Eamonn Burns not getting involved in promotion talk after Down win over Derry
Allianz Football League Division Two: Derry 1-7 Down 1-15
EAMONN Burns laughed off the suggestion of an unlikely promotion push after his Down side recorded back-to-back wins with a commanding victory over Derry in Celtic Park yesterday.
The Mournemen backed up victory over Meath in their previous outing by routing a disappointing Derry outfit and now sit in mid-table, just two points behind second division leaders Kildare.
Talk of promotion is premature, but Down have found form. They host the Lilywhites next and, depending on other results, victory could leave them top of the table.
“We were happy with our performance against Meath, we got a win, and we’re happy with our performance today because I think we stepped up again,” said Burns after yesterday’s 1-15 to 1-7 success.
“If we’re going to make more progress we’re going to have to keep taking these steps and keep improving. Players and management are very aware of that but from the Meath game to today there was another marked improvement.”
Down had 1-10 on the board before Derry scored yesterday and, although the Oak Leafers reduced the gap to eight points at half-time, a composed second half display meant the result was never in doubt.
Losses to Fermanagh and Clare had left Down bottom of Division Two and extended their losing streak in League and Championship to 14 games. Despite the poor run of results, Burns stressed that his players had been “exceptional at training”.
“Over the last year and-a-half that I’ve been involved with these boys they have been exceptional at training, numbers have always been good,” he said.
“A win definitely helps but they’ve worked very hard. They worked very hard before this game and they worked very hard in the preparation for this game.”
Down’s recovery has been led by the return of experienced players like Kevin McKernan, Peter Turley and Conor Maginn and all three were prominent yesterday.
“The experienced players have to play and they have to take the lead,” said Burns.
“Young fellas that have come into the team over the last couple of years have followed from their example and I thought my experienced players played really, really well today.
“They led, they organised and they dictated from start to finish.”
While Down may have turned a corner, Derry’s performance yesterday fell well short of the standard expected from their management team. Assistant-manager Brian McGuckin offered no excuses when he faced the media.
“It was extremely disappointing and we’re not making any excuses,” he said.
“We were simply beat by a better Down team.
He added: “The players didn’t do themselves justice. They didn’t work as hard as they could work, they didn’t put Down under the type of pressure they needed to.
“Down were getting easy shots away. Granted they kicked some spectacular scores in the first half but they also got some very easy scores.
“There has to be collective responsibility for that. What more can I say? We will dust ourselves down and go again.”