Burns is a major boost to Down's promotion drive, maintains Tally
Down manager Paddy Tally believes he has found a rare nugget in goalkeeper Rory Burns.
In what was the Mourne County's most high pressure game to date this year against unbeaten Longford in Division Three of the Allianz League, Burns produced a top-class display that included a save from a penalty as well as some spectacular acrobatic stops.
For a team that has in the recent past been conceding too much, the emergence of Burns as a goalkeeper of real quality is viewed as a decided bonus by Tally.
"Rory did very well against Longford, who have been setting the pace at the top of the table, and he is providing inspiration to our defence and indeed our whole team," said Tally. "With games being decided by fine margins for the most part it's important that we don't concede scores too easily."
While Burns was thwarting Longford at one end of the pitch, Donal O'Hare was breaking their hearts with a three-goal blast at the other.
The Burren clubman only recently returned to Down's colours but has already made a decided impact.
O'Hare's significant contribution against Longford inspired his colleagues, and there was yet another plus factor for Tally when Conor Maginn, Jerome Johnston and Benny McArdle were among those who came off the bench to help close the game out.
"We have been in the process of bringing back boys who have been injured or unavailable for other reasons and this is helping to give the side a more seasoned look overall. We certainly won't get complacent, though, because there are still difficult matches to come," asserted Tally.
Down will face Offaly, who are currently struggling, at Pairc Esler, Newry on Saturday night, and victory in this game would take them a significant step closer to promotion to Division Two as there would then only be two rounds of league fixtures remaining.