Down scored six of the last seven points to snatch a 1-17 to 1-16 victory over Galway today to move to the top of what has become a tight Allianz Football League Division 2 table.
Paul Devlin was the hero when he lofted over a 45m-free with the last kick of the game.
Jim McCorry’s crew had played second fiddle for most of the game in Páirc Esler as Galway used a strong wind to establish a six-point lead at half time.
A sixth-minute goal from Patrick Sweeney sent them on their way, but Down goalkeeper Stephen Kane was magnificent and prevented the visitors from breaching his defences on numerous occasions.
Danny Cummins scored three early points as Fiontán Ó Curraoin helped provide the Galway forwards with a solid platform.
It was 1-10 to 0-7 at half time but Donal O’Hare had a goal early in the second half, slotting home the rebound after his 43rd-minute penalty had been saved by Manus Breathnach.
Galway’s riposte was outstanding into the teeth of the elements, with Aidan Varley, Sean Denvir and Damien Comer putting them clear.
Down found another gear though, with Conor Laverty, former AFL man Caolan Mooney and Kevin McKernan amongst the scorers as the Mournemen hit the front.
Paul Conroy levelled in the second minute of injury time, but Devlin showed his composure to ensure the home contingent took the honours.
It was a home win too for Laois as they inflicted a first defeat on high-flying Roscommon, while enjoying success for the first time in the campaign.
Laois flew out of the traps with three points in the first four minutes and were actually four clear by the time Roscommon got off the mark with a lovely outside-of-the-boot score from Ciarán Murtagh in the 11th minute.
It was a wonderful start, with Ross Munnelly (free), Darren Strong and Conor Boyle raising white flags before Niall Donoher followed a classy chip-lift on the run with a neat finish.
Murtagh’s point settled the visitors though and he followed up with an almost identical score four minutes later. Donie Shine slotted a free soon after and Roscommon were back in the game.
Indeed, they looked to have grasped the initiative when drawing level but a well-struck 45 by Evan O’Carroll and a wonderful point from a tight angle by Munnelly put Ó Flatharta’s men 0-9 to 0-7 ahead at half time.
Roscommon enjoyed the lightning start to the second half, with three quick points including two from the magnificent Cathal Cregg to draw level.
It was to prove a false dawn though as Laois registered the next five scores, including a brilliantly-finished goal by Donoher in the 48th minute to open a six-point gap.
Laois goalie Graham Brody did make a key save from Murtagh around this period as well.
Cregg was almost unmarkable though and he kicked three points in as many minutes, including one after a spectacular soaring catch.
Laois steadied the ship though and after kicking two brilliant points, substitute Paul Kingston took a pass from the tireless Evan O’Carroll to seal the deal with his side’s second goal in the 70th minute.