Hurling & Camogie

Down bounce back from Antrim defeat with win over Offaly

Niamh Mallon scored 0-8 in Down's win over Offaly in Liatroim
Niamh Mallon scored 0-8 in Down's win over Offaly in Liatroim

Very Ireland National Camogie League Division 1B: Down 0-13 Offaly 0-9

DOWN needed a response to last week’s second half fade out in Portglenone and they got it with a five-point victory over Offaly in Liatroim. However it probably was a little more comfortable than the final scoreline appears.

Catherine McGourty missed last week’s game due to a school ski trip. She was commanding between the sticks while Dearbhla Magee and the Savage sisters got on top of Offaly’s dangerous half-forwards. Up front Niamh Mallon and Sara Louise Graffin again hit the target at regular intervals.

Offaly had just one other scorer apart from free-taker Siobhán Flannery and that gives some indication of the dominance of Down’s defence.

There were two points each in the opening four minutes and then Down took the lead with Blanaid Savage coming through from half-back and Niamh Mallon opening her account with a fine score in the sixth minute.

It was going to be difficult to maintain that pace however and Offaly were the first to flag as Down pushed on with three more scores from Mallon to lead by 0-7 to 0-3 after 18 minutes.

Flannery hit back with two frees for Offaly, but Mallon had the final say of the half with her fifth score and third from a free, after being hauled down when going through for goal.

Down didn’t add to their half-time lead for 12 minutes of the second half, but Flannery had only scored once in the meantime.

Sara Louise Graffin scored her third point in between two Flannery frees at the start of the fourth quarter, when the game was still in the melting pot. However late points from sub Ciara Fitzsimons and top-scorer Mallon closed out victory for Down who travel to Wexford on Saturday for round three.

Wexford came out worst in the battle of the south east on Saturday losing by 12 points to Waterford who look to be the team to beat in the Division.

Down: N Mallon (0-8, 0-4 frees), SL Graffin (0-3), B Savage (0-1), C Fitzsimons (0-1)

Offaly: S Flannery (0-8, 0-6 frees), L Gorman (0-1)