Neptune welcome back Downey for relegation showdown with Lions

Neptune welcome back Downey for relegation showdown with Lions
Roy Downey shoots over Brandon Watts and Girts Lazdans. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

C &S NEPTUNE welcome back Roy Downey for tonight’s crucial relegation/promotion play-off against Dublin Lions at Carlow IT.

Downey missed the final four games of the league, but intense treatment ensured he will be available for selection.

Neptune finished bottom of the Super League with Dublin Lions losing the Men’s Division One league final.

It has been a tough season for the Blackpool outfit but coach Paul Kelleher believes his side can avoid the drop to division one with a win.

“We were competitive in the majority of our games throughout the season but sadly when the physicality stakes kicked in we were found wanting,” said Paul Kelleher.

Coach Kelleher is very aware that Dublin Lions have a useful side and has urged his player not to be complacent.

“The bottom line is that Dublin Lions defeated Ballincollig in Cork and make no mistake if we are not in their faces from tip-off they have the ability to hurt us,” added Kelleher.

Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry
Picture: INPHO/Oisin Keniry

Neptune will have to improve in defence for this crucial game as they have been poor in that department this season.

American Lehmon Colbert will need to dominate the boards as the Lions American Conroy Baltimore will hurt his team.

Baltimore totally demolished Ballincollig in the league semi-final playoff and is a serious threat to Neptune if afforded similar room around the boards.

The mood in the Dublin Lions camp is positive as coach Rob White looked forward to his side measuring their progress against Neptune.

“We will have to produce a season-best to get promoted but in one-off games, form sometimes goes out the window and we have the ability to upset the Neptune free-flowing game,” said Rob White.

The Lions chief is delighted with the progress his side made as the season matured.

“The young lads have got more confidence and when we signed Conroy (Baltimore) at Christmas he has given us more power on the boards that I hope he can produce in this crucial game,” added White.

It will be a farewell game for Darragh O’Sullivan and Cian Heaphy as both players are scheduled to leave for the States in the summer.

The Neptune stalwarts Ger Noonan and Gary Walsh will have crucial roles to play in this game as their experience of playing in the Super League could hurt the Lions.

Adam Heaphy, who spent many games on the bench, has suddenly worked his way into playing big minutes and he is sure to play decent minutes.

Dublin Lions will fancy their chances of toppling Neptune but for me, the Blackpool side have too many weapons and will survive the dreaded drop.

Verdict: C & S Neptune.

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