“I would have to say that our boys didn’t really lose their composure. They kept to their task and worked hard the whole way through it.
“We had Karl Lacey and Neil Gallagher missing coming into the game and then we lost Ryan Bradley and Frank McGlynn, both to concussion.
“They would be four fairly strong leaders for us on the field of play so it was great for us that the likes of Ross Wherity and Ryan McHugh got to come in and help push us over the line and give us the chance now to prepare for an Ulster final.”
Down boss James McCartan took some pride from his team’s performance.
“We felt we had them rattled at times but quality teams respond when that happens and they did that,” McCartan said.
“Last year we competed with Donegal as well as anybody and I would have to say that we did it again this year albeit with a different style of football.
“I would find it very hard to be critical of anyone in a red and black jersey today. They emptied the tank.”
Cork Finally Has Clare’s Number
CORK upset the form book with a Munster SHC win over Clare in Limerick on Sunday as they avenged three earlier defeats to the Banner this year with an impressive 0-23 to 0-15 win.
Cork boss Jimmy Barry Murphy said afterwards, “We lost the relegation match barely and in extra time. There wasn’t as big a deal made of it as some people were making out.
“There seemed to be a lot of doom and gloom from people in Cork and particularly about relegation and no one likes to be relegated but we were unlucky on the day and I didn’t think there was that much between the teams.”
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald said, “I’m bitterly disappointed. We probably didn’t ourselves justice out there.
“We didn’t have enough of a lead built up at halftime with that gale. In fairness Cork were tenacious today and they deserved their victory.
“It was the same when we played Limerick last year. We beat them three times and they came back and had the bit between their teeth for the championship game with us. It is very hard when you beat a team, they are going to get so motivated.”
Clare are also upset that referee Barry Kenny failed to stop the game when John Conlon suffered a head injury and concussion.
Another Shanahan’s Chance to Shine
MAURICE Shanahan emerged from the shadows of his famous brother Dan as he scored 13 points in Waterford’s 0-21 to 1-14 win over Offaly in the All-Ireland hurling qualifiers.
Deice boss Michael Ryan commented, “We really needed Maurice to turn on the style and we spoke to him at halftime and asked him to produce an even better performance in the second half. He did exactly that.
“Maurice is a very talented player and probably an under-rated one too. Before the Clare game he had been sick all that week and we knew he could do this for the last couple of years.
“Maurice is Dan’s brother, but Maurice is a fine hurler in his own right. It was only a matter of time before he came good, and he came good here.”
Wexford also won through the first round of qualifiers with a 3-18 to 0-17 win over Antrim, while Westmeath beat London by 1-15 to 0-11 in Ruislip.
London Town Still Alive
LONDON lived to fight another day in the Connacht championship after a stirring 2-7 to 0-13 draw against Leitrim in Sunday’s semifinal in Carrick-on-Shannon, but they have ordered to travel to Ireland again for Sunday’s replay in Roscommon.
Leitrim boss Barney Breen admitted, “It’s a short turnaround but it’s the same for both of us. But I’d rather be playing next weekend than be out of the championship.”