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New faces can do big job for Down: Tally

 

Tough test: Paddy Tally is wary of Tipperary threat
Tough test: Paddy Tally is wary of Tipperary threat
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Down boss Paddy Tally was understandably gutted when his side just lost out to Armagh by a single point after extra-time in their Ulster Championship quarter-final meeting last month.

Yet although the red card shown to Caolan Mooney was one element of the game that disappointed Tally, he believes he has his side firing on all cylinders again for tomorrow's All-Ireland qualifier against Tipperary at Newry (2pm).

Mooney will be an absentee but Tally's faith in his mix of old and new faces is such that he sees the game as a precursor to an encouraging run in the qualifiers.

"We had a number of players who made their Championship debuts against Armagh and none of them looked as if they were out of place," declared Tally.

"That has to be encouraging going forward. The new guys acquitted themselves very well against Armagh and there's no better environment in which to gain experience than in the Championship. They can do a big job for us."

Kevin McKernan, Donal O'Hare, Jerome Johnston, Conor Maginn and skipper Darren O'Hagan are poised to bring their experience into play again while Ruairi Wells, Daniel Guinness, Conor Francis and Pat Havern can gain another valuable ration of Championship action.

And while Down bid to get back on the rails, Antrim will also be in search of redemption when they meet Louth tonight at Drogheda (7pm).

Saffrons boss Lenny Harbinson has named an unchanged side which means that Ryan Murray and Matt Fitzpatrick along with Patrick McBride will again be key figures in attack with Ricky Johnston and skipper Declan Lynch shoring up the defence.

Louth came close to getting promoted from Division Three and with home advantage they will provide a big obstacle to Antrim's hopes of making progress.

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