Celebration time for Downings
Ben McBride was the toast of Downings on Saturday after his late wonder point saved the club's Intermediate Football Championship status with a one point win over Buncrana at O'Donnell Park.
Downings . . . 1-11
Buncrana . . . 1-10
McBride, a second half replacement for Oisin Boyce, lofted over a brilliant point into the stiff breeze from a very tight angle and under pressure.
The point, which proved the winner, was the final act in a tit-for-tat battle for survival. Downings played with a stiff breeze in their backs in the first half but went in level with the score at 1-4 each at half-time.
James Lee McBride scored the goal for Downings with Lorcan Connor and Eric Roberts hitting the first half points for Micheál Bradley’s men.
Caolan McGonagle, who had a fine game in the middle of the field, John Campbell and Adrian Doherty raised the first half points for Buncrana.
Adrian Doherty also got in for the goal that looked like it had placed Malachy McCann’s men in a good place at the interval.
Buncrana kicked on after the break and thanks to a number of long range McGonagle points they were three ahead with a little over five minutes remaining.
But Downings were not finished and Roberts and Connor hit two quick points to set up a grandstand finish.
In the closing minutes the excellent McGonagle restored Buncrana's two point advantage. But Downings were sensing all was not lost and thanks to two more Connor points and one from Roberts, they incredibly hit the front as the clock ticked into injury time. Oisin Doherty tied up the game once more in injury time before McBride stepped up with his wonder winner.
Downings survive and will play in the Intermediate Championship once again next season, and deservedly so as they wanted it more than Buncrana.
As for Buncrana it's a case of time to get the mirrors out. From entering the championship as one of the favourites to making the drop to junior championship football next season, is one almighty fall.
DOWNINGS: Brendan McGee; Max Davis, Ben McNutt, Hugo Davis; Danny McBride, Kevin Doherty, Eamonn Kelly; Shea Coyle (0-1), James Lee McBride (1-0); Shane Boyce, Gary 'Ban' McClafferty, Lorcan Connor (0-4, 4f); Oisin Boyce, Keelan McGroddy (0-1), Eric Roberts (0-3). Subs: Ben McBride (0-2) for O Boyce, Finghin McClafferty for E Kelly, Aaron McClafferty for S Boyce.
BUNCRANA: Shaun Parker; Conor Grant, Bruce Waldron, Mickey Gallagher; Aidan Stokes, William McLaughlin (0-1), Noel McLaughlin; Oisin O'Flaherty (0-1), Caolan McGonagle (0-4, 2 '45, 1f); Adrian Doherty (1-1), John Campbell (0-2, 2f), Darach O'Connor; Ben Bradley, Peter McLaughlin (0-1), Oisin Doherty.
Subs: Ryan McElhinney for N McLaughlin, Keegan Hegarty for Oisin Doherty, Adrian McColgan for A Doherty, Oisin Hegarty for B Bradley, JP McKenna for C Grant,Black card.
REFEREE; James Connors (St Eunan's)