Down in cruise control with 16-point victory over Limerick
Down bagged their second Division 3 victory on Saturday evening at Pairc Esler with a comfortable 3-16 to 0-9 drubbing of Limerick.
Two of those goals came from first half spot kicks converted confidently by Odhran Murdock , either side of a goal from the superb Daniel Guinness.
Limerick got off to a promising start, scoring the first two points of the game with a terrific opener from Robbie Childs in the second minute and Peter Nash converting a free shortly after. They came close to raising a green flag minutes later but Down netminder John O'Hare denied Cillian Fahy a close-range goal.
“There was a bit of a breeze in the first half, Limerick came at us pretty hard in the first 10 minutes.,” Down captain Pierce Laverty told the Newry Reporter after the game.
“It probably took us a wee while to get settled and get our hands on the ball. But we got a wee bit of composure in the second and third quarters and we came out alright in the end.”
After that shaky early spell, Conor Laverty's men settled into the game and the onslaught began in earnest.
Their first maximum came from the penalty spot when Jonny Flynn, who was through for goal, was pulled back and Murdock made no mistake, drilling into the roof of the net.
Midway through the half, Down Oisin Savage was cutting inside for a point. He dropped the ball but recovered well, getting his pass away to Guinness who slammed home a goal from the edge of the square and on 23 minutes another green flag was raised. Colm McSweeney was black carded for dragging Liam Kerr back in the square and Murdock replicated his first penalty with a second in exactly same spot.
“I suppose if we hadn't got the penalties we were coming through on goal anyway so it's good to come in and be creating those opportunities and getting into those positions,” reflected Laverty.
Down led 3-8 to 0-5 at the break and the writing was on the wall.
Limerick were held to just three more points, while Havern knocked over four more frees and a brace of points from Shealan Johnston and a beauty swung effortlessly over the bar from distance by Murdock, finished the scoring at 3-16 to 0-9.
The 16-point margin of victory is a big boost for Down too. They top the table at the moment with a +21 points difference, something that might come into play come crunch time.
“Scoring difference definitely comes into it,” said Laverty.
“That's something we lost out on last year. We finished joint second and the scoring difference is what stopped us from going up. That's what it comes down to so if you get a bit of a lead in games you want to be pushing on and getting the score up there.
There’s a break in the league next week, giving both sides time to recover before Down travel to Corrigan Park to take on Antrim in the third round on Sunday February 18.
“I'll try and recover early this week and then get back to work,” said the Down captain.
"It definitely takes it's toll on the body, especially when you're playing 70 plus minutes every week. Fatigue comes into play and the aches and niggles can be turned into something more so it's key to try to recover as much as you can between matches. When you go from club football into the national league those extra minutes feel like a lifetime sometimes but we're just happy with the win today. You just have to have the legs to do it and we're a very fit team.”
Full match report and reaction in this weeks Newry Reporter in shops Wednesday February 7