A goal in the opening seconds of this Ulster Junior Shield tie left Down seconds with a mountain to climb.

The Malone Park side went into the game missing the services of Philip Brown, Mark Leahy and Trevor McClurg, and could have been in real difficulty at the break had it not been for an outstanding performance by goalkeeper, Johnny Briggs.

He made a number of terrific saves to keep his side in the game, frustrating the Instonians forwards. Time and again he made crucial blocks when it mattered most and his saves provided inspiration for those around him.

Down, who relied on the experienced Colin Gibson in the middle of the park, roared back from the early set back when an Instonians player managed to squeeze the ball past Briggs and defender, John Hewitt.

The visitors got back on level terms when skipper Johnny Lennon rattled the backboard with a trademark shot which gave the home 'keeper no chance. Stephen Moffatt then had a glorious opportunity to put his side ahead, but the home 'keeper was able to block his shot at the back post.

Instonians got their noses in front 10 minutes into the second half after Robert Carberry lost possession and an Instonians player had the easy job of running towards the penalty area and picking his sport past Briggs.

Down were still not out of the tie and skipper Lennon again went close with another short corner rasper and Gibson's swivel in the penalty areas saw his shot crash against the post and rebound to safety.

Cecil Telford was also unlucky not to score from a short corner as Down piled on the pressure in the search for an equaliser. It didn't come and with time running out, Instonians scored a third goal to kill the tie in the closing stages of the game.

Cliff Lennon played well on the left hand side of the midfield, while dad Trevor was forced to play up front.

The missing trio could have made a major difference to Down who won the Ulster Junior Shield several seasons ago when they defeated Raphoe 2-1.