Down seconds' hopes of clinching one of the two Junior 4 promotion places up for grabs suffered a catastrophic blow at Malone Park last weekend.

Raphoe showed no ill-effects of the long journey from Donegal and played well in a what was at times a rather scrappy affair.

Down can point to a missed penalty stroke in the second half as the key moment the game went away from them, but they were bitterly disappointed at the end not to take something from the clash.

The light deteriorated considerably as the game got underway and persistent shower didnt make things easy for the players.

Down 'keeper, Johnny Briggs, again played well, as did Trevor McClurg, despite his exertions for the firsts against Crossgar earlier.

Down created a number of half chances in the opening 35 minutes, but James Cunningham and Philip Brown were both unlucky not to score.

Raphoe scored from play to take a lead they managed to hold until the end to make up for the defeat they suffered at Royal and Prior to Johnny Lennon's side earlier in the season.

The home side were awarded a penalty stroke when Chris Lennon's shot was prevented from going into the net by a Raphoe defender who stopped it with his foot.

Alasdair Duff was handed responsibility from the spot, but his effort was saved by the Donegal 'keeper. The home side tried to salvage a point after that missed flick, but they failed to create any clear cut chances.

This weekend the seconds have the opportunity to forget about the league, at least for 70 minutes, when they face Instonians fourths in the Ulster Junior Shield.