Danny Hughes: "There's definitely a more positive feel about Down"

They play Monaghan in the Ulster Championship on Saturday

BY Simon Maguire 12:54 Saturday 24 June 2017, 12:54 24 Jun 2017

Down's Liam McCrickard in action with Armagh's Sean McCarthy. Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Matt Mackey

Former Down footballer Danny Hughes is expecting a much tighter game between Down and Monaghan when the sides meet in this season's Ulster Championship.

Monaghan cantered to a 2-22 to 0-09 win over their provincial rivals last year but Hughes reckons Down will put up a better fight this time around.  

Speaking to Dave McIntyre on Friday's Off the Ball he said: "I suppose the win against Armagh gave everybody a bit of a lift, including the players.  

"The first time we've had a championship round in Newry since 1999. Although we have had a couple of replays and stuff in subsequent years but it was a great occasion and first round games are all about winning them.

"First half was exciting, second half was very tentative where both teams were nearly, I suppose, afraid of making too many mistakes and losing the game. And, ultimately, I think Down, being a lot better structured at the back, absorbed a lot of pressure from Armagh and broke really well and got the crucial scores."

Looking ahead to the clash, he said: "Monaghan, I wouldn't say they are firing on all cylinders but they're winning the matches and that's all they need to do. I couldn't see Down conceding like they did last year and there's definitely a more positive feel about them." 

You can listen to the full interview here, along with Tom Cribben's preview of Westmeath and Dublin: 

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