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Turley fired up for Games success after Down dismay

By Declan Bogue

Not so long ago, Down's Peter Turley was staring into the Celtic Park turf, wondering how in the space of a few weeks his side had beaten Derry, ran the All-Ireland champions close, and then lost to Derry, all within a dizzying month.

"Gutted at the time," was his recollection.

"I just think it's a shame we had to play Derry in Derry for the second time.

"If we had played anyone else, anywhere else – bar maybe getting Tyrone in Omagh which would have been a really tough game – we would have done ourselves justice.

"Going back up there again we were flat, just dead. We couldn't lift ourselves."

Once you leave the Championship, there is always the consolation of the club to shake you out of your stupor.

Turley also has the added consolation of the World Police and Fire Games and the opportunity of adding to his silverware from two years ago, when his team won the Gaelic football competition.

Played in New York, the competition wasn't anything like Turley was used to in Ulster Championship football.

"In the final the score was 2-10 to no score so it wasn't very competitive at all," he says.

"This year, I think there's only one team that's not from Ireland in the competition.

"It's going to be a whole lot stronger competition.

"I know it's tough, the standard is actually good, a lot of people put in a lot of work for the games."

The Fire Service team that Turley plays on will be fancied once again to defend their title, but they know that they will have their work cut out.

An Garda Siochana are sending a team and are expected to include Westmeath full-forward Denis Glennon among their ranks.

However, the Fire Service's involvement in the Ulster inter-firms league has offered a structured set-up that provides plenty of games for them to knit together as a team.

Under the management of Ronan O'Reilly, that cannot be discounted in assessing their chances.

Playing in a seven-a-side format is not alien to Turley either, given the rich tradition of Down in that form of Gaelic football.

"Down clubs in general have," he says, before adding that his own club Downpatrick wouldn't necessarily share in that.

"We have played in the Kilmacud Sevens a few times but we wouldn't have had much success. We are playing there again this year.

"People would make the point that Down have small forwards but that's why we are good at sevens, it's more about being nippy and skilful, whereas 15-a-side is a lot about strength and conditioning," he adds.

The matches are held at the Dub, the Queen's GAA complex, the group stages taking place yesterday while today sees the open finals, from 10.30am.

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