THERE may be no official medical term for an inordinate terror of the sight of a Cork jersey but, if there was, surely the current Down footballers would be diagnosed with a lethal strain of it.
Even Mourne manager James McCartan referred to it ahead of tomorrow's Division 1 league semi-final against the men who have become their real bogey team.
"If you were to dwell on it too long you'd come up with a phobia," said McCartan with his trademark black humour.
"They seem to be able to find our Achilles heel better than any other team, whatever they perceive that weakness to be."
The sides met twice last year, in the league and the All- Ireland qualifiers, and Down would rather erase both from memory.
First day out it was a 3-17 to 0-15 scoreline in Pairc Ui Rinn, then came that 2-20 to 0-14 drubbing in Croke Park.
Things went from bad to worse in this year's league rematch: a 4-11 to 0-10 pasting in Pairc Ui Chaoimh when Paddy Kelly was given the freedom of the park and racked up a hat-trick.
That trio of results is in marked contrast to their 2010 All-Ireland final meeting when Cork nicked it by just a point.
Since then it's been all one-way traffic and the Blood 'n' Bandage brigade have been driving a steamroller.
Quite why Down have become so vulnerable to Cork is a mystery but height and dwindling form since would seem to be part of the problem.
The physical stature of this Cork side means they dwarf most teams and Down, traditionally, have produced small nippy players and also lost a significant few inches with Marty Clarke's return to Australia.
Their joy at making the semi-finals by beating Laois last weekend was surely tempered also by the sight of converted full-back Dan Gordon -- another of their big men -- being helped off after breaking a bone in his foot.
They're also without injured Danny Hughes, the all-action wing-forward whose roving role in 2010 earned him an All Star, but one bonus this year has been the blossoming of Aidan Carr at half-forward.
The defending two in-a-row league champions have had their own problems.
Cork's goal-fest against Down was a one-off and 'inconsistent' is the word most used about the Leesiders this season.
That second-round victory was surely a backlash to that shaky opening-round draw with Armagh but next time out they couldn't find a way to break down Donegal's notorious defence and scored just 0-6.
Kerry also contained them to just 0-11 and Cork only pipped Mayo by a point and got a fortuitous goal to beat the Dubs last week.
In short, they've struggled against teams with a decent defence and Down's has improved radically since the Pairc Ui Chaoimh massacre.
They've only conceded two goals since (to Dublin and Armagh), beat Mayo, Dublin and Laois and only got pipped by Armagh by a point.
McCartan has vowed to "come up with something different," this weekend to try to get the Rebel monkey off their back and defence looks like where they'll start.