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Paddy Tally takes heart as Down's options improve

 

On song: Conor Maginn can help fire up Down
On song: Conor Maginn can help fire up Down

By John Campbell

Down manager Paddy Tally is inching towards formulating a settled side which might ensure that they retain their place in Division Two of the Allianz Football League.

The notion that Tally had over-indulged in introducing novices began to take shape when his side fell victims at home to Laois in their first outing, but back-to-back wins over Sligo and Westmeath which saw a greater infusion of experienced heads pepper the line-up have reignited the flame of hope.

Now, as Tally sets his sights on Down's next outing against unbeaten Longford, a battery of more familiar faces is likely to dot his side.

Jerome Johnston, Connaire Harrison, Conor Maginn, Daniel Guinness and Conor McGrady were introduced from the bench in Saturday's heart-stopping 0-10 to 0-9 win over Westmeath and now Tally is confronted by interesting selection choices for the all-important away clash with Longford.

"We knew that Westmeath had gone something like eight matches undefeated so we expected nothing less than a tough test," reveals Tally.

"It was good to see Conor Maginn in particular coming back in there again.

"The boys who came off the bench changed the game significantly. The important thing for us now is to get others back from injuries so that we will have greater resources going into the second half of the league."

Meanwhile, Antrim manager Lenny Harbinson is hoping to introduce some of the St Enda's players to his squad as he prepares for what will be a difficult challenge ahead in Division Four.

Antrim are still pointless after three games and Harbinson is hoping to amend his side for the four games that lie ahead.

Odhran Eastwood, who was outstanding for St Enda's in their defeat to Kilcummin in Saturday's All-Ireland club final, would certainly add pep to the Antrim attack while Peter Healy and skipper James McAuley are also likely to be summoned into the county squad.

Antrim have lost to Derry, Wexford and Leitrim and the galling thing for Harbinson is that the losses to Derry and Leitrim were by one-point margins.

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