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Stephen Keith is out to emulate his father Noel Keith with Down

By John Campbell

Stephen Keith is hoping to follow in his father's footsteps by helping to bring Down up in the hurling world. Noel Keith was regarded as one of the top three keepers in the country in the early '90s when he formed a stubborn last line of defence for the Mourne County. Such was his prowess, he represented Ulster on several occasions and won a number of individual awards for his endeavours.

Now son Stephen has assumed an important role in a Down side anxious to take another step towards promotion when they confront Wicklow in Division 2B of the Allianz League on Sunday at Pairc Esler, Newry (2pm).

Keith jnr appears to have inherited his father's shot-stopping skills as well as his passionate commitment to the county cause.

Down overcame Armagh by 2-16 to 2-14 last Sunday when Chris Egan and Conor Woods scored their goals and Danny Toner chipped in with six points but their defence came in for sustained pressure from a lively Armagh attack with Keith forced to make a number of fine saves.

Manager Michael Johnston clearly sees Keith as a central figure in the team's bid to reach the higher bracket.

"I believe that Stephen is a very good goalkeeper and players like him are a rare breed in hurling," said Johnston.

"We are fortunate in that Scott Nicholson is playing very well at midfield and people like Conor Woods and others are continuing to give us the benefit of their experience.

"We have a very tricky game against Wicklow before we meet the likes of Donegal, Mayo and Meath. These are three teams who can be very difficult to beat because of the way they set up. Still, there is a national divisional title to be won and we have our hearts set on getting it.

"But it's one game at a time as the league can be a minefield."

Belfast Telegraph


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