Tuesday, 13 June 2017

NO FEAR thumbnailDOWN will face Monaghan on Saturday, June 24.

DOWN legend Benny Coulter says that the Mourne men will not fear taking on Monaghan in the Ulster Championship semi-final, writes Steve Malone.

Down will play Monaghan in the Senior Championship on Saturday, June 24, with a 7pm throw-in at Armagh's Athletic Grounds, which will be preceded by the Minor clash between Down and Cavan at 5pm.

Down won't need reminding of last year's 2-22 to 0-09 opening round defeat to Monaghan but they have progressed considerably since that game and can take confidence of that derby win against Armagh.

Down full-back Gerard McGovern hailed the character shown by his men against Armagh and feels that this Down squad have the mettle to progress and he hopes the performance against Armagh may have answered the many critics.

"A lot of teams would have shied away and curled up into a ball, given the criticism we have received over the past year or two," said McGovern.

"But I suppose we just used that to drive us on and we knew we had the forwards up top to get the scores and we had the reserve coming off the bench and they were always going to be the difference come the end of game and that was what got us over the line.

In years gone by Down have always been able to rack big scores up going forward but since Eamonn has come in he has put a good system in place and everybody has bought into it.

"As I have said before, there is no one man bigger than the rest of the team it is all about the team not individuals." McGovern will likely be given the daunting task of marking All-Star forward Conor McManus but the Burren man has already enjoyed battles with the Monaghan legend and will reslish the challenge.

Democrat columnist Benny Coulter feels that McManus is a player that will carry Monaghan over the line, but insists Down need not fear the 2015 Ulster Champions.

Coulter writes: "Conor McManus was the difference between Monaghan and Cavan in the Ulster championship and that's what I mean when I talk about leaders standing up when the chips are down.

"McManus normally comes to the rescue when the chips are down and yesterday was no difference.

"Down will be encouraged about what they seen on Sunday and with the belief that they have taken from the Armagh victory will certainly not fear Monaghan.

"Down will go into the game as underdogs but then we normally have this past few years against them and we have a decent record."


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