Late MacManus frees earn Down win over Kerry to book final spot

NFL Division 2A

Down 1-19
Kerry 0-20

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)

READ MORE – Sheehan wants fast start to the league. Click here…

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW