Down’s minors keep hopes alive of reaching Ulster knock-out stages

Tyrone must wait on the outcome of the final games to see if they go through as group winners

St. Patrick's Liam Blaney  and Rathmore’s Rory McErlean  during the MacLarnon Cup Semi Final game at Coláiste Feirste in Belfast.
Liam Blaney (right) scored one of Down's goals in the win over Donegal. Picture: Colm Lenaghan

Electric Ireland Ulster MFC Group A, round four

Down 3-9 Donegal 1-6

TWO goals from Mayobridge’s Darragh Poland re-ignited Down’s prospects of reaching the knock-out stages as they comfortably beat Donegal at Páirc Esler.

Donegal were on top early but failed to get the scoreboard ticking and it was the home side who opened the scoring with a point from Paul McGovern in the ninth minute.

Poland’s first goal came four minutes later and Barra McEvoy added a point to give the Mourne side a 1-2 to 0-0 lead.

Colm O’Dochairtaigh brought the visitors back into it with a goal on 20 minutes and Conor McCahill then pointed to make it a one-point game, but three points in a row gave Down a 1-5 to 1-1 at the break.

The lead was back to a point when Kalvin McLaughlin and from Turlough Carr (two) pointed but again Down responded superbly with a point and a goal from Carryduff’s Liam Blaney either side of Poland’s second goal and a McEvoy free to give them an insurmountable 3-7 to 1-4 lead 15 minutes into the second period.

That was game over and both sides added two points each.

Tyrone 4-13 Monaghan 0-10

THE one semi-final place available remains up for grabs, with Donegal, Tyrone and Monaghan still in contention.

It’s out of the hands of Tyrone, who completed their round-robin series with this resounding win over previously unbeaten Monaghan at Ardboe.

A second-half goal-rush saw the home side hit the net four times to take over at the top of the table. Now they anxiously await the outcome of next Saturday’s clash of Donegal and Monaghan, though they have at least secured a quarter-final tie to look forward to.

Tyrone had built up a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the end of the opening quarter, with Lorcan McMurray, Peter Colton and Liam McGeary all on target.

Killian Kearns added to Cian Rafferty’s early free as Monaghan battled to close the gap, but further scores from Shea McDermott and Enda Donaghy had Tyrone ahead by 0-9 to 0-4 at the interval.

Sean Óg Teague palmed home the opening goal from Sean Corry’s cross three minutes into the second half, and Shea McDermott raced through to plant a shot in the bottom corner of the net eight minutes later.

Monaghan were chasing the game, and pulled back scores through Kearns and Rafferty, but when possession was lost with goalkeeper John Flanagan stranded 60 metres from goal, Jamie Concannon delightfully lobbed a third goal.

The Farney lads battled to the end, with Andrew Stewart landing a fine score, but as they committed extra men forward in the closing stages, they were caught on the break for a fourth Tyrone goal, scored by substitute Darren McAnespie.

Round five

Saturday, May 4

Donegal v Monaghan (Páirc Seán Mac Cumhaill)

Down v Fermanagh (Páirc Esler)