NFL Division 2A
By Michael McMullan
TWO frees from Oisin MacManus shot Down to victory over Kerry and into top spot in windy conditions at Ballycran on Saturday afternoon.
It booked Ronan Sheehan’s side a place in the promotion final and gives them a crack at promotion to Division One.
Kerry had the elements in the first half and led by six points at the break, but they’ll rue 10 first-half wides as Down came thundering back into the game in the second half.
A 38th minute penalty won by Eoghan Sands and blasted home by Conor Woods gave them a pathway back into the game.
With Marc Fisher and Pearse Óg McCrickard impressive at midfield, the game began to change.
A Matt Conlan point had Down ahead for just the second time in the game in the 61st minute, but Kerry levelled matters.
Down, with Stephen Keith’s wind-assisted puck-outs influential, they went two points ahead only for the Kingdom to tie the game with an injury time point from substitute Maurice O’Connor.
An minutes earlier, there was a crucial moment when Gavin Dooley’s shot looked to be heading for the net, only got an instinctive goalline clearance from Caolan Taggart.
Michael Hughes had a chance to put Down ahead, but pulled his shot wide. From the puck-out, Eoghan Sands won a vital breaking ball and Down were awarded a free which MacManus converted.
Pearse Óg McCrickard won the resultant puck-out and when Jordan Doran was fouled, McManus tapped over the insurance point.
Down: S Keith; M Hughes, J McManus, T Murray (0-1); M Conlan (0-1), C Woods (1-2, 1 pen, 2f), C Taggart; P Óg McCrickard (0-1), L Savage; M Fisher (0-2), P Sheehan (0-7f), R McCusker; E Sands, C Egan, D Sands (0-1)
Subs: O MacManus (0-3, 2f) for C Egan (23), J Doran (0-1) for R McCusker (47), B Trainor for E Sands (blood sub 42, reversed 54), C Cassidy for T Murray (55), B Trainor for P Sheehan (58)
Yellow cards: J McManus (17), M Hughes (28), L Savage (35), T Murray (53)
Kerry: M Stackpoole; C O’Keefe, E Leen, F Mackessey (0-1); F McCarthy, M Leane (0-2), C Walsh; D Collins, M Boyle; S Nolan (0-1), S Conway (0-7, 6f), C Harty (0-3); P O’Connor (0-1), P Ahern, P Boyle (0-4)
Subs: E Ross for F McCarthy (28), N Mulcahy for P Ahern (43), M O’Connor (0-1) for S Nolan (49), G Dooley for D Collins (60), F O’Sullivan for M Leen (INJ 73)
Black card: C O’Keefe (38)
Yellow cards: P O’Connor (35), M Boyle (76)
Referee: C Mooney (Dublin)
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