Down get off to the perfect start as they defeat Ulster champions in Newry

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Saturday, February 4th, 2012
Down ran out winners tonight in a close game at Pairc Esler in Newry. The Down faithful showed up in their numbers as the Mournemen began their NFL campaign for 2012 against Division 1 new boys Donegal. Many would have predicted the game to be a tight affair with Down facing up to last year’s Ulster champions and any such predictions proved to be true as only one point separated the sides at the final whistle. Liam Doyle put in a fantastic first half performance hitting a goal and two points. Aidan Brannigan, Aidan Carr and Benny Coulter joined Doyle on the score sheet in the first half. The Mournemen went five points ahead after eight minutes although last year’s All Ireland semi-finalists refused to let that get to them as they fought back to make the deficit only two points at half time. Half time score Down 1-5 Donegal 0-6 Both sides hit points early in the second half however Donegal went on to fire themselves into the lead with another point and a goal from substitute Martin McElhinney. Down responded with four straight points, two of which came from their star man on the night Liam Doyle. Some would argue Down’s points came against the run of play, nevertheless they found themselves back in front at 1-10 to 1-8. Donegal substitute Dermot Molloy fired a point home for the visitors and had the opportunity to salvage a point at the death when he missed a 35 metre free in the fourth minute of injury time. Donegal will feel like they could have got more in Newry but Down stayed strong at the back to give themselves the perfect start to their 2012 NFL campaign. Final score in Newry, Down 1-10 Donegal 1-09.
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