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Eamonn Burns has no regrets over taking the Down job

By John Campbell

Down manager Eamonn Burns has been left in no doubt as to what his priority is as he contemplates Sunday's must-win league game against Roscommon.

In two matches at home against Donegal and Kerry in a Division One campaign that has brought nothing but heartache to date, Down have scored just seven points from play.

Now, with his side beginning to stare relegation in the face, Burns is conscious that a considerable step up in firepower is essential if any semblance of pride is to be salvaged.

The possible return of ace marksman Donal O'Hare, the encouraging form of the emerging Barry O'Hagan - who landed two fine points from play against Kerry at the weekend - and the industry of Connaire Harrison are plus factors but a fresh injection of morale is essential if the Mournemen are to garner any comfort from the competition.

Despite the setbacks, any notion that Burns has taken on a poisoned chalice in succeeding Jim McCorry has been dispelled by the man himself.

"I don't look at things that way," he insisted. "I played football for this county for many years. It's an honour to manage Down."

While there is no hint of Burns buckling under the challenge, nonetheless he faces a demanding four-week spell.

In addition to Sunday's daunting trip to Roscommon, who have won their last two games in considerable style against Kerry and Cork, Down also have to confront Dublin, Mayo and Cork.

But Burns is looking no further than Sunday's huge test.

Indeed, the Rossies' joint-manager Kevin McStay encapsulated the enormity of the task that awaits the Mournemen when he said: "We have a decent footballing side that possesses a very good skill level.

"Our aim is to play a high-tempo game."

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