| 9.1°C Dublin

Aussie Rules ace O'Reilly expects Mourne to land Sam

RICHMOND TIGERS' Irish recruit and former Down player Jamie O'Reilly has tipped his native county not just to beat Kildare in Sunday's All-Ireland SFC semi-final but achieve All-Ireland glory.

The 22-year-old believes Down's good form through the qualifiers will ensure they book their place against Cork in next month's decider.

"I really think they will," O'Reilly says.

"Their form has been improving the whole way through the back door. Kerry was the first big step up and they went out all guns blazing and did it. Now they've got momentum and confidence is high."

It's their 100 per cent record in All-Ireland finals which makes the Australian Rules player confident that the Mourne men can lift Sam for the sixth time in 2010 (previous glories in 1960,'61, '68, '91, and '94).

"With my head and my heart I have to say Down (can win it out). Having said that though, it's all on the day. Cork hasn't played great but they're in an All-Ireland final. They could turn it on, on the day. But Down has never lost an All-Ireland final and they'll want to keep a clean sweep."

According to the former Gaelic footballer, the players' success at underage level will also help them cope with expectations on the big stage.

O'Reilly was part of the Down minor squad that won the All-Ireland final in 2005 - a team that included Marty Clarke.

"These players know what it takes to win something, the work-rate and the training involved. Even though it's just a minor All-Ireland, there are 50,000 people in Croke Park for the last ten minutes of the game so they know what to expect on the big day.

"They know what it's like to have everything on the line so it definitely won't do them any harm.

"When you win an All-Ireland minor at 18-years-old it feels like you've won the senior championship," added O'Reilly.