Antrim in relegation trouble after defeat to Down

The Saffrons have now lost their first four games in the Lidl NFL campaign

Down's Natasha Ferris is the top scorer across all championship grades in ladies' football this year
Natasha Ferris Natasha Ferris scored 2-6 in Down's win over Antrim


DOWN heaped more pressure on Antrim by winning 3-12 to 1-11 in Davitt Park.

It moves them to six points out of a possible 12, and more importantly there are now two teams between them and the relegation zone, currently occupied by Sligo and Antrim.

Down’s first-half performance paved the way for victory as they built up a six-point lead at the break, 2-5 to 0-5. The second half was a much closer affair, Down shading it by a single point, but that will bring little comfort to Antrim, who have now suffered four consecutive defeats.

Natasha Ferris hit 2-3 of her side’s first-half tally as she finished with 2-6 in total. She and Lara Dahunsi traded points early on before Down got a hold on proceedings, Ferris finding the back of the net from the penalty spot to make it 1-2 to 0-1 after Laoise Duffy had got the visitors’ second point.

Ciara Brown raised a white flag for Antrim but a quickfire 1-3 without reply, Niamh King with a point and Ferris with 1-2, saw Down extend their lead out to nine, 2-5 to 0-2.

Antrim finished the half with three points on the bounce through Blaithin Ni Cahil (free) and a brace from Brown to leave the two goals between them at the break, 2-5 to 0-5.

It was a much better second-half performance from the Saffrons but they couldn’t make any inroads into the Down lead or when they did, the visitors matched what they brought to the table including their major.

Dahunsi pulled them back to within five but Ferris, King and Duffy replied and the gap was out to eight, 2-8 to 0-6.

Dahunsi hit a brace to pull it back to six, as the sides then shared the next four points before Niamh McClory and Ferris (free) made it 2-12 to 0-10 to Down.

Carla McKenna grabbed a consolation goal for Antrim in the 60th minute but that was cancelled out by Sarah Dougherty who fired home from the penalty spot to seal a good win for the Mourne side.


Clare 1-9 Offaly 0-8; Antrim 1-11 Down 3-12; Sligo 0-8 Roscommon 0-17; Wexford 0-10 Louth 1-7


THERE was a big surprise at Páirc Uí Rinn as a Cork side looking for their second win were blown away by a Waterford team who had lost all three opening games.

But Waterford got on top from the outset and a goal from Aine O’Neill helped them lead by 1-9 to 0-1 at the break.

They didn’t relent after the restart and a goal from Clare Walsh helped open a 2-12 to 0-3 lead and Cork, who had a late consolation goal from Lydia McDonagh, are now firmly in the relegation scrap after a 2-12 to 1-6 loss.

So too are Galway after they got caught in the closing stages by All-Ireland champions Dublin at Parnell Park and fell to their fourth loss, which now sees them propping up the table after being pipped by 0-16 to 1-12.

A goal from Linda Booth helped Galway lead by 1-7 to 0-8 at the break but Dublin came with a late surge with points from Kate Sullivan and Orlagh Nolan levelling the match before Hannah Tyrrell kicked a free in the dying moments to claim a second win of the campaign for Mick Bohan’s charges.

Holders Kerry, who had started the defence of their crown with three wins, were held to a draw by Mayo in Killarney on Saturday.

The sides were deadlocked at 0-4 apiece in the opening half.

Kerry looked good for victory when they led by three points with 10 minutes remaining, but Mayo rallied and Sinead Walsh rescued a draw with the second of her two late points as it finished 0-8 each.


Armagh 2-12 Meath 0-8; Dublin 0-16 Galway 1-12; Kerry 0-8 Mayo 0-8; Cork 1-6 Waterford 2-12


TYRONE maintained their unbetean start but had to settle for a 2-8 each draw against Laois in Aghaloo.

The Red Hands are second in the table behind Kildare, who are four wins from four, but their unbeaten run looked in grave danger at half-time as they trailed 1-5 to 0-3

The home side emerged a different outfit for the second half and five points in a row had them back on level terms, 0-8 to 1-5, vice-captain Chloe McCaffrey with three of those.

However, Laois struck for a second goal after halting Tyrone’s momentum with a point to wipe out the inroads their opposition had made and they added another point to move five clear again, 2-7 to 0-8.

The game was not over yet, though, and goals from McCaffrey and captain Aoibhinn McHugh swung the game back in Tyrone’s favour 2-8 to 2-7. It looked like they might just pull this one out of the bag, but Laois had the final say and hit the equalising point as they got their first point of the campaign

Eabha Sherry hit the equalising point as Monaghan and Donegal played out a 2-10 to 1-13 draw at Truagh.

It’s the first league point for Darren Greenan’s Farney side but they remain at the bottom of Division Two along with Laois, while Donegal are in third behind Kildare and Tyrone.

This high-scoring game was end-to-end that was level five times, including at the final whistle.

Monaghan led within the first minute when Leanne Maguire fired home from the penalty spot.

That was the only time they did lead but Donegal could never shake them off and five times they drew back level with them.

There were three between the sides at half-time, Donegal leading 1-7 to 1-4, Nicole Gordon with the Tir Chonaill girls’ major in the second minute in what was a whirlwind start.

Donegal lead 1-2 to 1-0 only for Monghan to square the game up and again they led 1-4 to 1-2 but Monaghan came back once more before three unanswered points in the final 10 mintues of the half gave them that three-point cushion at the break.

Sherry, who finished with 1-7, and hit all of Monaghan’s second-half scores, put her side back on level terms in the 41st mintue at 1-8 apiece before Susanne White, who hit seven points in all, put Donegal two ahead with the game entering its final quarter.

The visitors actually led by three with six mintues remaining but Sherry struck for her side’s second goal in 57th minute.

Katie Long looked to have won it for Donegal when she pointed in the 60th minute but Sherry and Monaghan found the equaliser a minute into injury-time for the sides to finish level.

Cavan recorded a second successive win to ease their relegation worries with a hard fought 1-4 to 0-6 victory over Wesmeath.

In a low-scoring first half, Westmeath led 0-3 to 0-1. Cavan opened the scoring through Sinead Levingstone in the fourth minute but that was to be their only score of the half.

Westmeath hit a fifth-minute equaliser but the next score did not come until the 19th minute with the home side moving in front. It was another 11 minutes before the next score, a Leanne Slevin free giving her side a two-point half-time advantage.

Cavan hit 1-3 without reply in the second half, Rebecca McLaughlin with the all-important goal in the 51st minute to give her side a 1-4 to 0-4 lead after they had got back on level terms through converted frees from Niamh McCorry (2) and Aoife Brady.

The Breffni side had their goalkeeper Joanne Reilly to thank for pulling off a super save in the 41st minute to deny Westmeath.

The home side did hit two late points but Cavan held on for a crucial victory.


Westmeath 0-6 Cavan 1-4; Tipperary 0-7 Kildare 0-8; Monaghan 2-10 Donegal 1-13; Tyrone 2-8 Laois 2-8


FERMANAGH proved much to strong for Kilkenny as they eased to a 10-12 to 0-5 win to remain top of Division Four.

Eimear Smyth scored a first half hat-trick, hitting 3-3, while seven other players got on the scoresheet for CJ McGourty’s side, Blathin Bouge, Aoife McCabe, Bronagh Smyth, Caoimhe Gallagher (2), Niamh McManus and Joanne Doonan with the other seven goals.

Fermanagh were well in control at half-time with a 5-6 to 0-1 lead. Eimear Smyth completed her hat-trick just before the break. Blaithin Bogue grabbed 1-2 and Aoife McCabe added 1-1 of her side’s tally.

Kilkenny got the first two points of the second half but Fermanagh’s next five scores were all goals as they made it 10-7 to 0-5 before finsihing up with five more points.

In Celtic Park, Longford were well in control at the break with a 1-7 to 0-2 lead over Derry.

They had their first-half tally chalked up before Derry opened their account, finishing the half with the last two scores, points from Erin Doherty and Dara McKeever.

Full-forward Niamh Brady hit 1-4 of her sides’ first-half total with midfielder Sian Gallagher grabbing two points.

Derry took the challenge to Longford in the second half and twice had them back to four points but on each occasion Longford pulled away.

McKeever’s goal made it 1-8 to 1-4 but Longford reeled off three in-a-row from Kamille Burke.

Captain Joanne Corr got Derry’s second goal to bring them within two scores once more, 1-11 to 2-4, but just as before, Longford’s response was immediate and 1-6 without reply, Grace Shannon with the goal after Corr’s major, ended Derry’s chances, although they fought to the end with Doherty scoring Derry’s third goal.

Derry are at home to Kilkenny this weekend with a lot of pride at stake as both sides look for their first points.

Results Wicklow 0-11 Carlow 3-9; Kilkenny 0-5 Fermanagh 10-12; Leitrim 2-11 Limerick 1-10; Derry 3-5 Longford 2-17