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Down 3-16 Louth 0-09

Updated: Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 18:04 | Comments

Down's Brendan McArdle is put under pressure
Down's Brendan McArdle is put under pressure

Down remain unbeaten in Allianz Football League Division Two following their 3-16 to 0-9 win over Louth at Pairc Esler.

Donal O’Hare helped himself to a 1-8 haul as Down coasted to the break with a 1-11 to 0-2 advantage.

Benny Coulter came off the bench to rifle home two goals, and Louth finished with 14 men following Brian White’s second booking.

Conor Maginn netted a fourth, and O’Hare finished the game with 1-10 to his credit.

Niall Madine used his strength and direct running to claim two early points as the Mourne men eased ahead, but it was Mark Poland who was conducting the orchestra, creating the openings for his colleagues with his vision and range of passing.

By the eighth minute the home side had gone four ahead, courtesy of a couple of Donal O’Hare scores.

Paddy Keenan’s promptings failed to ignite the Wee County’s challenge, the absence of a cutting edge up front ensuring their opponents comfortably kept their noses in front.

James McCartan’s side stretched the lead to six with a stylish effort from the hard-working Kevin McKernan, sliced over off the outside of his right boot.

Moments later Down were out of sight as O’Hare palmed Jerome Johnston’s return pass to the net for a 1-6 to 0-0 advantage.

O’Hare curled over another free to bring his tally to 1-5, and the Leinster men were still seeking their first score, which eventually arrived in the 22nd minute, off the right boot of veteran Darren Clarke.

O’Hare continued to hit the target unerringly from placed balls, and while Louth did have their chances, they were unable to add to the two points contributed by Clarke before he was forced out of the game by injury.

Down led by 1-11 to 0-2 at the interval, and pushed on with points from Johnston and Poland in the opening moments of the second half.

Colm Judge managed to pull back a couple of Louth points from frees, but O’Hare was soon on target again.

The Wee County enjoyed the better of the exchanges in the third quarter, cutting the gap with two superbly struck long range frees from Declan Byrne, while Brian White launched a long range missile between the posts as well.

But there was to be no turning point, as Down turned the screw with three goals in the final 13 minutes.

Former All-Star Coulter was sprung from the bench, and in no time he had reminded Mourne fans of his genius, finishing to the net from Poland’s assist.

Coulter punctured Louth’s already flagging morale with another brilliant strike, and in stoppage time, he set up his side’s fourth goal for Conor Maginn.

Down: S Harrison, D McCartan, B McArdle, O Costello, R Boyle, A Carr, C Garvey, P Turley, R Mallon, K McKernan (0-01), M Poland (0-01), C Maginn (1-00), D O'Hare (1-10, 0-09f), N Madine (0-02), J Johnston (0-01, f).

Substitutes: D Rooney for Boyle (h-t), B Coulter (2-00) for Madine (54), P Fitzpatrick (0-o1) for Mallon (58), C Lavery for McKernan (58), C O’Hare for Poland (61), M Lively for Garvey (62)

Louth: Gallagher, G Hoey, D Finnegan, K McLoughlin, J O'Brien, P Reilly, L Shevlin, P Keenan, Duffy, A Reid, C Judge (0-02, 2f), D Byrne (0-03, 2f), A McDonnell, D Clarke (0-02, 1f), D Maguire.

Substitutes: B Donnelly for Duffy (21), B White (0-01) for Clarke (24), D Crilly for Reilly (24), K Rodgers (0-01, f) for Judge (50), S Campbell for Reid (50), J Stewart for Hoey (63)

Referee: M Higgins (Fermanagh).

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