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Donal O'Hare challenges Down to maintain high-scoring form

By John Campbell

Donal O'Hare believes that Down will be encountering a wounded animal when they take on pointless Galway in Division Two of the Allianz Football League on Sunday.

The Burren clubman's scoring exploits is one of the primary reasons why James McCartan's team remain unbeaten in the competition and already have the scent of promotion in their nostrils.

O'Hare posted an impressive 1-10 in the 4-16 to 0-9 win over Louth at the weekend, but has already absorbed his manager's mantra in relation to the remainder of the competition.

"James is repeatedly telling us to take one match at a time and not to get too far ahead of ourselves. When you see the way results overall are panning out you can fully appreciate his stance," observes O'Hare.

"While I was pleased to get a few scores against Louth, I thought we put in a great team effort from the word go.

"But at the end of the day it was nothing more than two league points gained, there is still a hard road ahead."

Tuam Stadium, described by Ryan McCluskey as "dire" following Ulster's defeat by Connacht there in the inter-provincial championship final, will be the first port of call on that road.

"Obviously some of the Ulster players were not terribly impressed with the environment but we will just remain focused on our game plan. Galway will feel they have a big point to make in front of their own supporters with some catching up to do but we don't want to take our foot off the pedal," points out O'Hare.

When Down got the better of Armagh at the Athletic Grounds, they did so in horrendous weather conditions and the rain cascaded down again on Saturday night.

Yet the elements are not a major cause of concern to the side according to O'Hare.

"Compared to what we endured against Armagh, it was like the sun was splitting the stones when he played Louth," smiles O'Hare.

"But all credit to the lads. They have been training in these conditions and we aren't fazed by them at this stage. I thought we showed great composure, teamwork and composure in the Louth game."

O'Hare's huge individual contribution was complemented by that of Benny Coulter who, despite having only been on the pitch for 18 minutes, still managed to help himself to two goals.

"That's Benny for you," laughs O'Hare. "I thought he was going to steal my thunder. He's a class act and when you can bring someone from him on from the bench it gives the whole side a great lift. He showed that he still has lots to offer and he's an inspiration to the rest of us."

"The importance of having a strong bench has already been highlighted in the league with substitutes playing important parts in helping sides to get over the line."

Belfast Telegraph


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