Allianz FL D2: Down defeat Tipperary
Allianz Football League Division Two
DOWN 2-11 TIPPERARY 1-11
By Orla Bannon at Pairc Esler, Newry
Down won the battle but lost the war, as a first home win of this year's Allianz Football League campaign in Pairc Esler wasn't enough to save them from relegation to Division Three.
Eamonn Burns' side were not in control of their own destiny and Meath's victory over Louth in Drogheda condemned them to a second relegation in three seasons, having lost Division One status in 2016.
Having watched promotion to Division Two elude them in Cavan last Sunday, Tipperary travelled north with a makeshift, disinterested team.
Liam Kearns ran his bench giving starts to Stephen Murray, Luke Boland, Kevin Fahey, Liam Boland and George Hannigan, and they were on the backfoot from the very first minute with Down finding the net after just 14 seconds.
Kevin McKernan won the throw-in, drove the ball in long to Donal O'Hare who won it and easily beat his man, lobbed it across the square where Sean Dornan was waiting to drill the ball into the roof of the net.
Tipp did draw level through Josh Keane and O'Halloran frees before Jack Kennedy's stylish point off the outside of his boot but the second quarter was completely dominated by the home side.
Down were the only team playing with any sense of urgency. They punched roles straight through the heart of the Tipp defence, Conor Maginn, Peter Turley and Caolan Mooney picking off easy scores.
Down led 1-7 to 0-6 at half time but it should have been more. Five wides were part of the reason with Tipp lethargic and lucky not to escape further punishment.
Michael Quinlivan's '45' and Kevin Fahey's point just before the interval were Tipp's sole points in the 20 minutes before half time, though they did at least have a strong breeze at their backs to come for the second half.
Liam Kearns had seen enough and brought on Stephen O'Brien and Conor Sweeney for the second half. O'Brien had an immediate effect in midfield and within 15 minutes of the second half, Tipperary were ahead.
Sweeney and Jack Kennedy frees ignited the fightback with Quinlivan tapping home a scrappy 48th minute goal, after O'Brien failed to connect properly with his fist.
Kennedy's second free edged Tipp in front for the first and only time, but Down settled things down after a ropey third quarter.
Donal O'Hare converted a penalty after Maginn was fouled in the 54th minute and they closed the game out with further points from Mooney and Ryan Johnston.
Tipp lost captain Robbie Kiely to a second yellow card five minutes from the end of an instantly forgettable game.
*Scorers for Down: *Donal O'Hare 1-2 (pen, 2f), Sean Dornan 1-1, Caolan Mooney 0-3, Conor Maginn 0-2, Peter Turley 0-1, Anthony Doherty 0-1 ('45'), Ryan Johnston 0-1
Scorers for Tipperary: Michael Quinlivan 1-1, Jack Kennedy 0-3 (2f), Conor Sweeney 0-3 (1f), Kevin O'Halloran 0-2 (1f), Kevin Fahey 0-1, Josh Keane 0-1 (f).
DOWN: *Shane Harrison; Colm Flanagan, Brendan McArdle, Anthony Doherty; David McKibbin, Niall McParland, Caolan Mooney; Peter Turley, Niall Donnelly; Kevin McKernan, Conor Maginn, Shay Millar; Aaron Morgan, Donal O'Hare, Sean Dornan. *Subs: Ryan Johnston for Morgan (55), Darragh O'Hanlon for Maginn (55), Connaire Harrison for Dornan (57), Conor Poland for Donnelly (63).
TIPPERARY: Ciaran Kenrick; Jodie Sheehan, Paddy Codd, Liam Ryan; Luke Boland, Robbie Kiely, Jimmy Feehan; Stephen O'Brien, David McGrath; Josh Keane, Sean Carey, Brian Fox; Conor Sweeney, Michael Quinlivan, Liam McGrath. Subs: Conor Sweeney for Murray (HT), Stephen O'Brien for Hannigan (HT), Jason Lonergan for Keane (50), Jimmy Feehan for Luke Boland (55), David McGrath for Moloney (55), Ian Fahey for Carey (63).
*Referee: *Barry Cassidy (Derry)