Advertisement

Allianz Football League: Down beat Clare to clinch promotion as Antrim avoid drop

Down's Liam Kerr attempts to evade Clare's Cormac Murphy
Down only led 1-7 to 1-4 at half-time but took control in the second half at Newry to seal promotion to Division Two

Down held their nerve to secure promotion to Division Two of the Allianz Football League by beating Clare 3-15 to 1-10 at Pairc Esler.

An early Ceilum Doherty goal helped Down lead 1-2 to 0-0 but Aaron Griffin netted for Clare as they only trailed by three at half-time.

However an Odhran Murdock penalty and Danny Magill strike a minute later put Down in total control.

Antrim avoided the drop to Division Three by beating Wicklow 1-14 to 0-14.

Throughout the first half in Newry, Down always seemed to be the stronger of the two teams but their lack of end product at times ensured it was close at half-time as they only led 1-7 to 1-4.

However, in the space of one second-half minute, Down put the game to bed.

Odhran Murdock rolled a penalty into the bottom corner, before the home side overturned the resulting kick out and worked it to Danny Magill, who rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net to make it 3-10 to 1-5.

From there, Down saw out the lead comfortably to set up a Division Three Final next weekend against Westmeath, who also go up to Division Two despite their 1-14 to 0-11 defeat by Sligo.

The Mourne County failed to get out of Division Three last year and also lost the Tailteann Cup final in Conor Laverty's first season in charge but this victory sees Down football tangibly moving in the right direction once again.

Antrim's Paddy McBride
Paddy McBride's second-half points helped Antrim preserve their Division Three status as the defeated Wicklow at Corrigan Park

Antrim remain in Division Three as their 1-14 to 0-14 win over Wicklow at Corrigan Park condemned Oisin McConville's side to the drop.

It was a nervy second half for the home support, but when it was needed, Paddy McBride took the game by the scruff for the Saffrons with his four points pivotal.

Antrim led 1-7 to 0-6 at the half when Aghagallon's Ruairi McCann - making his first appearance in the League - rose high to finish at close range from Eunan Walsh's dropping ball in stoppage time.

Prior to that, Antrim had made the better start with Ryan McQuillan kicking a trio of points as they led by three on a couple of occasions but Wicklow grew into it to get to within one before McCann struck.

Wicklow began the second period well, but then enter McBride who kicked beauties either side of one from Ronan Boyle.

Antrim led by six at one stage, but Wicklow wouldn't go away as Kevin Quinn led the charge.

The Garden County hit five of the next six to get to within one late on, but then came McCann's next big play as he got on the end of a long ball to win a free as Malachy Stone was red-carded for his challenge.

McBride kicked the free and after Quinn landed his seventh of the day, the St John's man hit the insurance score to see Antrim home.

Allianz Football League: Division Three results - Sunday, 24 March

Antrim 1-14 Wicklow 0-14

Down 3-15 Clare 1-10

Offaly 1-10 Limerick 0-12

Sligo 1-14 Westmeath 0-11