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Jim McCorry desperate to stop the rot

By John Campbell

Published 26/06/2015

Mourne boost: Conor Garvey's return to action is welcome news for Down as they prepare to tackle Wexford
Mourne boost: Conor Garvey's return to action is welcome news for Down as they prepare to tackle Wexford

Down manager Jim McCorry is aware that a potential rot could set in should his side lose their important All-Ireland qualifier against Wexford tomorrow.

Having lost to Roscommon in the Division Two Allianz League final and then bowed the knee to Derry in the Ulster Championship, McCorry is facing into a challenging situation as he strives to get his side back on track.

He may have taken his side into Division One of the Allianz League but a 21-year Ulster title famine continues to gnaw at the very fabric of Down football.

And having surrendered any possible claim to provincial glory this year, Down must now begin what could prove a hazardous route through the qualifiers.

If they are still playing championship football in August it will be a decided bonus but McCorry, pragmatist that he is, is focusing no further than tomorrow's tricky mission at Innovate Wexford Park.

"Wexford may have lost to Westmeath in the Leinster Championship but they still have a good balance throughout their side and marquee forwards.

"They also have a tight defence. We are not underestimating this trip in the slightest," said McCorry, who can take heart from his side's feisty second-half performance against Derry when, after losing Conaill McGovern to a red card, they dug deep to offer resilience throughout a final quarter in which they did not quite enjoy a rub of the green.

"We had something like five good scoring opportunities in the closing minutes but they weren't taken. We have done our own analysis on this and we know where we need to improve," added McCorry.

"We can take encouragement from the fact that we were the better team in the second-half - there is no doubt about it, this was a game we could and maybe should have won."

McCorry's resources have been bolstered to some extent for tomorrow's contest by the fact that Ross McGarry, Conor Garvey and Ryan Johnston are fit again.

However, the anticipated loss of experienced duo Donal O'Hare and Aidan Carr, as well as the emerging Gerard Collins, could be felt.

Indeed, Wexford's 1-21 to 0-15 loss to Westmeath should not be allowed to cloud the fact that their side still contains a raft of experienced players including Colm Kehoe, Ben Brosnan, Ciaran Lyng, Brian Malone and Adrian Flynn.

In David Power, the former Tipperary under-age boss, they have a fiercely-driven manager whose passion to see Wexford reclaim the status they formerly enjoyed under Jason Ryan is well-known.

Belfast Telegraph

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