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Hero Benny Coulter criticises gloomy attitude in Down

By John Campbell

Down icon Benny Coulter has hit out strongly at the "rampant negativity" which he claims has engulfed the county of late.

Coulter, who wore his heart on his sleeve in the dozen years that he graced the famous red and black jersey with considerable distinction, is disappointed with the prevailing mood and believes it's time for players, officials and administrators to focus on the positives.

As the Down county board continue their efforts to come up with a new football team boss ­- former player Michael Walsh (right) is the latest name to have been thrown more forcibly into the frame - Coulter insists there should be a stronger focus on what can be achieved.

"I hear people on all sides expressing concerns about the fact that Down will now be up in Division One in the league and that Monaghan will beat us in next year's Ulster Championship and that we will have to be content with just going through the back door again," fumed Coulter.

"This annoys me greatly. Why should Down not be proud to be in Division One?

"Isn't it a far more enticing prospect to be looking forward to hosting the likes of Dublin, Mayo or Kerry in Pairc Esler than teams who have no appeal or drawing power?

"Let's be sensible about this. The players who got us into Division One worked hard to do so and deserve the maximum support.

"Obviously the hope is that the right manager can be appointed and maybe take the team forward.

"Time is of the essence now and it's only right that there should be movement on this front.

"It will be a big challenge for Down to retain their place in the top bracket but there are an awful lot of counties out there who would just love to be facing this test.

"For a start, there are five Ulster sides in Division Two - do you not think they will be trying their hardest to get into Division One?

"Rampant negativity will get us precisely nowhere so I would appeal to all those with the best interests of Down GAA at heart to get behind the team in the New Year."

With Monaghan, currently one of the strongest sides in Ulster with two titles to their credit in the past three years, in line to meet Down in next year's Ulster series, Coulter insists that a positive attitude is essential if victory is to be achieved.

He added: "I don't think we should have any fears against Monaghan.

"We have decent players and if the new manager can get the right balance within the side, you never know what might be achieved."

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