half, but even he was unable to ignite Down.

Ciaran Thompson and Devlin swapped points in the early stages of the second half before McElhinney stretched Donegal’s lead to 0-11 tom 0-4 after 37 minutes. Another Devlin free and a super score from McGrady left five points in it, but that was as good as it got for Down.

Points from Morgan, O’Donnell (0-2) and McElhinney allowed Donegal to take a 0-15 to 0-6 lead and put the issue beyond doubt. McGrady responded with a second point for Down, but Donegal piled on the agony and further scores from McGonigle, with a goal, Hugh McFadden and Oisin Gallen left the visitors comfortable winners.

Down had late points from Carryduff’s Owen McCabe, a member of the county U-20 squad last season, and Devlin, but they were mere consolation scores as Donegal ran out comfortable winners.

Down: Jonathan Parr, Shane Annett, Ruairi Wells, Ryan McAleenan, Gerard Collins, Benny McArdle, Ryan Johnston (0-1), Aaron McClements, Daniel McCarthy, Rory Mason, Conor Poland, Jerome Johnston (0-1), Pat Havern (0-1), Ciaran Harney (0-1).

Subs: Conor McGrady (0-2) for McArdle, Paul Devlin (0-3f) for Mason, D McClements for Harney, Corey Quinn for Havern, Owen McCabe (0-1) for Aaron McClements. 

Donegal: Martin McGinley, Caolan Ward, Brendan McCole, Conor Morrison, Eoin McHugh, Eamonn Doherty, Peadar Morgan (0-1), Hugh McFadden (0-1), Martin McElhinney (0-4), Ciaran Thompson (0-1), Niall O’Donnell (0-3f), Caolan McGonigle (1-1), Martin O’Reilly (0-1), Michael Langan (0-2, 1f), Jamie Brennan (0-2).

Subs: Jason McGee for Thompson, Paul Brennan for McHugh, Lorcan Connor for Morrison, Oisin Gallen (0-1) for O’Reilly.

Down 0-10

Donegal 1-17