Down’s first game back in Senior One may have ended in defeat, but the locals can take heart from their performance, particularly in the first half.

Newry is one of the sides which Down must take points off during the course of the season if they are to stay in Senior One and they know they must improve their game over the gaming weeks.

Skipper, Jeremy McCready, accused his side of a "lazy performance" last Friday night in Kilkeel and is looking for much more from his players. Down went in to the game without three key players. Aaron Minnis was injured, Chris Taylor was away while Paul Tate is recovering from a broken thumb which he hopes will heal to allow him to push for a place come the end of November.

The locals knew they were in for a tough game, but they played well in the first half and although they were 2-0 in arrears at the interval, many at the game thought they deserved to go in level. Newry's goals came from the only two shots they had in the opening 35 minutes.

The absence of Minnis saw Paul Neill drafted in at left back and he played well, despite being out of position. Down controlled the first 10 minutes and it looked as though they were going to take something from the game to provide their league campaign with the perfect start.
 James Cunningham and Chris Lennon were up against a number of experienced campaigners in the middle of the park, but gave a good account of themselves.

But Newry's experience began to tell and they took the lead following a long corner. A ball drilled into the penalty area deflected off Gavin Ringland's stick which it took past McCready’s reach, falling to Kyle McComb who scored past Mark Johnston with a superb reverse stick shot which gave the 'keeper no chance.

Down were struggling for potency up front as the midfield couldn't provide the passes for the forwards to latch on to and Newry doubled their advantage when John Cowgill scored.

A free hit drilled into the circle saw Johnston produce three blinding saves in quick succession, but when the ball broke to Cowgill for a fourth time, he placed it into the net. While Newry were delighted, a number of Down defenders were guilty of ball watching.

The visitors were five awarded penalty corners in the first half and while shots were drilled in, no forwards followed up balls which struck the 'keeper's pads.

Newry rammed home their advantage in the second half, with one of the goals coming from a well rehearsed short corner when Richard Nummy scored. The fourth goal came from play after that when David Hogg twisted past Sinclair White to drive the ball past Johnston.

With Down entertaining Raphoe this Saturday, McCready wants his players to be on top of their game and defend from the front. He also warns lazy performances will cost the locals dear and is urging his players to play at the required standard in Senior One.