Steven Poacher has tipped Down to make “a quick return” to Division 2 of the Allianz Football League under new manager Paddy Tally.
Tally was ratified as Eamonn Burns’ successor in August following the latter’s decision to step down after the team’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier defeat to Cavan.
Carlow coach Poacher, who will be coming up against the Mourne men next season in Division 3, sees his native county as firm favourites for promotion given the new man at helm and the talent at their disposal.
"I think Down will be the team to beat in Division Three of the league next year. You can make the argument that Down are not really a Division Three team. I feel that from a talent perspective Down really should not be where they are,” Poacher told the Belfast Telegraph.
"I feel that Down are a top twelve team and I think they can make a quick return to Division Two.
"The right man is there now and he will have them well organised. He will have them well fired up, too, and I sense that they will be difficult to beat."
He added: “Everyone knows the style of football that Paddy favours and this actually suits the time of the year at which the Allianz League is played. Paddy was with Galway before becoming Down boss and he has achieved success everywhere he has gone. He won the Sigerson Cup with St Mary's a couple of years ago and his successful involvement in football really started when he was trainer of the 2003 Tyrone All-Ireland winning side."
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