Down won't be overawed
All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship quarter-final
Down v Clare
Saturday, Cusack Park, Mullingar, 2pm
Down’s first minor title in 18 years may appear to have come out of the blue, but according to midfielder Lorcan McMullan, their championship victory over Antrim was the culmination of three years’ work.
The Ulster champions now face Clare on Saturday at Mullingar in the All-Ireland quarter-final with a semi-final against Dublin the prize for the winners.
The Bredagh clubman is one of a number of players who have been on the squad since 2010 and although championship exits at the semi-final stage in the past two seasons wouldn’t have filled the Down faithful with confidence, McMullan kept faith that a breakthrough would be made this year.
“Three years ago was the start of the process, when (manager) Fergus Cooper took over. There are four or five boys who have been there for the last three years and this was our ultimate aim, to go far with this team because we knew this was going to be our strongest year,” said McMullan.
“The last two years were disappointing, we got to the (Ulster) league final those two years, but the league can be deceptive. We got put out in championship semi-finals both those years, but there’d been problems with the panels.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday July 26. Buy your copy now in your local newsagent, or you can purchase the online version – for only 90p – by clicking here