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Tally puts faith in new line-up to win promotion

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Paddy Tally. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Tally. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Paddy Tally. Photo: Sportsfile

In unleashing a raft of fresh talent into the high pressurised inter-county arena, Down football boss Paddy Tally has certainly shown the courage of his convictions.

As speculation swirled that he might opt to place his faith in a layer of talent from All-Ireland club beaten finalists Kilcoo when they became available, Tally instead has chosen to lean on relatively unknown players to steer his side into a position from which they can launch a bod a place in the National League's Division 2.

Should they win their remaining two matches against Leitrim and Louth, then Down look certain to go up but Tally is taking nothing for granted, particularly in the wake of last year's frustrating failure to take the big step up.

In last weekend's win over Offal,y Ceilum Doherty - who missed much of last year because of injury - was the only Kilcoo player in the Down starting line-up, although Paul Devlin and Aaron Morgan were introduced from the bench.

With Daniel Guinness, Liam Kerr, Johnny Flynn and Shane Annett emerging from the shadows to make a name for themselves, Tally can contemplate the final phase of the league with some confidence.

"I would have to say that the boys we have put in there have been doing a first-class job, to the extent that competition for places has never been keener," Tally said.

"While we are happy with our progress to date, we know we will ultimately be measured on whether we get promoted or not."

With Connaire Harrison having returned from London and re-joined the panel, and Niall Donnelly getting game time again, the Mourne men can look to this additional sliver of experience to bolster their promotion surge.

Both players can expect to get more game time in the final two rounds as Tally begins to fine-tune his line-up for the Ulster Championship.

"We are taking one game at a time right now but we know the Ulster Championship is just over the horizon and that will be a big challenge for us," remarked Tally.

Irish Independent