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Down run riot as Sligo lose mental battle

Sligo's misery at missing out on provincial glory was doubled as Down hammered them by 3-20 to 0-10.

Down boss James McCartan's joy at the win was tempered by concerns about the fitness of two of his key players for next weekend's All-Ireland quarter-final against Kerry.

Defender Damian Rafferty and forward Benny Coulter both picked up injuries, which forced them off during Saturday's clash at Kingspan Breffni Park.

"Damian has an arm injury, and Benny got a kick to the leg," said the Down boss. "It's always a worry when players pick up an injury, and, with only a week until our next match, the two lads don't have much time to recover from their injuries. We won't know until later in the week how the two of them are fixed for next weekend."


McCartan was adopting a very cautious approach after the showdown against Kevin Walsh's charges. "Of course, it's very satisfying at seeing the team put up such a big score and win so comfortably in such an important match," he said.

"But on the other hand it's very easy for players to get carried away in such a situation, so we've got to ensure that we do as much as possible to keep their feet on the ground over the next week.

"It's going to be a huge test for us next weekend and, as well as being physically right for the occasion, we've got to be mentally right."

Sligo boss Walsh said he felt the mental factor played a significant part in his side's failure to get their championship campaign back on track.

"It was definitely more mental than physical for us," he said. "The lads were naturally very down after losing the Connacht final, and it's very hard for players to get themselves mentally right for their next match so soon afterwards."