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Down handed a test in the West

Down have been handed a glorious chance of reaching the All Ireland Football Championship quarter-finals now that they have been drawn against a Sligo side that were favourites in the eyes of many to clinch the Connacht title at the expense of Roscommon yesterday.

But Fergal McDonnell’s team produced a magnificent display of skill and courage to take the provincial crown and book their place in the last eight where Down, upbeat following qualifier wins over Longford and Offaly, now hope to join them after their showdown with Sligo next week-end.

And while James McCartan’s side will be cautiously optimistic that they can advance further, Monaghan manager Seamus McEnaney has a massive task on his hands to revive morale following his team’s chastening experience in yesterday’s Ulster final against Tyrone prior to their magnetic clash with Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare next weekend.

Monaghan’s rampant victories over Armagh and Fermanagh in the Ulster championship were rapidly consigned to history yesterday when the side fell apart against a Tyrone outfit that won virtually as they pleased in the end.

“We will be up for this tie with Kildare,” asserted McEnaney.

“We have no intention of walking away from the All Ireland championship on the back of that totally unacceptable showing yesterday.”

Louth, in the spotlight all last week because of the furore that followed their 1-12 to 1-10 defeat to Meath in the Leinster final when referee Martin Sludden erroneously awarded Meath a goal that should not have stood, have been drawn against Dublin and manager Peter Fitzpatrick views this as an opportunity for his side to do their talking out on the pitch again.

“It’s a massive match for us. We have to put the events of last Sunday behind us and show that we are ready for this challenge,” said Fitzpatrick.

Cork, who are still the firm favourites in the eyes of many to land the All Ireland crown, have been drawn against Limerick who lost to Kerry in the recent Munster final clash.

The venues and dates for these round four showdowns will be finalised today by the Central Competitions Control Committee.

Fourth Round: Louth v Dublin, Sligo v Down, Cork v Limerick, Kildare v Monaghan.

Belfast Telegraph

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