Down go two points clear at top of Division 2

Down 0-12 Meath 0-8

NFL DIVISION 2

James McCartan’s Down side beat Meath in Newry to go two points clear at the top of NFL Division 2.

The Royals, with their midfield gradually getting to grips with the game, were still in the hunt at half-time - trailing by 0-6 to 0-5.

They did well to bounce back from an early four-point deficit as McCartan's men opened well.

Down's Martin Clarke and Paul McComiskey pointed early on, continuing where they left off against Kildare, whereas Meath's David Bray, Cian Ward and Jamie Queeney struggled for good quality possession.

Queeney's threat was largely nullified by Down's decision to drop wing back James Colgan back to mark him, and the game developed into a dour battle.

Meath struggled to break down Down's fortified defence and the visitors' poor distribution and ineffective short hand-passing allowed Down to seize control early in the second period.

Both Ward and Down’s Danny Hughes missed goal-scoring chances, but John Clarke, who was particularly effective, and Ambrose Rodgers landed some well-taken points as the Mourne men moved three points clear.

Meath also contributed to their own downfall by kicking four shots short of the target, allowing Down some leeway when they may have been punished on another day.

McCartan said afterwards: "There were a lot of mistakes and missed chances from both sides.

"Meath asked a lot of us in terms of character and we responded well."

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