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Paul Devlin holds the key to Down's hopes of going up

By John Campbell

Down manager Jim McCorry has reason to be thankful for the versatility that Paul Devlin has displayed to date in the Allianz Football League.

Kilcoo clubman Devlin has played at wing-back, wing-forward and midfield in the Down side's ongoing push for promotion and for tomorrow's must-win battle against Laois he has again been named in the engine-room.

Devlin is expected to be part of a triumvirate that will also include Peter Turley and Kevin McKernan as McCorry seeks to curb the Laois influence in the central area.

The experienced John O'Loughlin and Brendan Quigley form the visitors' durable partnership there and, even though they have gained only five points to date, Laois will come to Pairc Esler, Newry prepared to fight for their Division Two lives.

They are physically imposing, particularly in the middle third of the park and this being the case, possess the ammunition to supply an attack in which long-serving marksmen Ross Munnelly and Donie Kingston are still key figures.

Down had been expected to confirm their arrival in Division One at the expense of Meath last week-end but surprisingly lost by 2-11 to 0-10.

"Meath were more physically powerful than us and lasted the pace better. We want to make sure and go the distance tomorrow. Our destiny is in our own hands," insists McCorry

Devlin's influence in the side this term has been huge, never more so than when he piloted over a last-minute long-range free that clinched victory in the crucial match against Galway. And last week he landed three points from frees against Meath when bolstering the midfield.

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