Injury list grows for Down

Forwards Benny Coulter and Conor Maginn have been added to Down's injury list ahead of their All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Clare.

Forwards Benny Coulter and Conor Maginn have been added to Down's injury list ahead of their All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Clare.

There is concern over the fitness of Coulter and Maginn for Saturday week's clash in Ennis, with both players having picked up hamstring injuries.

Speaking to the Irish News, Down manager James McCartan said: "I'd be hopeful more than confident about Conor. His hamstring tightened against Armagh and he was playing with one leg in the last 10 minutes which didn't help.

"Benny's done some training since the Armagh match, but he certainly hasn't taken full part. We'll assess him over the weekend and see what way he is.

"In a certain way, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. If you don't start Benny and things don't go well, you're a fool. If you do start him and he has to come off, you're a fool - even when the player himself makes the call to come off."

McCartan is already planning without the injured Damien Rafferty, Gerard McCartan, Conor Garvey and Darren O'Hagan, while James Colgan (dead leg) and Paul Murphy (quad) have not trained since the provincial defeat to Armagh.

John Clarke also recently announced his inter-county retirement and last year's captain Ambrose Rogers is still working his way back from surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Rogers has played for his club Longstone in recent weeks and is training with the Down panel, but McCartan conceded that they will have to be 'careful' in managing the midfielder's return to inter-county football.

"Ambrose has been taking part in training and the knee hasn't been swelling up nearly as much. So it's positive, but if you're asking me if he'll be in the squad for the Clare game, it's probably too early to say. At this stage I would say it's unlikely."

Down minor skipper Caolan Mooney has been added to the senior squad and could see action in the qualifiers, before he travels to Australia in a few months' time.

The Rostrevor clubman has signed a two-year international rookie contract with Collingwood, the Melbourne-based club that Martin Clarke played for during his three-year AFL career.

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