By Mike Fitzpatrick
Rangers 2-11, Down 0-13
Rangers eventually overcame the threat of Down in this pulsating junior football Div. A encounter Sunday at Gaelic Park. It was an evenly sided contest, with Rangers occasionally going ahead, only to find that Down would claw their way back to level the tie.
Rangers started off on a stronger footing, with the two Davids, Ryan and Phelan, hitting a couple of points over the bar for their side. They continued this form throughout the first half, with both hitting three points each.
Down replied thanks to Collie Mathers, James Morgan and Colm McGarvey to bring Down back into the fray.
Rangers went four points clear, however, and looked to be cruising toward the halftime break, but a four-point burst from the Down attack leveled the tie and Rangers clearly had a fight on their hands.
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A fine performance from Down’s Marty McGivern at cornerback prevented further Rangers scores, with the wily Ulster man intercepting on a number of moves which could easily have led to Rangers storming in front. As it happened, the two sides entered the break on something of an even keel, with neither side managing to hold onto a substantial lead.
The second half opened with Rangers doing more of the attacking than their counterparts and moving in front thanks to points from Mark Fitzgerald, who hit a total of four points for his side.
Paul Singleton replied for Down, but a goal from Phelan put Rangers in the driving seat, and toward the latter stages of the contest, it was Rangers who attacked more successfully.
Malachy McHugh, finding himself in strange territory up front for Rangers, hit a late point for his team, and in the final seconds, Sheridan latched onto a great pass from McHugh to hit a point for Rangers to give Denis Tuomey’s men a four point victory.
Rangers: John Williams, Malachy McHugh (0-1), Mike Rennicks, Phil Bermingham, Seamus Kiernan, Tom Bermingham, Tom Maher, Mick Cosgrove, Mike Bishop, Dave Ryan (0-4), Dave Phelan (2-1), Mike Sheridan (0-1), Mark Fitzgerald (0-4), Sean Concannon, John Murphy. Subs: Joe Moloney, John Cregan.
Down: Paul Morgan, Liam Murray, James Power, Marty McGivern, Ronan Kearney, Peter Devlin, Jake Rooney, Collie Mathers (0-4), James Morgan (0-1), Martin Middleton, Kieran McGarvey, Paul Keague, Chris McManus, Colm McGarvey (0-4), Padraig Tunney (0-1). Subs: Paul Singleton (0-3).