Down poised for big London test
Down may have enjoyed an early cruise in the Christy Ring Cup when they demolished Armagh by 6-21 to 0-11 at the weekend, but manager Martin Mallon acknowledges his side will face a much stiffer test against London on Sunday.
Mallon's men left the orchard county sagging against the ropes on a 6-21 to 0-11 scoreline with Daithi Sands grabbing three of their goals, but London's hard-earned 1-20 to 1-18 win over Derry convinces Mallon that the pressure will now be stepped up.
"Obviously we had a comfortable win over Armagh after we got off to a good start," said Mallon with some understatement.
"But the fact that London beat Derry ensures that they will relish meeting us at this point in time."
Down had victory wrapped up at half-time against Armagh when they led by 3-13 to 0-5, but they may find scores more difficult to come by on Sunday.
Even the presence of a battery of Slaughtneil players could not turn the tide in Derry's favour against London, although after a poor first half they managed to get back on level terms at 1-15 each before the Exiles closed the game out.
Tyrone came a cropper against Donegal in the Nicky Rackard Cup, losing by 1-26 to 1-12.
It was former Armagh favourite Declan Coulter in tandem with Ciaran Matthewson who inflicted most damage on the Red Hands.