Monday 20 November 2017

McCartan backing fired-up home crowd to give Down the edge in replay

Down manager James McCartan dejected late in last Sunday's game against Tyrone
Down manager James McCartan dejected late in last Sunday's game against Tyrone
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

James MCCartan will be looking to Pairc Esler and the Down supporters to provide an added impetus to his side's effort as they attempt to dump Tyrone out of the Ulster championship in the first round replay in Newry this evening (6.30).

Down came within seconds of pulling off the first big shock of the championship in Omagh last Sunday, but had to settle for a replay after Tyrone captain Sean Cavanagh kicked the equalising free.

It was disappointing for Down, who had pegged back a seven-point second-half deficit to open up a two-point advantage late on, but despite being caught on the finish line, McCartan believes the momentum is now very much with his side. "We'll be feeding off the energy we got in the second half (last Sunday) and hope to make it count in Newry. We've been hard to beat there over the last four or five years. Newry is going to be rocking, so bring it on," said the Down manager.

Two other Ulster heavyweights will be in action in Celtic Park tomorrow (2.0) when Derry host Donegal in an eagerly awaited quarter-final. Donegal have lost only one game in the last three Ulster championships, but are outsiders against a Derry side that ran an excellent league campaign before being well beaten by Dublin in the final.

After reaching the Connacht final for the first time last year, London will be hoping to build on their much-improved championship status when they play Galway in Ruislip tomorrow (3.0).

In hurling, Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald will be keeping a close eye on Semple Stadium, Thurles, tomorrow when Cork and Waterford clash in the Munster quarter-final (4.0). The winners will take on Clare in the semi-finals on June 15.

The line-up for the Leinster quarter-finals will be decided tomorrow when Laois play Antrim in Portlaoise (3.0). The winners will play Wexford, while the losers will face Galway tomorrow week.

Irish Independent

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