Coulter: Downing Cork will help silence critics

Down’s Benny Coulter has called on his team-mates to prove they are worthy of their Division 1 status by beating Cork on Sunday.

Coulter: Downing Cork will help silence critics

“With us in Division 1, people are probably saying that we are not among the best eight teams in Ireland but we can go some way towards proving this against Cork,” said Coulter.

“I would think that we have been in the top bracket for the past two years because we deserve to be there. This is definitely a very tough division with no easy game but Sunday presents us with the kind of challenge that could maybe re-ignite our season.”

Injury has restricted Coulter’s involvement in the league but he is hoping to get game time against the Rebels.

“We don’t want to get totally consumed with trying to stay in Division 1 at the expense of maybe not getting a system of playing in place that will stand to us come the championship,” he said.

“Cork will be even more hungry for points than usual as they will be coming to us against the backdrop of two successive defeats which for them, as league champions for the past three years, is pretty unusual.

“This means we must be on our toes from the outset and we will have to show a consistent work ethic. Cork are big and athletic as well as being extremely skilful.”

Meanwhile, the Cork County Board is understood to be close to agreeing a new sponsorship deal, with online insurance brokers Chill.ie, favourites to join forces with the Rebel hurlers and footballers.

Since the departure of telecommunications giant O2 Cork have been without a main sponsor, but the Irish Examiner understands significant progress has been made in this regard recently.

Cork GAA launched a formal drinks sponsorship last month with Lucozade Sport, while both the senior hurling and football teams have been wearing jerseys emblazoned with the logo of the Mercy University Hospital Testicular Cancer Appeal. Korean car manufacturers Hyundai were believed to be in the frame to take over from O2 but they have since opted to sponsor the Limerick hurlers through the Hyundai Limerick Motor Centre. Cork take on Down this weekend and the Leesiders will again wear the Mercy Hospital jerseys.

Although Down are the home side, they are understood to be facilitating Cork by wearing predominantly black jerseys in Páirc Esler, Newry.

MAYO (SF v Dublin): K O’Malley; C Barrett, G Cafferkey, K Higgins; L Keegan D Vaughan, C Boyle; J Gibbons, B Moran; K McLoughlin, A O’Shea R Feeney; E Varley, J Doherty M Conroy.

WESTMEATH (SF v Galway): G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Gavin, K Maguire; M Curley, D Harte, J Dolan; D Cooroon, J Heslin; G Egan, C McCormack, K Martin; R Foley, C Curley, D Glennon

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