Down SFC: Benny Coulter content with underdogs tag
Morgan Fuels Down Senior Football Championship
DOWN legend Benny Coulter believes the underdog tie may work in his favour in the Morgan Fuels Down Senior Club Championship when his club Mayobridge take on rivals Burren tomorrow night (Pairc Esler, 7pm).
The Sky Blues may have stuttered en route to the quarter-finals but are coming good at the right time while Burren have been content marching through the traditional route including a hard fought win over Kilcoo, who are also in action tonight.
Despite the Magpies chasing their fifth championship title in-a-row it is the curtain-raiser clash of neighbours Burren and Mayobridge that have caught the imagination.
Coulter has fully recovered following an operation on his hand but faces competition from Kevin O’Rourke and Corey Quinn for a starting position.
Either way the 2010 All-Star knows he can play a significant role in Pairc Esler and he is content that Mayobridge is going into the contest as underdogs.
“It’s strange to go into a quarterfinal game as massive underdogs, because in the years we were winning championships, we would’ve been seen as a team who would be expected to be there or thereabouts, whereas we’ve kind of been written off this year,” said Coulter.
“That, believe it or not, could work to our advantage, as we’re going into Sunday’s game with no pressure, whereas Burren, on the other hand, are a team that’s been seen as favourites for the past three or four years and Kilcoo has won it for the past four years, so the people in Burren want the Championship now.
“In this respect they are going in with a bit of pressure whereas we’ve none whatsoever on us and can focus fully on our own game.
“We’re up against it, as Burren and Kilcoo have been the top two sides in Down in recent years, but you’re going to have to beat these sides to win the Championship at some stage.”
Burren will be without county star Donal O’Hare who is currently in New York but manager Sean Ward has the St Mary’s side playing quality football.
Eamonn and Conor Toner have been exceptional this season while former county corner-back Dan McCartan has played up front too and made life troublesome for defenders.
Mayobridge too have strength in attack as Corey Quinn on his day can be a bright spark.
He loves to take players on and try the impossible and Sunday evening will be a game where he needs to loosen the shackles if to overcome favourites Burren.
The battle between Mayobridge’s Cathal Magee and Gerard McGovern should make a fascinating viewing, with both players being at the top of their game.
Kilcoo take on St Peter’s Warrenpoint at 8.30pm in the second match of the Pairc Esler double-header.
The defending champions are expected to get past a dogged St Peter’s side with little difficulty.
The Johnston brothers Jerome and Ryan may get their first run out of the championship but even without the duo Kilcoo should provide too strong an opponent for Warrenpoint.
The seaside town have fought hard this season to reach the quarter-final of the championship and given that it was only two years ago that they won the Intermediate title, this year can already be judged as a relative success and they’ll hope players such as Ross McGarry and Ryan Boyle can perform on the big occasion.
For Paul McIver’s side this is a hurdle they shouldn’t trip over and with players such as Paul Devlin, Darragh O’Hanlon, Conor Laverty and Eugene Branagan almost at peak form, anything other than a comfortable Magpies win would be the biggest shock of the championship.