Canty highlights Clarke's influence for Down

Canty highlights Clarke's influence for Down

Cork captain Graham Canty is not surprised that Down are the team providing the opposition in this weekend's All-Ireland SFC final, despite the fact that Mourne men were in the second tier of the National League this season.

"We were in Division 2 last year and it didn't hamper us a whole lot," admitted the Rebels defender.

"From that point of view I'm not surprised a Division 2 team is in an All-Ireland final. I think there are very few bad sides out there.

"Limerick played in the lower divisions of the league this year and had a very decent Championship also.

"Down have a number of very good players too. Benny Coulter has been a class player for the last ten years.

"They have Marty Clarke back this year to reinforce that. He is a huge addition to their senior team."

With the sides meeting for the first time since the 1994 All-Ireland semi-final and none of the same players involved - Canty recognises Sunday's game represents an entirely new challenge.

"It's a final and that brings its own challenges. I think no matter who you play you have to focus on your own performance as well.

"The biggest thing for us is to look after our own shop. We have strengths and we know that we can play well, but we also recognise that we have weaknesses and we will be trying to maximise our strengths and work on our weaknesses."

Canty, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, took a full part in training for Cork on Tuesday night.

He is quietly confident of featuring in the starting line-up for Sunday's game, which will be announced tonight by manager Conor Counihan following training.

"I have done a lot of work with Dr Con Murphy over the last few weeks, and (the injury) have responded very well to it," he said.

Cork have contested two of the last three All-Ireland finals, and while none of the current Down squad have any All-Ireland SFC final experience, Canty is not keen to play up the Rebels' advantage in this department.

"You would be trying to use every advantage that you can," he said.

"We have been lucky enough in that the majority of the players has been involved in finals over the last couple of years. I think also we got a bit of experience from the (Division 1) league final this year.

"But on the day when the ball is thrown in that will count for a bit, but it's not going to count for everything.

"You still have to go out and you still have to make it happen. Down have their own experience as well, like Marty Clarke who was a professional athlete in Australia, so I'm sure he will bring an awful lot to their camp as well."

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