Antrim, Clare, Down and Westmeath earn opening wins in Division 3

January 28, 2024

Wicklow's Jack Tracey and Finn McElroy of Down ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Down commenced their Allianz Football League Division 3 campaign in winning fashion after seeing off Wicklow by 0-18 to 0-13.

Pat Havern led the way with five points from play for the Mourne men while centre half-back Daniel Guinness had four points over the 70 minutes in Aughrim, where the visitors led 0-10 to 0-7 at the half.

The first four points of the restart would go the way of Conor Laverty’s men and, although Wicklow outscored their opponents by 0-4 to 0-1 in the closing 15 minutes, they’d need goals to do real damage and a stingy Down defence ensured that they never came their way.

In Tullamore, Senan Baker’s 18th minute goal proved the key score as Westmeath defeated neighbours Offaly on a 1-11 to 0-10 scoreline.  

Baker’s fine finish came off the back of a pass from Conor Dillon and led the visitors towards a 1-8 to 0-5 lead at the half and, after the turnaround, Offaly put the heat on with points from Jordan Hayes, Anton Sullivan and Cian Farrell.

Dessie Dolan’s men were able to weather the storm though, as points from James Dolan and Luke Loughlin down the home stretch saw them over the line.

Antrim recorded an opening round victory in Rathkeale where they saw off hosts Limerick by 2-14 to 2-7.

Andy McEntee’s side got their goals from Dominic McEnhill (penalty) and Ruairi McCann in the 21st minute of each half and points from McEnhill (2) and Ronan Boyle in the closing quarter would seal their opening win.

In Ennis, Clare were made fight all the way to ensure a winning start to their league campaign against Sligo.

It was Aaron Griffin’s point in the third minute of injury-time that ended up separating the sides come the final whistle (0-9 to 1-5).

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