Down recorded another derby victory over rivals Saintfield at Malone Park in the Senior 2 Cup last weekend.

The home side bounced back from conceding a converted penalty stroke to move up through the gears to score seven goals without further reply in a game where Saintfield's young players again emerged with great credit for their battling qualities.

Down are keen to end the season with some silverware and have an eye on the Senior 2 Cup. Saintfield arrived fresh from taking a point off Armagh at The Demesne in a league game three days earlier, with veteran Jim Sloan lining out for the visitors, with teenager Matthew McClurg continuing in goal.

The 'keeper impressed against Down several weeks ago and he again proved last Saturday why he is so highly rated. McClurg produced a number of great saves, with one stunning effort denying Down's Philip Brown a certain goal in the second half.

McClurg was in the thick of the action early on and while he was left exposed for some of the goals, he showed he is a real prospect and on the basis of his recent performances, could play at a higher standard.

Sinclair White teed up Chris Taylor during Down's opening attack of the cup tie, with experienced Saintfield defender Lawrence Murphy clearing the danger, before Jack Taylor looked to get a run at home 'keeper Jeremy McCready before Gavin Ringland cleared the danger.

White then picked out Liam Kearney in the third minute but the latter lost control of the ball when he had time and space to test McClurg. White then set up Jareth McCready with the latter's control letting him down at the last minute as well.

McClurg produced two blinding saves to deny White and Taylor and it looked as though it was going to be one of those afternoons when goalkeepers would determine the outcome of a derby tie.

Saints defender Aaron Kearney denied Taylor a sight at goal in the ninth minute before Matthew Watson won Saintfield's first short corner of the match which resulted in a penalty stroke awarded to the visitors in the 13th minute. The short corner push out found substitute Davy Johnston whose first shot was saved by Jeremy McCready. When the rebound came back to the Saintfield striker, he drilled it goalwards again with the ball striking Brown on the foot. A stroke was awarded with Johnston placing the ball to McCready's left to give his side the lead.

Within 60 seconds the sides were level with a penalty stroke awarded at the other end. Taylor set up Mark Elliott whose shot beat McClurg but struck Aaron Kearney on the foot. The umpire pointed to the spot and Taylor converted, but the young Saints 'keeper almost got his hand to the ball.

Richard Hamilton ghosted in on the blind side of the Saints defence in the 15th minute and almost scored before White's impressive performance was rewarded with a goal in the 16th minute when his powerful shot nestled in the bottom corner of the net.

Jeremy McCready then blocked a shot from Taylor before White scored his second of the game at the other end to make it 3-1. Elliott produced a little bit of magic to lob the ball over McClurg towards an open goal. As the ball was about to roll into the net, White made sure, much to Elliott's consternation.

Taylor produced a bullet-like finish in the 24th minute to make it 4-1 before Down's Philip Cheevers had to be alert at the other end to deny Peter Davidson a shot on goal.

McClurg dived at the feet of Elliott to clear in the 27th minute before Jareth McCready made it 5-1 two minutes before the break when his shot struck Aaron Kearney and ended up in the back of the net.

Ryan Sheppard and Davidson combined for the visitors with the last action of the half, with Davidson unable to force McCready into a save.

Elliott made it 6-1 within five minutes of the restart after some great build-up play involving White and Taylor before White made it 7-1 to complete his hat-trick with a short corner strike which whistled past McClurg before he had time to set himself.

Two minutes later, White thought he had scored again from another short corner, but his shot was taken off the line by Aaron Kearney. McClurg then produced that brilliant diving save at the other end to deny Brown a certain goal.

Elliott should have made it 8-1 but he drilled his shot wide of the post and then came that Saintfield request to end the cup tie early.