Duffin embracing the difficulties of life in Division Two

By Shaun Casey

FOLLOWING three seasons in charge of Loughinisland, Kevin Duffin is now leading the way with RGU Downpatrick in Division Two and while he admits the standard is certainly different, he’s enjoying his first year in charge.

“There’s a brave change between Division One and Division Two, RGU have been in Division Two for a couple of years,” said Duffin.

“It’s different in terms of quality, it’s different in terms of opposition, availability of players.

“RGU have quite a number of men missing at the minute through county and injuries.

“You’re actually against the wall a lot of the time because you are struggling for numbers and you’re kind of limited in terms of what you can do.

“It’s been enjoyable but difficult and it’s very, very different than Division One.

“It’s just got a different set of problems and different things that you have to improvise with and get round.”

With Down knocked out of the Ulster Championship, the county men will return to club action this weekend but unfortunately for Duffin and Downpatrick, Caolan Mooney and Anthony Doherty are both out injured.

“Two out of the three men that we have on the county are injured,” added Duffin.

“Gerard Collins has been sort of present for us, he’s been released to play. So, we’ve been fortunate that way, but I think everybody’s been released to the clubs this week.”

Downpatrick currently sit in fifth position ahead of their round five clash with Longstone and the division has been fiercely competitive. One point separatea first and sixth place in the table and each team has lost at least once.

“I think it’s strange, it’s nearly easier in Division One to go on a stretch of games and win a few games on the bat than it is in Division Two. Everybody’s capable of beating each other for some reason and I haven’t quite put my finger on it just yet,” Duffin added.

“I don’t know if it’s potentially weaker teams putting all their eggs in one basket and really getting geared up to take a scalp. In Division Two, teams that maybe see themselves as inferior to a lot of other teams.

“Saul beat us in the second match of the league by a point and then the following week, St John’s, who are just out of Division Three, beat Saul. So, it’s really hard to put your finger on but it is very, very tight.

“It might be a case of three or four points splitting nearly three quarters of the league in six or eight weeks. Possibly, if you get to July at the turn of the leagues and the county set-ups have quit and everybody has their players back.

“Just with men being missing, injuries, poor playing conditions, all those things have an effect.

“But I can’t quite put my finger on it, and it’s extremely tight certainly in Division Two at the minute,” the manager added.

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