McCartan wary of Cork threat

Down had too much scoring power for Laois and consigned the hosts to Division 2 for next year.

In the process, the Ulster men booked a place in the Division 1 semi-final where they will face Cork, but manager James McCartan was regarding that prospect as a double-edged sword.

“Cork have been handing us fairly heavy defeats over the past wee while, so sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for,” said McCartan.

“We’ve lost a few players today through injury. Dan Gordon has to have an x-ray on his foot and he would be a key player for us, and Neil McParland picked up an injury too. Sometimes when you get into semi-finals, the extra games you have help you but you leave yourself open to injuries and suspensions.

“We played in flashes but to be honest it was disappointing because our execution wasn’t there. The amount of times we were nearly scoring goals… but the fact that we are putting ourselves in that position is good. We got the two goals, which is great but we should have had more than that.”

Conor Laverty bagged the first major early on and general, Down were much more clinical in the attacking department. Indeed, Laois clocked up nine wides alone in the opening period.

They began the second half better with a point from Colm Begley but Benny Coulter stuck for 1-1 in the space of five minutes, the goal coming as a result of good work by Laverty and Aidan Carr.

Laois managed to reduce the deficit to four points but Down finished strongly with the last three points to confirm their Rebels date, and Laois’ fate.

“In the first 20 minutes the scoreline was flattering us,” concluded McCartan.

“It was 1-4 to 0-4 and Laois should have been at least level or in front at that stage. But in the second half we looked more comfortable and the goals were the real difference and left them chasing the game.”

Scorers for Down: B Coulter 1-1, A McConville 0-3 (2fs), C Laverty 1-0, K Quinn, A Carr (f) 0-2 each, C Garvey, A Rogers, M Poland 0-1 each.

Scorers for Laois: G Walsh 0-2 (1f, 45), C Boyle, B Quigley, R Munnelly, C Begley, P Cahillane, C Kelly (f), D Conway (f), D O’Connor 0-1 each.

DOWN: B McVeigh; D McCartan, D Gordon, A Branagan; N McParland, B McArdle, C Garvey; A Rogers, K King; K McKernan, M Poland, A Carr; A McConville, B Coulter, C Laverty.

Subs: K Quinn for McParland (inj. 32), D Turley for Gordon (inj. 44), N Brannigan for Branagan (66), M Miskelly for Laverty (71).

LAOIS: E Culliton; C Healy, M Timmons, K Lillis; K Meaney, P O’Leary, C Boyle; B Quigley, J O’Loughlin; B Sheehan, R Munnelly, D Strong; C Begley, P Clancy, G Walsh.

Subs: D O’Connor for Timmons inj (25), P Cahillane for Walsh (ht), D Conway for Munnelly (53), C Kelly for Sheehan (60), S Conroy for Clancy (71).

Referee: S Doyle (Wexford).

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