Sports

Coulter Calls It

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

DOWN take on Fermanagh on Saturday night in the first game of this years Division Two campaign and I can't stress enough the importance of this game - in terms of what lies ahead for the forthcoming year.

I feel the whole squad know the importance of the game and I believe that Down have put a massive push into winning this first game.

It is very important that we win it, as it would be seen as one of the easier games in the League but Fermanagh will also feel that they can come to Newry and win the game.

Down will probably welcome back Peter Turley, Kevin McKernan, Darragh O'Hanlon, Mark Poland and Ryan Johnston to the starting team whilst adding a few more experienced lads to the squad so with the exception of Jerome Johnston Down are full out for this game.

Down should approach the game on the front foot and go after Fermanagh from the word go, as we have lads in the full forward line that can do damage if the supply of ball is good into them.

I expect Barry O'Hagan and Alan Davidson to play up in a two-man full forward line with Mark Poland playing in front of them just off the full forward line.

Mark has a great footballing brain and will outsmart whomever he is marking.

Gerard McGovern will be giving the task of marking Seamus Quigley and I think he will enjoy that as Gerard would rather play against a big physical player rather than a sharp nippy full-forward. I expect Down to come away with a three-point win, which will set them up for the season ahead.

I attended the McKenna Cup final on Saturday night and whilst very impressed with Tyrone's play and amazing fitness levels I could not help but count about nine starting Derry players that were physically out of shape, not just for playing county football but club football in general.

I would have to first ask the question what are these lads doing at training and are they really putting in the work to play county football. Derry football at the minute is in a very bad place and after watching Saturday night they have a hell of a lot of work to do just to get them ready for Division Two football.

Tyrone on the other hand are physically flying in all positions of their play. They were head and shoulders and a million miles in front of Derry and in young Conor Myler they have a superb up and coming player. The speed at which they move the ball from defence to attack is just simply outstanding.

The Down Club All-County League fixtures were decided on Thursday night and I think it's a good call to play matches every week, as that's what the club player's want.

I would urge county players to play for your clubs whenever possible as that's the heart of the GAA. I always made myself available for he club when on county duty but in some cases that doesn't always happen.

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