Late Guinness goal helps Down secure dramatic two-point win over Longford

James Guinness
Guinness scored the goal which won the game for Down

Down maintained their hopes of securing All-Ireland tier one status with a dramatic two-point victory over Longford at Pairc Esler.

A late James Guinness goal helped the Mourne County to a 2-13 to 1-14 win in a tense Division Three encounter.

After the hosts were 0-9 to 0-7 in front at the break, Longford's Liam Connerton scored the game's first goal before Corey Quinn responded for Down.

It is a second win in four league outings for Paddy Tally's men.

The result takes them to five points for the season, level with Longford and three behind Division Three leaders Cork, who secured an away win over Tipperary on Saturday night.

Guinness's winning goal came in the 69th minute as he made 60 metres to collect a pass before going through and finishing well past visiting goalkeeper Paddy Collum.

That gave Down a three-point margin which was reduced to two by a late Daniel Mimnagh point, his second of the match, but the home side would not be denied.

Liam Connerton
Connerton brought Longford back into the game with his second-half goal

In a tight opening half in Newry, both sides scored two points in the first five minutes and it was the 25th minute before there was a two-point gap in the scoreline for the first time.

Down midfielder Johnny Flynn grabbed two impressive scores from distance before a Donal O'Hare strike made it 0-6 to 0-4 to Tally's men.

Liam Kerr had the best goalscoring chance of the half in injury-time, but his close-range effort was saved well by Collum, who had earlier scored a point from a 45.

Barry O'Hagan reacted well to claim a point from the rebound to give the Mourne County a 0-9 to 0-7 lead at half-time.

They had opened up a 0-11 to 0-7 lead after the restart before Connerton got the visitors back into the game with a 52nd minute goal.

A Dessie Reynolds point a minute later levelled the scoreline and a further score by Darren Gallagher changed the dynamic of the game as Longford took the lead.

Paddy Tally
Down boss Paddy Tally praised his two goalscorers

Quinn's goal came on 62 minutes, just after O'Hagan had equalised with a free, and Longford hit back with two points before Guinness's crucial goal.

What they said

Paddy Tally, Down manager: "That was an important win and an important two points for us. We know we need to win our home games and it puts us above Longford on the head-to-head in the league table.

"Our two goals came at good times for us. Corey showed great composure for the first one and James's goal really was a super strike. We see him do that a lot in training, he has that ability and natural pace - his finish was excellent.

"There were a few things that happened in our game that maybe weren't so good, but the goals were the two star things that pulled us through.

"We are still on a development path with this team, with a lot of young lads who are in the early stages of their inter-county career. Ultimately, though, the aim for us is to win promotion. It would be great to see us compete at the higher division."

Down: R Burns; S Annett, P Murdock, R McAleenan; G Collins, D O'Hagan, B McArdle; J Flynn, D Guinness; B O'Hagan, K McKenna, L Kerr; D O'Hare, A Morgan, C Quinn.

Longford: P Colum, P Fox, A Farrell, B O'Farrell, I O'Sullivan, G Rogers, C Smyth, D Gallagher, K Diffley, M Quinn, D McElliott, D Reynolds, D Doherty, L Connerton, O Kenny.

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