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Coulter praying he’ll play part in Ulster campaign

By John Campbell

In 12 years Benny Coulter has never missed an Ulster Championship or All-Ireland Qualifier match in which Down were engaged.

And that’s what serves to heighten his frustration at missing the team’s quarter-final against Fermanagh on Sunday week because of the serious ankle injury he sustained in a club game three weeks ago.

It was initially revealed that Coulter would play no part whatsoever in the provincial series but today could provide a glimmer of hope for the long-serving Mourne star.

He will receive the results of the most recent detailed scan of his injury and is keeping his fingers crossed that this might offer him some form of consolation.

“I am gutted to be missing this game against Fermanagh. It’s all a bit weird at the minute, I’m not up for the Championship and that’s not like me,” says a bitterly disappointed Coulter.

Despite rendering magnificent service to his county, Coulter has never won a championship medal.

Two National League honours, sharing in success with the International Rules team, a shoal of individual honours, an Allstar award and a haul of medals with his club Mayobridge fail to provide Coulter with adequate compensation for the absence of championship gongs.

“I know that a lot of players have given great service to their counties and have little or nothing to show for their efforts”, points out Coulter.

“But I would just love to think that this Down side could come good in the Ulster Championship. We have not won a provincial title since 1994 and there are boys like Danny Hughes, Dan Gordon, Liam Doyle and others still in there who have toiled hard without having anything to show for their efforts — I am not the only one by any means.”

Down manager James McCartan shares Coulter’s hopes that he might be available later in the Championship.

“Benny Coulter owes Down football nothing. Few players have given their counties better service and it’s a great pity that he has not been able to share in Championship success. He is a tremendous role model and we all want to see him fully fit and back in action again,” says McCartan.

“I would hope that the results of this scan will give Benny renewed encouragement and provide the catalyst for his speedy recovery. Benny is a huge favourite with Down fans — indeed, his skills are appreciated by followers of the game throughout the country as a whole.”

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