Eanna Burke (The Downs) puts pressure on Mullingar Shamrocks’ Paddy Fagan.

Tuite and Kilmartin on song as The Downs rout Shamrocks

Shay Murtagh Precast SFC Section 'A': The Downs 4-16, Mullingar Shamrocks 0-7

Gerry Buckley reports

Flanagan Cup champions as recently as 2018, Mullingar Shamrocks endured a dark evening in Kinnegad last Sunday evening when they were hammered by a fit and focused side from The Downs which was far from flattered by the 21-point winning margin.

Indeed, when one considers that Lar Wall was short the services of regular scorer-in-chief Luke Loughlin (injured on recent hurling duty for Clonkill), it is a measure of the current gulf between two sides which have a history of closely-fought encounters.

Ironically, there was very little between the teams in the opening ten minutes, during which both scored two points – the outstanding Tom Tuite on target twice from play for the winners, while skipper Denis Corroon superbly dissected the posts from a brace of placed balls at the other end (a lineball and a difficult free).

However, the rest of the first moiety was virtually all one-way traffic, the men in black and amber stripes outscoring their opponents by a whopping 2-6 to 0-2. Tuite and Conor Coughlan scored the close-range goals in the 11th and 30th minutes respectively (both unselfishly set up by the very impressive Niall Mitchell).

The Downs’ points were shared between the lively Andrew Kilmartin (two), Tuite (three fine scores, the first with his fist), and Éanna Burke (from long-range).

Enda Monaghan’s troops registered points from the boots of Paddy Fagan (a move started impressively by Corroon) and Eddie Moore (a fisted effort, after Dean Moore’s goal attempt had been blocked). The two championship points were already in the bag for The Downs when they led by 2-8 to 0-4 at the interval.

It could have got worse for the beleaguered men in green and white in the 35th minute, but Coughlan’s ‘goal’ was disallowed for a ‘throw ball’ by Mitchell. Corroon then scored his side’s fifth point (again from a free), but the winners went further ahead with points from Tuite (a free) and Ian Martin.

Kilmartin was well off target when yet another great goal chance came the way of The Downs, but he soon amends with a point in the 43rd minute and a fabulous solo goal a minute later.

Jonathan Lynam teed up Kevin O’Sullivan for his side’s fourth goal, before subs Harry Caulfield and Adam Loughlin raised a white flag each, either side of Kilmartin slapping the ball narrowly wide from close range – again the rampant Mitchell was the provider.

Dean Moore and Corroon (a free) rounded off Shamrocks’ small tally, and the winners still had time to tag on three more points via sub Jack Carroll (a fine free), and fisted scores from play by Kilmartin and Lynam.

Scorers – The Downs: T Tuite 1-6 (0-1f), A Kilmartin 1-4, C Coughlan and K O’Sullivan 1-0 each, J Lynam, E Burke, J Carroll (f), I Martin, H Caulfield and A Loughlin 0-1 each. Mullingar Shamrocks: D Corroon 0-4 (3f, 1s/l), P Fagan, E Moore and D Moore 0-1 each.

The Downs: Trevor Martin; Darragh Egerton, Peter Murray, Éanna Burke; Conor Coughlan, Mark Kelly, Joe Moran; Jonathan Lynam, Dean Clarke; Ciaran Nolan, Niall Mitchell, Kevin O’Sullivan; Ian Martin, Andrew Kilmartin, Tom Tuite. Subs used: Harry Caulfield for Coughlan (inj., 41), Adam Loughlin for Clarke (45), Jack Carroll for O’Sullivan (50).

Mullingar Shamrocks: Philip Shaw; Ryan Blundell, Efe Siode, Marc Eivers; John O’Reilly, Davy Coyne, Dillon Matthews; Denis Corroon, Zach Aherne; Killian Daly, Paddy Fagan, Eddie Moore; Lorcan Smyth, Dean Moore, Jordan Warde. Subs used: Micheal Curley for Coyne (inj., 20), Paddy Joyce for Smyth (h-t), Ross Corroon for Blundell (44), Aaron Purcell for Matthews (46), Oliver MacNamara for Aherne (46).

Ref: Damien Maher (Ballynacargy).

Footnote: Prior to the game, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the late Brendan Christie of Mullingar Shamrocks.