Down seconds bowed out of the Ulster Junior Shield competition at Shaw's Bridge last weekend.

The game was a tremendous advert for junior hockey, but Down left wondering how they had managed to lose after creating the bulk of the chances over the 70 minutes.

Instonians managed only three shots on goal during the tie, while the visitors created countless opportunities, but couldn't convert their superiority into goals.

A place in the quarter-finals of the competition was at stake and Down were keen to progress to reach the final of a competition they last won five years ago. But it wasn't to be with the home side getting any luck that was going.

The visitors dominated the opening exchanges and it was all one-way traffic for the first 15 minutes. Mark Elliott, Gavin Ringland and Paul Tate all went close for Down, but they couldn't find a way past the home 'keeper who was having one of those afternoons when he managed to get something on every shot drilled in his direction.

Instonians took the lead from a hotly disputed penalty corner, their second of the tie, after Trevor McClurg had been harshly penalised. TheĀ  umpire ruled the ball had struck the defender's leg, with his team mates arguing it had hit his stick.

And, as defences up and down the country know, nine times out of 10 following decisions like these, a goal is scored. And that's exactly what happened last Saturday.

Down roared back in search of an equaliser, creating numerous chances in front of goal, but they just couldn't score. Instonians were awarded another short corner at the other end, but couldn't increase their advantage.

At the break, Down knew they were still very much in with a shout and they went out with the intention of getting back on level terms and going on to win the tie, but it wasn't to be. They again created many chances but couldn't find the back of the net.

Instonians had a chance to put the tie out of reach with three minutes to go, but Down's 'keeper made a double save to give his side a glimmer of hope. While the visitors kept pressing for an equaliser to hopefully send the tie into extra time, it wasn't to be.

Instonians held their nerve to progress and, as mentioned earlier, the commitment and skill of both sides was a great advert for Junior 3 where the standard of hockey is probably better than the majority of that currently on show in Senior Two.

For Down, it's back to league action this weekend when they face Bangor fourths at Malone Park. It's a game they will be hoping to take something from as they aim to pull away from the lower reaches of the table.