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Down fired up for shot at revenge in showdown with Cork

By John Campbell

When Cork overcame Down in last year’s All Ireland final, the Mournemen felt they did not quite do themselves justice.

Nor did they think that while 2011 was still in its infancy they would get the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge for that setback.

But when the sides renew their rivalry in Division One of the Allianz Football League next Saturday, Down will be comforted by an unbeaten stint in the competition to date.

Wins over Armagh and Galway and a draw against Mayo see James McCartan’s side tucked in behind unbeaten Dublin in second place in the table with Cork, who have four points so far having lost to the Dubs, trailing in their slipstream.

“This is the first of some very big tests which lie ahead of us. We have to play Dublin, Kerry and Monaghan over the next few weeks and this shows just how difficult it is going to be for us to pick up further points,” says McCartan.

Yet even though players like Daniel McCartan, Damien Rafferty and Brendan McArdle are absent from the defence, Down still carry a formidable look.

McCartan has been using his substitutes’ bench judiciously lately and now players like Paul McComiskey, Ronan Murtagh and Conor Laverty are pushing for starting places while Conor Garvey is easing himself back to full match fitness via cameo roles.

Cork will still be missing the suspended Noel O’Leary while a few other members of their All Ireland winning side are still out of the big picture but they continue to carry a huge scoring threat up front where Donnacha O’Connor, Daniel Goulding, Pearse O’Neill and the impressive Paddy Kelly combine to form a potent threat.

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