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Down’s young talent but lack of evolution v physical Fermanagh

Steven Poacher previews the clash of his native Down against Ryan McMenamin’s Fermanagh side in the Ulster championship

Steven Poacher previews the clash of his native Down against Ryan McMenamin’s Fermanagh side in the Ulster championship.

BY GERARD BROWNE
Steven Poacher would like to see Down play a more attacking style of Football.

Down begin their Ulster championship campaign against Fermanagh on Sunday, fresh from promotion to Division Two of the league.

Paddy Tally’s side were the lowest scorers in Division Three, and Poacher would like to see his native county focus more on attacking play ahead of the trip to Brewster Park.

“We do have serious attacking forwards within the county but we are playing a very cautious brand of football,” he says.

“I think we need to play on the front foot more. I’d love to see the shackles taken off a bit.

“I want to see a performance where Down are kicking 2-13, 2-14 or 2-15 at the weekend.”

Despite little underage success in recent times, Down are still producing great prospects.

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Shane Annett and Shealan Johnston both featured recently versus Louth, after impressing in this year’s club championship.

Poacher is excited by these players, describing them as “serious talent, with no fear”.

The Mourne County have injury concerns ahead of Sunday, as experienced defender Darren O’Hagan will miss the game.

The ex-Carlow coach believes Caolan Mooney’s influence will take on more significance.

“He’s just got blistering pace. He processes so much power and pace that it is very difficult to keep a handle on him,” Poacher adds.

“I think back to last year’s qualifier vs Mayo and a couple of times he just burst through the middle and it’s physically impossible to stop him.”

Down’s defence doesn’t concern Poacher, as they had the best defensive record in Division Three.

The Newry native is worried about their midfield though and feels it’s still an area that Tally needs to work on.

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“We haven’t settled on two midfielders in the past two year,” Poacher observes.

“It’s an area Down have struggled in over the years.

“If we can win the battle in midfield and get that ball quickly into the forward line, then I can see us causing Fermanagh serious problem”.

The Erne County will be swapping places with Down in the league ladder after their relegation from the second tier.

Ryan McMenamin’s charges collected only two points in the league but have gained a reputation for being a hard side to break down.

Poacher expects the 2018 beaten Ulster finalists to be very organised.

“There still well defensively set up and will crowd that space around the middle,” the Down minor coach continues.

“They like to keep long possessions of the ball and that can frustrate the life of the opposition”.

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