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Down buoyed by next month's All Ireland final clash with Cork

By John Campbell

The dust hadn’t even settled on Down’s superb All Ireland semi-final success over Kildare at Croke Park when thoughts turned to their next big test — the showpiece showdown with Cork.

It’s 50 years since Down’s first Championship was clinched and it was back in 1994, with current boss James McCartan starring in the red and black, that the Sam Maguire Trophy was last sitting proudly in the Mourne County.

And so for the next few weeks excitement is going to hit fever pitch all across Down — and county chairman Seamus Walsh has lost no time in exhorting fans to get behind the team for the final on September 19.

“Obviously tickets will be the thorny issue but it’s a problem we are happy to have.

“It would be just tremendous if we could recapture the Sam Maguire Cup again almost 50 years to the day that it first came to Down in 1960.

“That would be quite something,” enthused Walsh.

Down will go into that clash with the Rebels as underdogs and as well as that are likely to be turned out in what will be a largely unfamiliar yellow change shirt with Cork, of course, also normally in red.

But as far as victorious skipper Benny Coulter is concerned, it wouldn’t make a difference if he and his team mates had to walk out on the hallowed Croke Park turf wearing no shirt at all!

“It is going to be a good game. They'll be up for it, but we'll be up for it too,” said 28-year-old Coulter, who was superb in taking his team into the decider.

“I think we'll have to switch jerseys but we don't care about that.”

Coulter continued: “At the start of the year we would have played in skins as long we got to the final.”

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