Down ratings: Murdock, McEvoy and Rooney among best as Mourne defence stands strong in Ulster opener

Down grind out victory over Antrim in Ulster Championship quarter-final in Newry

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Odhran Murdock was one of Down's best performers against Antrim. Picture by Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)

John O’Hare: Spread himself well to save Finnegan’s shot. Tested with high ball in the first half and held it. Accurate with short kick outs. 6.5

Peter Fegan: Picked up McEnhill, Antrim’s top-scorer this year and kept him scoreless. Switched to McQuillan in second half and did the same. Solid. 7

Ryan McEvoy: Scored Down’s first point. Strong hands to grab a free that fell short and start a Down attack. Turned by McQuillan for a point but didn’t give him another sniff. 7.5

Ceilum Doherty: Body-checked by Conor Hand (who was black-carded) in third minute. Tracked Antrim midfielder Marc Jordan and kept him quiet. Pushed forward to kick point. 7

Micheal Rooney: The consistent Kilcoo clubman was one of Down’s best performers on a below-par day. Scored a point and did his defensive job well. Assist for Annett score too. 7.5

Pierce Laverty: Marking assignment on Ruairi McCann and kept him under wraps. Meaty hit stopped Hynds break in its tracks. 6.5

Daniel Guinness: Few alarms as the spare man in front of Down’s full-back line. Picked up Jordan in the second half and got forward for a brace of fisted points. 7.5

Conor McCrickard: Played at full-forward. Deft flick-on for Havern during the first half. Enthusiastic and kept showing although the ball didn’t always stick. 6

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Pat Havern scored an early free for Down against Antrim. Picture by Seamus Loughran (seamus loughran)

Odhran Murdock: See Star Man

Shealan Johnston: Comfortable in possession, he has an eye for a pass and the skill to play it. Split Antrim defence with ball to his brother but his shot was blocked. 6

Liam Kerr: Not at his best with the physical Kavan Keenan for company. Close to conceding a penalty with rash foul on McCann. Pushed forward for point but over-carried when Magill sent him through and blazed another shot wide. 6

Ryan Johnston: Won free for Savage score. Maurice Fitzgerald-esque swerving point into the wind was the highlight of the first half. Not so good in second when he blazed shot wide. In bravely to win the ball as Antrim pushed for late lifeline. 6.5

Barry O'Hagan remains an influential voice in the Down dressingroom
Barry O'Hagan made a welcome return to action for Down against Antrim

Barry O’Hagan: Welcome back after his injury issues. Fisted one chance wide and sent another up-and-under. Called ashore in the second half. 6

Pat Havern: Grabbed the throw-in and nailed a free. Dropped another short into wind and was withdrawn 10 minutes from half-time after a stray pass. 5.5

Danny Magill: Tracked by Finnegan. Broke for a Rooney pass but couldn’t hold on. Played deeper in second half. 6


Oisin Savage: Replaced Havern after 24 minutes. Knocked over a free, then a mark early in second half. Finished with three and was Down’s best forward on the day. 6.5

Eamon Brown: On for McCrickard after 48 minutes. Played up front and put himself about. 6

Shane Annett: In for O’Hagan with 17 minutes to go. Scored a point. 6

Ryan Magill: On for last 10 minutes. Brave block on Patrick McBride shot in injury-time. 6

Rory Mason: Not on long enough to be rated.

Star Man

Odhran Murdock (Down)

THE Burren clubman was booked before throw-in when he ran into Antrim goalkeeper Mick Byrne at the end of the band parade. There was no further aggro as he settled down to his task in midfield. He slipped marker Cathal Hynds and fisted a point. Always seems to have time on the ball and when Down needed to push on in the second half he got forward and his clever passes set up both Daniel Guinness scores. 8