Eugene McGee: Spirit of past glory saves the day for Mourne men
No team has ever won their first All-Ireland and enjoyed such prolific long-term benefits as Down after they beat Offaly in the 1960 final. Not only did they make history with that triumph, they created a legacy that set the template for Down football thereafter, which has resulted in another four All-Ireland titles.
But the Down supporters who had to endure their team's abject performance in the first half against Monaghan in Armagh yesterday must have been shocked to the core, particularly as the only thing in common between this Down side and their former great teams was the colour of the jerseys.
All the characteristics of the excellent Down teams of old were missing -- the razor-sharp tackling of defenders, the nullification of opposing midfielders by breaking the ball when needed and, above all, the crisp attacking play that has made Down so spectacular to watch for neutrals on so many occasions.