Ulster champions Down toppled Antrim again in the NHL in November 1992

National Hurling League Division 1A – Casement Park

Antrim 3-4 Down 3-11

When Antrim faced Down in Division 1A of the National Hurling League on November 22nd 1992 the crowds came in their thousands to see them in action. The scene had been set four months earlier when on an historic day for Down who claimed a first provincial title since 1941 with a 2-16 to 0-11 win over the Saffrons at the same venue, before a record crowd estimated to be around 10,000. Victory would have been more decisive but for a tally of 13 wides in the first half. While Antrim lacked an attacking ace, Down’s Gerard McGrattan was  man of the match. Goalkeeper Noel Keith also brought off some remarkable saves, most notably from a Ciaran Barr shot in the first half.

Aidan Beaver McCarry and Gary ‘Gaza’ Savage in action during the NHL game at Casement Park in November 1992

That November day the Antrim fans flocked to Casement Park in the hope of seeing their heroes gain revenge, but it was not to be as and excellent Down side proved too strong again as they won by 3-11 to 3-04. Despite the Ulster final result Antrim went into the game as slight favourites after winning their two opening games against Kilkenny (1-14 to 0-9 in Casement Park) and Offaly while the men from the Ards had beat Offaly in their opening game in Ballycran but lost narrowly to Limerick in Limerick.

On the day Down once again showed just how good they were at the that time and lowered the Antrim colours with a convincing win. The went on to prove just how good they were during the remainder of that league campaign by beating the Cats in Nowlan Park in their final game, a result that must rank as their greatest win.

Wikipedia list the scorers that day but there is a goal missing on the Down side so if you want to claim it Gaza it’s yours

M Blaney 1-1, G Coulter 0-4, N Sands 1-0, C Mageean 0-3, M Baillie 0-1, M Braniff 0-1, D Hughes 0-1.

S McMullan 2-0, J Carson 1-3, A Elliott 0-1.

Many thanks to my old sparring partner Shay O’Hagan who sent me the programme from this game.

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