By Shaun Casey
THE Ulster derbies are coming thick and fast in Division Three. Fresh off the back of a smash and grab victory over Antrim, Down take on Fermanagh this weekend with the aim of extending their winning streak, while a clash with Cavan is coming down the tracks as well.
“You have four Ulster teams in this league, it’s a very, very tough league,” said Down defender Ryan Magill.
“People are maybe looking down on it but we’re lucky to get two points every week if we work hard and just play our best.”
It’s been a brilliant start to Conor Laverty’s time in charge of the Mourne men, who showed incredible character to see off the Saffron’s, coming from five down to nick a one-point win.
“We played well in the end, but we know we can be so much better. It was good, we showed character, but we shouldn’t have had to show character in the first place,” added the Burren clubman.
“We were slow out of the blocks, and we conceded two poor goals but onwards and upwards, another two points.
“I never felt the game was gone, we know we have players to pull us back into it and we defended well so the game was never gone.
“Antrim are a very good side but as long as we work hard, we believe in ourselves, and we have good work in our legs so hopefully that’ll take care of it.
“We’ve done plenty of work, but I’d say a lot of counties have done the same work. It’s about grit and determination, you just have to bite down on the gumshield and go for it.”
Magill believes the buzz is back in Down football following a forgettable 2022 and the support and squad depth is hugely important for the remainder of the season.
“It’s good to have a buzz back in Newry. That helps us, you’re three or four points down and you hear the crowd cheering you on, it always gives you a wee extra buzz.
“We’ve great squad depth, I feel like we have a squad that can push on and just keep building on two points.
“We have a great squad and as long as everyone works hard in the 30 and then the extended squad, we’ll be alright hopefully.”
It’s all about gathering another two points this weekend and remaining at the top of the division. “We were very calm (at half time against Antrim).”
“There was no need to go roaring and shouting because we know how good we can be, and we didn’t really show it, but a bit of hard work and we got there.
“Any team should have a bit of steel about them, we’re nothing special, we just want to work hard and see where that brings us.
“We just want two points every week and if we get it, we get it and if we don’t, we’ll go back to the drawing board. Two points is two points, so we have four on the board and we’re just looking to get another two.”