James Horan and Conor Deegan's verdicts on Down vs Tyrone

Off The Ball preview the Ulster Football Final

BY Raf Diallo 21:00 Thursday 13 July 2017, 21:00 13 Jul 2017

Pictured (L-R) Tyrone’s Peter Harte, Down’s Peter Turley, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and Down manager Eamon Burns ©INPHO/Presseye/Declan Roughan

Down have had their problems when it comes to form in the last few years.

But on Sunday, they will be lining up for an Ulster Football Final against favourites Tyrone.

Down's run to the final has come on the back of a victory over a strong Monaghan side and for ex-Down footballer Conor Deegan feels that performance has given the county a lift and also highlighted an organised setup and added resilience. 

Speaking on Off The Ball alongside former Mayo manager James Horan, Deegan said: "Expectations were a wee bit low but after the Monaghan performance, there's a wee bit of belief back and the county has been lifted by it immeasurably. It's been tremendous. We haven't had it for a while and it has been great. It's been very good and it was unexpected."

But have they got another shock within them when they face reigning provincial champions Tyrone in Clones in the 2pm throw in?

For Horan, there won't be the same "element of surprise" for Tyrone as there was when Monaghan were beaten.

"The element of surprise is gone for Down as well. If Down people didn't expect to be that good or to play that way, Tyrone are seasoned warriors at this stage. They'll be looking at what was strong for Down - they were aggressive, they were fast and they moved the ball quickly - Mickey Harte and his group of players will be sitting down and there's no way that Down are going to be able to do that against Tyrone. There's not. So there will have to something fresh or new or different. They'll need to have a lot more composure and patience than they did," said the former Mayo manager.

Deegan also agrees that "Down will have to bring something completely different because they won't get the same channel to run through" and feels that Tyrone are an even stronger unit than last year.

The full preview is available on the podcast below or alternatively can be streamed/downloaded from iTunes:

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