Down v Kerry
It’s a quirk of the fixtures that the top two teams of the Christy Ring Cup should meet in the opening round.
Kerry, under new manager Tom Howard, try to reclaim the title for the first time since 2011 while home side Down lie in wait. Although there is a back door, neither team will want to visit it.
Under John Meyler two years ago, Kerry had a lucky escape, winning after extra time. So the experienced Tom Murnane, Paud Costello, John Griffin, Aidan Boyle and Shane Nolan will be wary of this Down team, who have top forwards in Gareth ‘Magic’ Johnson, Paul Branniff, Michael Ennis and James Coyle.
On league form, Kerry would be favourites as they won four of their five games in a higher division, losing only away to Laois, and only missed out on the final on points difference. Down, in Division 2B, finished only third but welcome back some of their star players who did not play in the league.
“We know its going to be a huge challenge,” said Kerry boss Tom Howard.
“We know what’s in front of us and it’s about being as good as we can be and respecting the opposition and knowing that it takes you’re very best to come out of Newry with a result.”