Football League Division Two: Down 1-09 0-10 Donegal

Down's Kevin McKernan challenges Odhran MacNiallais at Pairc Esler

Down threw the Football League Division Two race wide open as they handed a first defeat of the campaign to leaders Donegal at Newry.

The Mournemen appeared to be denied a blatant penalty early on after Conor Laverty was hauled down by Donegal keeper Paul Durcan.

However, Niall Madine's goal soon afterwards helped Down lead 1-6 to 0-5 at half-time.

Scores were at a premium in the second half as the Mournemen held on to win.

Laverty was black carded late in the game for a cynical foul on Donegal substitute Patrick McBrearty as the Kilcar man ran through the Down defence.

A point resulted and while Donegal produced further late pressure, great defensive work by Kevin McKernan helped Down keep their noses in front.

Conor Garvey had opened the scoring in the sixth minute after while Down were then infuriated by the non-awarding of the penalty, their mood was soon improved by Madine's goal after a great run by Donal O'Hare.

Donegal's opening score didn't come until Dermot Molloy's 17th-minute point and Down were four clear at the break, helped by a couple of points from the impressive Mark Poland.

Points from Martin McElhinney and Leo McLoone reduced Down's lead to two after the restart only for O'Hare and Garvey efforts to leave four between the sides again.

Neither side was able to score during a 21-minute period in the second half, with Donegal in particular, firing several bad wides.

Sub Neil Gallagher and Colm McFadden did manage late Donegal points but they were unable to get on terms, as Laverty was content to 'take one for the team' as he blatantly fouled McBrearty in the closing stages.

Despite the defeat, Donegal remain on top of Division 2 but they have been joined on seven points by the Mournemen and Ulster champions Monaghan, while Meath and Armagh are also not out of contention on five points.

Allianz Football League results

Saturday 15 March

Division Two

Armagh 0-10 1-17 Monaghan

Laois 1-09 0-15 Meath

Sunday 16 March

Division One

Derry 1-16 0-13 Dublin

Kildare 0-15 2-15 Kerry

Mayo 4-12 2-14 Cork

Tyrone 2-23 1-12 Westmeath

Division Two

Down 1-09 0-10 Donegal

Louth 2-09 0-15 Galway

Division Three

Limerick 1-06 0-18 Fermanagh

Longford 0-10 1-09 Cavan

Roscommon 3-19 2-04 Offaly

Wexford 2-12 1-12 Sligo

Division Four

Carlow 1-11 1-25 Wicklow

Tipperary 3-20 1-17 Antrim

Hurling League

Division 1A

Galway 3-16 1-19 Tipperary

Clare 5-18 0-20 Waterford

Division 1B

Antrim 1-12 0-18 Cork

Wexford 2-21 1-18 Laois

Offaly 2-15 2-15 Limerick

Division 2A

Kerry 3-14 0-17 Carlow

Kildare 1-14 3-11 Westmeath

Division 2B

Fingal 2-10 4-19 Down

Mayo 0-09 0-15 Wicklow

Armagh 3-09 1-21 Meath

Division 3A

Fermanagh 0-10 4-20 Roscommon

Donegal 3-16 1-07 Monaghan

Louth 3-11 1-10 Longford

Division 3B

Leitrim 2-11 2-09 Sligo