By Mike Fitzpatrick
Rangers 1-13, Down 1-7
Down, having lost two games on the trot, will need some spectacular comeback if they are to qualify for this year’s round of playoffs. Collie Mathers’ men from the Mourne lost out in their first tie against their Ulster neighbors from Fermanagh. Denis Tuomey’s Rangers came out second best in their season opener versus Donegal, so there was quite a bit of pride at stake here.
But what of the game itself?
It was a physical encounter, with both sides going in hard, and a little scuffling going on throughout the tie.
Close in stages, Down had the opportunity’s to forge ahead, and efforts from Gerard O’Hehir and Paul Gannon suggested that they might have done that.
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Rangers, with the excellent Mark Fitzgerald playing his first of two games of the afternoon, stormed ahead. Fitzgerald’s personal tally of four points contributed heavily to the Blues victory, though his team mate Andy Brady was a match for him, also grabbing four.
Dave Phelan’s goal, which flew in past Adrian Markey, proved crucial to the game’s outcome.
Down’s Barry Duff hit back with a goal of his own and a further point, although the day belonged to Rangers.
There’s a long way to go in the season, both teams will be in contention for playoffs come the end of the year. Down, however, must surely begin to put some victories together if they are to get up there with the likes of Rangers and Donegal. Rangers have put the defeat to Donegal firmly out of their minds, and will surely be up there once more at the end of the season.
Down: Adrian Markey, Liam Murray, Chris McManus, Jake Rooney (0-1), Ronan Kearney, Collie Mathers, Marty McGivern, Paul Gannon (0-2), John Markey, Gerard O’Hehir (0-3), Martin Rooney, Martin Millington, Barry Duff (1-1), James Morgan
Rangers: John Williams, Malachy McHugh, Mike Rennicks, Kevin Martin, Thomas Maher (0-1), Tommy Bermingham, Fintan O’Shea, Rory Hussey (0-1), Dave Phelan (1-0), Mark Fitzgerald (0-4), Dave Ryan (0-2), Con Powers (0-1), Andy Brady (0-4), Mike Sheridan, Cormac Murray.
Man of the match: Mark Fitzgerald (Rangers).