Down put the disappointment of relegation from Senior One behind them when they began the new season at Malone Park last weekend.

They couldn't have asked for a more easier opening with Omagh providing the opposition on the shale, with the locals romping to a comfortable victory. However, they should have tripled their goals tally.

The reason they didn't was because of an outstanding performance by Omagh 'keeper, Bobbie Hawkes, who was once again in brilliant form, proving why he one of the best netminders in senior hockey.

Time and again he thwarted Down players who, were at times, guilty of over-playing. And it was also a case of too many cooks spoiling the goalscoring broth as there were so many players in the penalty area some times that they often got in each other's way.

Down also tried to make every shot on goal travel at lightning speed when placing it in the corner may have been a better option. That said, they did score five goals and their quest for Linden Cup glory is up and running. A win against South Antrim in two weeks' time will book them a place in the semi-finals.

Getting back to last weekend, Down took the lead in the seventh minute when Paul Tate reacted quickest in a crowded goalmouth to poke the ball past Hawkes.

With the home supporters expecting an avalanche, more goals came, but not certainly in the numbers they were expecting.

Stephen Ferguson made it 2-0 in the 15th minute, but there then followed a series of missed opportunities with Gavin Ringland, Ferguson and Tate all going close to increasing their side's lead.

As it turned out, Down had to wait until a minute before the break to take a 3-0 lead when Mark Elliott, always deadly from close in, scored following a goalmouth scramble.

Hawkes was a tired man at the interval and was again in the thick of the action in the second period when he produced a number of top drawer saves to frustrate the home forwards.

Ferguson grabbed his second goal of the afternoon in the 56th minute and while Down were awarded a number of short corners, the players were finding it particularly hard to get the ball past that man Hawkes. At one stage in the second period, Down left just two men at the back with the other eight up front in search of goals.

With two minutes to go, Down made it 5-0 when skipper, Jeremy McCready showed the forwards how to beat Hawkes when he waited for the netminder to go to ground before calmly lifting the ball over his head into the net.

The home side had to be content with five goals in the end, but they could easily have tripled that number if they had been able to find a way past Hawkes and if the majority of the players hadn't gone glory hunting.

There wont' be any such luxury when Down face South Antrim in two weeks' time in Lisburn when a win for the Malone Park men will guarantee them a place in the cup semi-finals.