Down seconds eased any lingering relegation fears with this superb win in Kilkeel last Saturday.

Forced to travel with what on paper looked like a weakened side, the locals weathered a heavy onslaught in the first half to win the game in the second, with young guns Stephen Cullum and David Ferris running their legs off.

Down's two-goal hero was Johnny Lennon who cracked home two blistering short corner strikes to earn his side maximum points which leaves them on 15 and in a mid-table position. The victory also ensured that Down remained seven points ahead of their opponents whom they could only draw with earlier in the season in a game they dominated.

It was all one-way traffic in the first half and Down's rearguard of skipper Willie Price, Clifford and Johnny Lennon and Chris Ferguson were outstanding, while in the middle of the park James Cunningham had one of his best games in recent weeks, while Raymond McClurg and Gary Brown also chased and harried all afternoon.

Kilkeel created the better openings in the first half and when they did manage to get shots in on goal, they were saved by Down's 'keeper who was provided with great support by his defenders.

Philip Brown led the line for Down, but he was starved of possession for long periods as the midfield couldn't get the ball through to him. He too chased back when required and Kilkeel were frustrated with the visitor's super man-marking, which denied them space.

Kilkeel's Willie Quinn did push forward at times, but when Ferris was handed the job of man-marking him, the threat was nullified and the home side's flame went out.

On a cold and extremely blustery afternoon, Down started well and knew they would have to defend. While the visitors travelled with the bare eleven, the home side had the luxury of naming five substitutes which allowed them to freshen things up at various stages of the game.

Having got to the interval on level terms, Down knew they had to maintain their concentration and commitment in the second period and this they did in abundance. On the rare occasions Kilkeel did threaten, Price and Johnny Lennon, cleared their lines, while either side of them, Clifford Lennon and Ferguson not only defended superbly, but drove forward at every opportunity.

Down took the lead midway through the half when they were awarded a penalty corner. When the ball came out to Johnny Lennon he took aim and fired the ball low into the corner of the net.

With nothing to lose, Kilkeel threw men forward, but the Down defence and midfield were on top of their game and while the home side did all it could to get back in the game, it could only manage one shot on goal in the second period.

With 12 minutes to go, Down were awarded another penalty corner and the outcome was identical. The ball again came out to Lennon who cracked another unstoppable shot into the corner of the net.

In the past, Down would have been guilty of sitting back at this stage, but they kept driving forward at every opportunity, putting the pressure on the home side.

In the closing stages, Cunningham was harshly sent off. He was fouled in his own half, but the umpire wrongly awarded a free to Kilkeel. The Down player expressed his frustration and to compound the initial free hit decision, the umpire in the other half inexplicably awarded a penalty corner. Cunningham again protested and was red-carded.