GAA Football

Mayobridge starlet Shane Annett dreams of Down senior call-up

Down's Shane Annett raises the Leo Murphy Cup in Armagh last week Picture by Philip Walsh.

SHANE Annett says many of Down’s U20 squad have their sights set on breaking into Paddy Tally’s senior squad next season – and hopes the Mournemen won’t make the same mistakes as last season ahead of their Ulster opener against Antrim in Clones on Sunday (11.45am).

Pierce Laverty, Oisin McCabe and Daniel Guinness have been given their chance to shine at senior level in 2019 after impressing in Conor Deegan’s U20 squad last season – and Annett is keen to follow in their footsteps.

The trio scored a combined 2-8 in their five-point win over Antrim just over 12 months ago before moving up the ranks.

Annett, who was part of the Down side that edged out Antrim, said: “From last year’s U20 panel there are a few on the senior panel this year and deservedly so - the likes of Pierce Laverty and Daniel Guinness, two brilliant footballers – and there are more of us coming through this year. I think there are players on our U20 panel that could start in the senior team.

“When you see boys making an impact at senior level it shows that it can be done. It motivates all of us.”

Annett, from Mayobridge, is also keen to make up for last year’s second-half collapse they suffered against eventual champions Derry in the semi-finals of the inaugural U20 Ulster series.

“We were going so well in the first half against Derry,” said Annett, who plays wing-back for Down and midfield for Mayobridge.

“We were seven points up at half-time and then we went 10 points up in the second half at one stage and everything slipped. Nothing went our way – ball handling, poor decisions, everything and Derry beat us and went on to win Ulster.”

Eight of the Down side that helped knock out Antrim last summer were involved in their Leo Murphy final victory over Cavan just six days ago – and the Mournemen are bolstered by the brilliance of Ballyholland corner-forward Seamus Loughran this year.

“It was good to get a bit of silverware behind us,” said Annett.

“I think that was very important to win the Leo Murphy because it will give us a bit of belief to go on and do well in the Championship.

“But this won’t be easy on Sunday. We’d know a lot of the Antrim players – the likes of Liam Quinn who is a brilliant forward. He played last year too. He’s very tricky. Last year was tough against them and I can’t imagine it being easier this year.”

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