Down goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh is facing a race against the clock to regain full fitness for the Ulster Championship showdown with Armagh on May 28.
But if the knee injury which has hampered his preparations to date is a source of frustration to the 31-year-old then the challenge of confronting a side which has been one of Ulster’s powerbrokers over the last decade is providing an extra spur in McVeigh’s bid to make the starting line-up.
With the memory of last year’s All-Ireland defeat by Cork still vivid, McVeigh is anxious to see Down go the distance this year.
And there was perhaps a touch of irony surrounding the launch of this year’s Championship in Cork, of all places, yesterday when McVeigh along with Barry Cahill (Dublin), Pauric Joyce (Galway) and Paul Kerrigan (Cork) was among the VIP guests.
“I was very much in enemy territory,” smiles McVeigh.
“But I was very happy to be there nonetheless. Obviously last year is done and dusted in one sense but that defeat still hurts. We now face a test of character in attempting to do better this year.”
Down also have injury concerns over Benny Coulter and Ambrose Rogers.