Wednesday 21 March 2018

Benny Coulter’s golden chance to shine for Down in final

Micheal McGeary

Down ace Benny Coulter is convinced that it will take more than a change of colours to stop the Mournemen lifting the Sam Maguire.

The GAA's Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) ruled that Cork and Down will wear alternate colours for Sunday’s All-Ireland football final at Croke Park.

But Coulter playing the best football of his career insists normal service will be resumed against Cork.

“It’s not the colours of the jerseys that will count. It the 15 men Down men on the pitch who can make all the difference.

“I’m not in the least superstitious. You must put all such nonsense to one side and play to your full potential.”

If as expected captain Ambrose Rogers doesn’t start against Cork then Coulter will again lead the side.

But providing Down capture the Sam Maguire for a sixth time, Rogers will be the man to lift the trophy.

The CCCC decided that owing to a colour clash, Cork will wear white jerseys with a red trim, while the Mourne County will wear mainly gold with a red and black trim.

Down wore the same strip when the counties clashed in last year's All-Ireland Under-21 final at Portlaoise.

However, Cork wore their traditional red strip.

Sunday’s decider, will be the first time since the famous 1982 final between Offaly and Kerry that both the finalists have been forced to wear alternative strips.

When Down and Cork met in the 1994 All-Ireland SFC semi-

final, Down wore a gold and black strip, while Cork played in white jerseys.

The last occasion a team in the final wore a change of strip was in the replayed 1996 decider, when Meath donned a gold jersey against Mayo.

On three occasions when Kerry and Mayo met in finals recently - 1997, 2004 and 2006 — Croke Park were happy to let both counties wear their traditional green strip despite the clash of colours.

The interest in the final is phenomenal with bookmakers Paddy Power reporting an increase of 20 per cent takings on last year.

Seventy five per cent of bets so far have been on James McCartan’s side, but Down still remain the outsiders at 15/8 with Cork on offer at 4/7. Cork are one of the great enigmas of the GAA, often touted as champions in waiting but rarely delivering .

Their form so far this season has been patchy while the Mourne men have looked the part.

Victories over both Kerry and Kildare suggest they are now ready to step up and deny Cork.

Belfast Telegraph

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