BBC coverage a positive reflection on Down hurlers says Sheehan

National Hurling League Division 2A
Down v Kerry
Saturday, Ballycran, 2pm

By Shaun Casey

DOWN’S crucial clash with Kerry will be streamed live on the BBC iPlayer this weekend, which is “indicative of the improvement that Down hurling has made” according to their boss Ronan Sheehan.

“It’s just probably a pity it’s the week that it is given there’ll be no pre or post-match interviews given the situation with the GPA,” he said.

“In that regard, the week is less than ideal. But outside of that, the games going to be broadcast, people are going to get the opportunity to see the game. Even for people down in Kerry who will be able to watch it as well.

“I think it’s indicative of the improvement that Down hurling has made that we’re being seen as a group of players that people would like to watch and as a consequence, getting that opportunity of being on the BBC iPlayer.”

“We’re hoping for a big crowd there as well, a lot of effort is going in to make sure there’s a big crowd of juvenile’s in particular at the game. It should be a great atmosphere and hopefully the people sitting at home can enjoy the game as well.”

Down hurling has made massive strides in recent seasons, and they have two bites of the cherry to make the league final.

Win this weekend and they’re straight into the decider. If not, then they still have the chance to progress through the semi-finals.

“We’ve had some great support there from our county board, particularly our county secretary Sean Óg McAteer, David Cahill the treasurer, Jack Devenney the chairman,” Sheehan added.

“They’re very keen that Down push on and we’re seen very much as a dual county. We’re performing well, we stayed in this division last year and we were delighted with that.”

“This year we targeted to stay in the division, number one. But then to try and reach a league semi-final and see where that takes that.”

The Mourne men will enjoy home advantage this weekend as well, which is “massive” for Sheehan’s men as he feels the long journey could disrupt Kerry’s preparations.

“Unfortunately, we ended up losing to Kildare by a point a couple of weeks ago, a game that we actually dominated, and we shouldn’t have lost.”

“That was the first time that I’ve lost as Down manager in Ballycran, so we have a very good record there going back a number of years, not just when I was manager.”

“We went to Kerry last year twice and the journey itself is disruptive. Okay you can stay overnight, but lads aren’t staying in their own beds, they aren’t as relaxed, so it is an advantage and it’s something that we’re hoping to make pay on Saturday.”

Kerry won both those outings last season, in the league and the Joe McDonagh Cup, but Sheehan insists that last year’s results mean little this weekend.

“Teams change, we would like to think we’re a better team than we were this time last year. But I suppose we won’t be long finding out what the real story is on Saturday.”

READ MORE – Down’s dual issue on busy weekend. Click here…

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