LONG-SERVING Down forward Benny Coulter has issued a clarion call to his side to prove they are worthy of their Division 1 status by beating Cork on Sunday.
Having spent over a decade in the Mourne side, Coulter has little to show for his endeavours but insists that, at full strength, the current outfit is still capable of putting it up to the best teams.
"With us in Division 1, people are probably saying that we are not among the best eight teams in Ireland, but we can go some way towards proving we are against Cork," maintains Coulter.
"This is a very tough division with no easy games, but Sunday presents us with the kind of challenge that could reignite our season."
Injury has restricted Coulter's involvement in the league, but he is hoping to get game time against the Rebels.
And he is particularly anxious that Down should avail of the opportunity to further streamline their system of playing, particularly with the championship in mind.
"We don't want to get consumed with trying to stay in Division 1 at the expense of not getting a system of playing in place that will stand to us come the championship," he asserts.
"We must be on our toes from the outset and we will have to show a consistent work ethic. In the last two years we had secured our position in Division 1 before the last two games had been reached, so we maybe thought we were in the comfort zone.
"But that is not the case now. We have to stay very strongly focused if we are to stay in the top bracket."