Down 4-18 Leitrim 0-9
Down scored their biggest ever win in the All-Ireland qualifiers when they dished out a drubbing to an understrength Leitrim side at Pairc Esler in Newry.
Down were in control from start to finish as they cantered to a facile victory.
All six Down forwards found the range by the interval and they were well on their way to victory when they led by 2-10 to 0-4 at the break.
Leitrim made a game of it early and two pointed frees from Emlyn Mulligan left 0-3 to 0-2 after seven minutes.
But Down’s dominance was becoming more apparent and Conor Laverty struck for the opening goal two minutes later just after adding a point to lead by 1-4 to 0-2.
Down’s good passing was creating plenty of chances and Mark Poland, Donal O’Hare hit points.
Then Down pounced again when Leitrim failed to clear their lines and Benny Coulter set up full-forward Niall Madine and he drilled home their second goal after 23 minutes.
Conor Maginn and O’Hare added points and Coulter became their sixth forward when he found the range four minutes from the break.
Wing-back Sean McWeeney got Leitrim’s first point from play and it took a superb reflex save from Down goalkeeper Michael Cunningham to deny a fisted effort from Robbie Lowe.
Cunningham then went forward moments later and made no mistake with a 45 to leave Down twelve points ahead at the break.
Down did not relent after the restart and Laverty got his second goal of the game after 42 minutes when he fisted home after another good passing movement.
Leitrim, as always, battled away but never looked like eating into the big Down lead with Emlyn Mulligan and Gary Reynolds finding the range.
Down picked off scores at will and it was no surprise when they again rattled the net, with substitute Damien Turkey finishing from close range going into final quarter as they eased their way into the next round.
Down: C Laverty 2-4; D O’Hare 0-4 (0-3f); N Madine 1-0, D Turley 1-0; B Coulter 0-2; L Doyle 0-2 (0-2f); M Poland 0-2; K McKernan 0-1; M Cunningham 0-1 (0-1f); D Gordon 0-1; C Maginn 0-1.
Leitrim: E Mulligan 0-5 (0-4f); S McWeeney 0-1; G Reynolds 0-1; R Lowe 0-1; N Moore 0-1.
Down: M Cunningham; D O’Hagan, N Donnelly, D McCartan (O Costello 51); K McKernan, C Garvey (A Carr 55), C McCartan; D Gordon, P Turley (C Toner 43); B Coulter (D Turley 50), C Maginn, M Poland; D O’Hare (L Doyle 40), N Madine (E McCartan 44), C Laverty.
Leitrim: P Farrelly; A Wynne, D Wrynn, B McWeeney; B Prior, Gary Reynolds, S McWeeney; D Sweeney, D Moran (M McWeeney 44); A McLoughlin (F Clancy 35), E Mulligan, G Hickey (A Hickey 64); R Cox (C Conlon 58), R Lowe (Gavin Reynolds 57), K Conlon.
Referee: A Noland (Wicklow).