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Jerome Johnston hit the winner for Down against Westmeath in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League. 
Jerome Johnston hit the winner for Down against Westmeath in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League. 

Allianz FL D3: Down pip Westmeath

Allianz NFL Division Three


For the second week in a row Down claimed victory in added-time time as Jerome Johnston’s 73rd minute free got the Mourne men over the line at home to Westmeath.

Sligo were the unlucky recipients last week, but a second win of the Allianz NFL for Paddy Tally’ side moves them to the top of the table – for a few hours at least ahead of Sunday’s games.

The win was made all the more special considering Down played 46 minutes of the game with 14 players following a straight red card for Pat Havern. Havern was sent off on the advice of the umpires following a collision with Westmeath goalkeeper Eoin Carberry.

It was a Ryan Johnston point that got Down off the mark inside the first minute before Ger Egan levelled for Westmeath in the eighth minute, and with both sides struggling to deliver in front of goal, scores were at a premium.

A splendid penalty save from Down’s Rory Burns denied Egan a goal after 16 minutes, but Sam Duncan pointed five minutes later and Westmeath pushed a point ahead.

Instead of collapsing following the sending off, Down lifted their challenge and a Donal O’Hare free was followed by his second, moments after James Dolan had reclaimed the lead for Westmeath.

Boidu Sayeh and Kevin McKernan exchanged scores before the break, but a fine Ronan O’Toole score in added-time put Westmeath into a deserved 0-5 to 0-4 lead at half-time.

The scores continued in a pendulum fashion in the second half as Ryan Johnston and Egan swapped points by the 38th minute, and Ryan Johnston and Duncan did it again by the 46th minute.

It looked like a crucial score when Luke Laughlin pointed to push Westmeath two points clear though, but O’Hare and Conor Poland made it 0-8 each by the midway point of the half.

With six minutes remaining Egan pushed Westmeath a point clear, but they couldn’t hold on for win, and after O’Hare claimed the leveller with two minutes left, Jerome Johnston was the hero with the late winner for the Mourne men.

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