Dublin defeated again

Down 0-15 Dublin 1-10

Down 0-15 Dublin 1-10

All-Ireland champions Dublin fell to their second Division 1 loss as Down got the better of them in Newry this afternoon.

Free-taker Aidan Carr was responsible for half of the Mourne men’s tally, moving them 0-8 to 0-4 ahead by the interval.

Kevin McManamon’s 42nd-minute goal got the Dubs sparking again, and Barry Cahill had a second goal ruled out for an earlier infringement.

But Down were the slicker outfit on show with Ambrose Rogers and Kevin McKernan leading by example.

James McCartan's men have now guaranteed their place in the top flight for next season, and moved into second place in the standings behind front runners Kerry.

Dublin manager Paul Gilroy made four changes to the side that throttled Armagh last time out, with Johnny Cooper making his bow at left corner back.

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton, McManamon and late call-up Bryan Cullen, who came in for Eoghan O'Gara, were also added to the Metropolitans' starting line-up.

Carr, Down's man-of-the-match in their defeat of Mayo, converted two early frees to add to points from play from Conor Laverty and Danny Hughes.

Hughes was causing problems for the Dublin defence, winning one of Carr's successful frees and then launching over the hosts' fourth point for a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.

Alan Brogan had scored Dublin's opener, linking up with McManamon, and Michael Darragh Macauley, who was beaten by Hughes for his point, redeemed himself by punching over the Dubs' second point after 11 minutes.

Two more frees from the assured Carr put four points between the sides and Dublin had to wait until the 25th minute for their third point from McManamon, after Cluxton had dropped a long range effort short of the target.

It was a very competitive contest with both sets of players driving forward in support of their forwards. The tackling was hard but fair on most occasions, although referee Cormac Reilly did book six players over the course of the opening 35 minutes.

Diarmuid Connolly and Mark Poland swapped points before Aidan Brannigan and Alan Brogan both saw yellow for an off-the-ball incident and Connolly followed them into the referee's book for a clash with Conor Garvey.

Poland had the final say of the half on the scoreboard, taking a lovely pass from Dan Gordon to lob over Down's eighth point of the day and give them a double scores lead for the second half.

The margin was whittled down to three points immediately after the resumption with Brogan finding his range for his second point.

Keen to move through the gears after a lacklustre effort with the wind at their backs, Dublin threatened Down's goal with Connolly drawing a terrific reflex save out of goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh.

Carr and McKernan added a brace to Down's total, but that good work was undone when McManamon swooped for a well-taken goal and suddenly the Dubs were just 0-10 to 1-5 adrift.

It was a critical point in the game and Down really stepped up to the mark over the next five minutes. There was some superb fielding from Gordon who also kicked a fine point and Niall McParland added his name to the scoresheet before Benny Coulter was introduced.

Coulter quickly got into his stride, nudging over a crisply-struck point to give Down some breathing space again at 0-13 to 1-5.

At the other end, Dublin stepped up their goal hunt and Paul Brogan was unfortunate when he stepped out over the end-line before passing for substitute Cahill to find the net.

With newcomer Cooper now slotting in at wing back, Dublin drove forward in greater numbers and were rewarded with a '45' from Cluxton, a free from Connolly and points from play from Eamon Fennell and Macauley.

The latter's effort just cleared the crossbar as he bore down on McVeigh's goal.

But Gilroy's charges were clearly missing the ball-winning ability of an in-form O'Gara up front, and Down had done enough to take the spoils with McKernan and the excellent Rogers claiming their final two points.

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