Ulster Under-20 Football Championship: Down 4-15 Antrim 3-13
|Ulster Under-20 Football Championship: Down 4-15 Antrim 3-13|
|Down scorers: C McCrickard 2-2, O McCabe 1-2, Pierce Laverty 1-1, D Guinness 0-4, J Connery, L Kerr 0-2 each, G McKibben, A Devlin 0-1 each.|
|Antrim scorers: K Small 1-3 (0-3f), E Fyffe (1-0pen), L Quinn (0-2f) 1-2 each, J Smith 0-2, D McErlain, T McAteer, E McCabe, D Smith 0-1 each.|
Down overcame Antrim by five points in a refreshingly open Ulster Under-20 Football Championship quarter-final.
With their entire 4-15 total at Pairc Esler coming from play, the Mourne lads just about deserved the win over an equally attack-minded Saffron side.
Conor McCrickard (2), Owen McCabe and Pierce Laverty scored Down's goals.
Antrim, who netted through Kevin Small, Liam Quinn and an Eamonn Fyffe penalty, led 2-8 to 2-6 at half-time but Down were six up early in the second half.
In Friday's quarter-finals, Tyrone beat Monaghan and Armagh saw off Fermanagh.
Down and Antrim were level at 0-5 each at the end of the opening quarter of Saturday's game in Newry - but the game then exploded into life with three goals in the space of 90 seconds.
Small finished off a neat Antrim move with a superb finish, but Down responded on the double, with McCrickard and McCabe finishing to the net at the other end.
The Saffrons grabbed another goal with Fyffe's 25th-minute penalty.
Less than a minute into the second half, Laverty smashed home a third Down goal, and when Aaron Devlin landed a point, all six of their attackers had scored.
Down now led by six, but in another twist, Quinn fired in a delightful goal to narrow the gap to a single point.
And when McCrickard grabbed his second, Conor Deegan's side had the cushion which helped them see out the game.
Down: D Ross; B Gallen, F McIlroy, A Lynch; C Cox, O McConvey, S Annett; L Middleton, J Connery; O McCabe, P Laverty, D Guinness; A Devlin, C McCrickard, G McKibben.
Subs: J McCartan for Connery (HT), L Kerr for Devlin (40), R Martin for Gallen (43), R Fegan for McCabe (56), C Gorman for McKibben (59).
Antrim: C Walsh; M Hamill, S Kelly, A Mulholland; E McCabe, D McCormick, P McCormick; J Smith, D Smith; E Nagle, T McAteer, D McErlain; K Small, E Fyffe, L Quinn.
Subs: M McNamee for Hamill (24), P Finnegan for Kelly (46), M Hagan for J Smith (52), R Kelly for Small (56), D Smith for McErlain (60)
Referee: M Farrelly (Cavan).