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Paddy Tally urges his Down players to 'write their own history'

Down manager Paddy Tally leads his team into action for the first time against Armagh on Sunday
Kevin Kelly

DOWN manager Paddy Tally is calling on his players to go out and start to write their own history as they prepare for this weekend’s eagerly awaited derby battle with Armagh in Newry.

Its 25 years since Down last got their hands on the Anglo-Celt Cup, in a season when they also collected the Sam Maguire for the fifth time in their history.

Tally is well aware of the expectation within the Mourne county to be successful again but his sole focus and that of his players this weekend is to try and get one over their near neighbours.

“It hasn’t been mentioned (25 years) but I think that everybody in Down is aware of that,” said Paddy.

“There have been maybe two or three generations of players who have passed through the hands without winning a Championship and maybe that shows you how things change.

“Arresting that slide has been very difficult for a number of teams but all that we have to ensure that we are ready for the challenge of Armagh this weekend.

“The Down teams of the nineties, we looked at them and admired them for winning All-Irelands when nobody else could win them so there is a great history and tradition in Down football and people like to see them doing well but these boys have to start themselves and write their own history.’’

Tally believes his squad, who missed out on promotion to Division Two of the Allianz Football League by a single point this season, doesn’t lack for quality, despite the inexperience in its ranks.

‘‘These boys just love playing, especially at this time of the year. There are a lot of good footballers in the county.

‘‘They aren’t coming from a history of success at minor and U20 level. I think the last minor title was won in 2009, so there have been 10 years that have passed there and we have no U20 titles either.

‘‘I think that maybe Conor Maginn and Benny McArdle possibly and a few of those older players were there in 2009 but there has been nothing since, so you are talking about a whole new generation of players who are looking for success.

‘‘The hunger and motivation therefore has to be there and I would like to think that the Down players are like that.

‘‘They will want to prove that they are as good as anybody but there is a long way to go before we can talk about titles and we just need to make sure that we are right for this weekend’s game with Armagh and the players go out and give it their all.

‘‘I don’t think that there will be too much between the sides at the final whistle as derby games are always very tight and I don’t expect anything different here.”

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