Paddy Tally didn't want to mention the elephant in the room but after winning a game that could have massive consequences for Down's summer, he could let his guard down.
His team only hit the front for the first time in this huge Division Three derby in Páirc Esler on Saturday night in the 67th minute, and they timed their run perfectly to boost their promotion hopes – and potentially avoid the dreaded Tier Two championship.
“This Tier Two thing is looming and as much as you don't want to talk about it and say to the players it's not important now, all your focus needs to be on the game, you boys in the media and everyone else is talking about it,” admitted the Down boss.
“The players are constantly hearing about it and it is the topic of conversation. But it is a long way away and it's just good to win a mighty game like that.
“It became a game of nerve towards the end and we've been in games where we've put in a big effort and got nothing out of it, so we know how Derry are feeling. They had better scoring chances and if they had got a couple of points we mightn't have got back into it.
“We went down to 14 at a crucial time but we kicked on and played well towards the end.”
Down scored four of the last five points against wasteful Derry. Derry's chief scorer Shane McGuigan hit 0-7 but he also was guilty of a few misses with his colleagues lacking composure inside Down's '45'.
Derry led 0-8 to 0-7 at half time and were the better side in the first half but didn't take their chances and were unhappy the advantage rule wasn't applied when Ciaran McFaul was through on goal.
Down emerged a different side and the introduction of Liam Kerr made a huge difference. He pulled the strings and kicked a brilliant mark as Down grew stronger in the second half. Conor Poland picked up a black card leaving Down with 14 players in the 62nd minute and the Mourne men trailing 0-11 to 0-10.
He had just come back on in injury time when Barry O'Hagan was shown a black card putting Down straight back down to 14 men. Daniel Guinness and Jerome Johnston scored inspirational points to deflate Derry.
Sub Christopher Bradley popped over a point but the visitors, who drew at home against Leitrim last week, ran out of gas.
Scorers for Down: D O'Hare (0-6, 6f), J Johnston (0-2, one mark), C Poland, B O'Hagan, O McCabe, C Quinn, D Guinness, L Kerr (mark) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Derry: S McGuigan (0-7, 4f), C McKaigue, S Downey, B Heron, A Doherty, C Bradley (0-1 each).
DOWN: R Burns; D O'Hagan, B McArdle, R McAleenan; G Collins, K McKernan S Annett; J Flynn, C Poland; B O'Hagan, P Devlin, J Johnston; O McCabe, D O'Hare, C Quinn.
Subs: L Kerr for Devlin (44), P Fegan for McAleenan (49), P Havern for Quinn (51), D Guinness for Collins (55), S Dornan for Johnston (70).
DERRY: O Lynch; C McCluskey, P McGrogan, L McGoldrick; B Rogers, C McKaigue, N Keenan; P Cassidy, E Bradley; S Downey, D Tallon, C McFaul; B Heron, S McGuigan, A Doherty.
Subs: N Toner for Heron (49), R Bell for A Doherty (55), C Doherty for McCluskey (57), C Bradley for Keenan (68), G O'Neill for Downey (70).
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh)