Conor Maginn relishes chance to upset Tyrone
Down's disappointing end to their Allianz League campaign provides a big spur for the side to make an impact in the Ulster senior football championship, in which they will meet Tyrone on Sunday week.
Conor Maginn, a key forward in the side, is in no doubt about that and further believes that his side are capable of shocking the Red Hands on their own Healy Park turf.
"We were certainly depressed by the manner in which we finished the league with those back-to-back defeats against Laois and Meath which were hard to take, but we have put those out of our system now and we're just focused on the championship," asserts Maginn.
"Our training has obviously been stepped up and it has been very good to date. There is a great spirit within the squad and while Tyrone are always a difficult side at home, we won't fear them. We want to be in the best shape possible to meet them."
Down manager James McCartan will be without Kalum King, Connaire Harrison, Danny Savage, Ryan Mallon and Darragh O'Hanlon while veteran duo Dan Gordon and Liam Doyle are not expected to be involved in the initial stages of the championship.
Maginn, though, takes a pragmatic view of Down's resources for what is their most important match of the year to date.
"Every county has injuries and you can't complain about them all the time. We're happy with the squad we have going forward and we have confidence in our own ability," maintains Maginn.
As an ever-present during the league, Maginn cemented his role within the side and will play a key part in manager McCartan's strategy.
Clever in his link play, subtle with his distribution and a capable finisher, Maginn is viewed as the complete forward, someone who brings an extra dimension to the attack.
He expects to have his work cut out for him, though, against a sharp-tackling Tyrone defence which manager Mickey Harte is exhorting to become much more frugal in the amount of scores that it concedes.
"Tyrone are one of the top teams around and they are coming off the back of a campaign in Division One of the league," points out Maginn. "They are going to represent a tough task for us especially as they will be at home. But we are looking forward to it."
Maginn's penchant for pilfering important scores – he scored a goal in the drawn league game against Ulster champions Monaghan – further underlines his value but he suggests that Down now have a wider spread of players who can finish competently.
"We have boys who can take scores from all angles and distances and that could be a big help in Omagh," he adds.