McVeigh wants to get that Cork feeling

DOWN goalkeeper Brendan McVeigh says he’s envious of the Cork footballers who pipped him and his team-mates in last year’s All-Ireland final.

McVeigh said Down would take confidence from last year’s run to the All-Ireland final but, without silverware, it meant nothing.

“We beat some quality sides; Kerry, Kildare, so we’ll take some positives from that. It was a great run, but at the end of the day there’s nothing in the back pocket. You’d be envious of seeing Paul (Kerrigan) there with the Sam Maguire.

Obviously every footballer wants to win an All-Ireland, we’re no different.”

McVeigh described last season as surreal and a roller coaster for Down and added that they’re happy with the season so far.

“At the start of the year our goal was to retain our Division 1 status. I wouldn’t say we did it with ease but we did it with a game or two to spare and at the end we could have made the final if other results had gone our way. If we’d beaten Mayo in our first game, it might have been different.

Right now all focus is on their first round Ulster championship clash with Armagh.

“We were focusing on our own form rather than Armagh’s during the league but you could be the best side in the country and in a derby game you can be turned over. They’re special affairs and anything can happen.”

The Down man admitted he and his team-mates were hoping to collect a couple of big scalps in Division 1.

“It was great to play those sides but we were looking for results and didn’t get one. We were looking to see where we were at and we didn’t get any points. Those were games we could have got points from, which was disappointing.

“(Dublin) was a strange game. After I went off I watched it and it was one we should have closed out. We just fell asleep for the last couple of minutes.”

McVeigh adds that he’s taken some specific lessons from last year himself.

“Kick-outs and stuff, retaining possession. It was something we didn’t look at too much last year and it jumped up and bit us on the behind.

“I’d love to win an Ulster title with Down, it’s 1994 since we won one but you have to buy into the (qualifier) system if you lose. Sometimes you learn more from a defeat so you have to buy into it.”

Having badly bruised the bone of his knee during the Dublin match, McVeigh is expecting to be fit for the match against Armagh.


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