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’Frightening’ training reaps rewards for Down

By John Campbell

Long-serving wing-forward Danny Hughes has pinpointed what he believes is the reason for Down’s stunning renaissance in Division One of the National Football League.

Ten days ago, James McCartan’s side looked destined to become involved in a relegation dog-fight but back to back wins over Mayo and Dublin have suddenly projected the Mourne side into the reckoning for a place in the last four of the competition.

Saval clubman Hughes has been in the team for over a decade and suggests that the level of intensity in training just now is “frightening.”

And he predicts that this will stand to Down as they prepare to face neighbours Armagh in what is a crucial tie on Saturday night at the Morgan Athletic Grounds.

“I have not known training to be at this level of intensity with Down up until now — it’s positively frightening — but we are certainly reaping the benefits of it,” says Hughes. “Our in-house matches are fiercely competitive and this is helping to bring that extra edge to our games in the league.

“We are also getting the ball into the forwards more quickly and this is helping a lot.”

Manager McCartan has tweaked his side considerably of late and against Dublin they produced arguably their most complete performance for some time.

“Yes, everyone pulled their weight and worked their socks off,” added Hughes.

“When Dublin attacked we had players dropping back and when we went forward there were always plenty of players up in support. This calls for a lot of energy but I think our work on the training ground is being seen to good effect.

  • Football legend Jim Stynes has died after a long and brave battle with cancer.

The Dublin man was only 45 when his extraordinary two-and-a-half year fight ended.

He passed away with wife Sam and children Matisse and Tiernan by his side.

He made an indelible mark on the Aussie game by becoming the first international player to claim the prestigious Brownlow Medal.

Stynes was also an Order of Australia recipient and a Victorian and Melburnian of the Year.

Belfast Telegraph

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