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I'd love to take on Armagh, admits Coulter


By Declan Bogue

Two seasons on since he ended his 15 years with the Down senior football team, and Benny Coulter admits that this past fortnight is the only time he has missed inter-county football.

The thought of Armagh coming to Newry for a rare Down home Championship match can do that to a man.

All through Coulter's career, he never once was drawn to play a Championship match in Newry, but did score the winning goal in the 2008 quarter-final replay against Tyrone at that venue.

"This is the first game that I have really, really missed since I retired," the Mourne legend admitted. "I do a column in the Newry Democrat and I wrote that this is the game that has caught me out.

"I would love to be playing in this.

"I haven't really missed it since I have retired, but the build-up to this… it is the first time we have played in Newry for 18 years, so it is going to be a brilliant occasion for everybody and it is the local rivals Armagh too."

As someone who embodied the Down dash and love of football, Coulter is pressed on his lack of appetite, to which he replied: "Honest to God, I haven't missed it at all.

"Obviously I miss the buzz and stuff, but I haven't thought about a game as much as I have this game here. I would love to play in it - the fact of it being in Newry in front of around 16,000."

He continued: "And Down are under pressure.

"I always loved going into games where Down were under pressure to win the game.

"There is a lot at stake here for both teams, on both sets of players to win and that pressure is something I am really missing."

Coulter observes that if he was starting out in his career again, he wouldn't choose to be a forward playing in the inside line.

"That's the way the game is going. If an inside forward is getting three points from play now they are doing well," he said.

"There is too much zonal marking and crowding out defences.

"You will see it more and more in this year's Championship, your wing-half backs and centre-backs do most of the scoring."

Armagh (v Down): B Hughes; J Morgan, C Vernon, P Hughes, A McKay, B Donaghy, M Shields; S Sheridan, N Grimley; A Forker, O O'Neill, R Grugan (capt); J Clarke, S Campbell. A Murnin.

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