GAA Football

Conor Deegan has braced himself and Down for the perfect storm

Ryan McEvoy should feature for Down U20s today fresh from his run to the All-Ireland Club final with Kilcoo Picture by Séamus Loughran
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Ulster U20 FC quarter-final: Cavan v Down (Today, Breffni Park, 1pm)

DOWN boss Conor Deegan says the GAA's “perfect storm” of fixtures congestion could be made even worse if bad weather was to force the postponement of any Ulster U20 FC quarter-finals for the second time in the space of a week.

All four quarter-finals were called off last Saturday due to Storm Dennis and, while three of them are set to take place at lunchtime today with the Antrim v Derry tie going ahead last night, they will do so in almost incessant rain, which will make surfaces hard to play on.

“The problem here is the condensing of the fixtures,” Mourne U20 and Queen's coach Deegan said.

“In a very short space of time you have colleges, Sigerson, schools, ourselves. It was a perfect storm already before you threw the bad weather on top of it. If it lashes again tonight, what happens tomorrow?

“But it's out of our control, we'll go and get ourselves prepped in the morning, turn up and see what happens. It's a difficulty that didn't have to happen with the condensing of the fixtures.”

Among the Down team taking to the Breffni Park pitch today are expected to be Kilcoo stars Ryan McEvoy and Sheelan Johnston, fresh from their run to the All-Ireland Club final, where they lost to Corofin after extra-time. Deegan says he was always confident the duo would join the panel in time for the Ulster Championship.

“Ryan and Sheelan are coming in off the back of what they ultimately might view as a disappointment when you get to where they were, but it was good for them to get back on the bicycle almost,” he added.

“They've been very positive and very good for us coming back in. They're also bringing in a strong winning mentality, which is important. They're obviously fit and healthy as well, which is great.

“Them coming in has been an added bonus, but I suppose we always felt that they would come in – it was a matter just as to when. There's positives and negatives to everything which has gone on – there's four Kilcoo lads [on the panel], so we wouldn't have seen them till fairly recently.”

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GAA Football