Devlin rubbishes Down exodus rumours

16 February 2017

Down's Paul Devlin

Down forward Paul Devlin has rubbished suggestions that there has been a mass exodus of players from the county's senior football squad.

There had been talk of a number of players opting off the panel in the wake of the Mourne men’s six-point defeat to Clare last Sunday, which county board chairman Sean Rooney was quick to address earlier in the week.

Devlin has also quashed rumours that a couple of his club team mates in Kilcoo, the reigning county champions, have quit Eamonn Burns’ panel.

"Obviously there has been speculation that players have left the squad and while a few have gone, I think the fact that 30 players were there for training on Monday night just 24 hours after we had returned from the loss to Clare in Ennis speaks for itself," Delvin told the Belfast Telegraph.

"We recognise that Eamonn Burns can only pick 15 starters and while I did not start against Fermanagh or Clare, this has made me more determined to knuckle down and try and win a starting place against Meath.

"I know this applies to other guys as well. It was being suggested that Peter Turley was the latest to leave but he is a fireman and his duties mean that he cannot always make training. He is still involved and that's good because he was one of our better players last year."

He added: "Inter-county football has become much more physically demanding and all the players are aware that they have to be in peak condition. There is competition for starting places and that can only be healthy."

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