Derry safe as Down face play-off

Paul Braniff's brilliance still didn't prove enough for Down

Derry hurlers retained their Division 2A status as they defeated Kerry as relegation threatened Down were beaten by Westmeath at Newry.

The Oak Leafers led 0-9 to 1-2 at half-time at Celtic Park and with Kevin Hinphey and Paddy Henry among the scorers, held on to win 0-15 to 1-7.

Danny Toner and Conor Mageean scored Down's goals as they were edged out 3-21 to 2-20 by Westmeath at Newry.

Even victory would have not prevented Down from facing a relegation play-off.

The Mourne County will play Wicklow in the play-off in a game which is expected to take place in two weeks.

Paul Braniff's impressive display in open play after his move from full-forward to centre half-forward will give manager Gerard Monan hope for the game against Wicklow.

Braniff also produced some accurate free-taking for the Mourne county.

Down struggled early on as Westmeath moved into a 0-8 to 0-3 lead.

However, Toner's goal helped Down draw level at 1-9 to 0-12 by the interval.

Westmeath regained the lead when Dan Carthy smashed in a goal just after the break but Down responded with four unanswered points to lead 1-15 to 1-14.

Down moved ahead again as a brilliant catch by Donal Hughes set up a goal for Conal Mageean only for Niall O'Brien to rattle the net at the other end a minute later.

The sides were level at 2-19 apiece with a couple of minutes left but Eoin Price's goal helped Westmeath edge the verdict.

Top Stories