Five matches isn’t a statistically significant sample, yet can anyone say with a straight face that there’s no pattern in Down’s record against Kerry? Yes, Kerry are on the way down (pun unintended) after a stellar decade, but that didn’t stop them going toe-to-toe with a Cork team that is supposedly on the way up and coming out ahead after 160 minutes of football. But could you imagine, say, Mayo dispatching even a declining Kingdom with such aplomb?
It’s that sense of comfort from history, or more pertinently lack of comfort, that will linger over the buildup to next Sunday. We have a decent recent record against Tipperary . . .
. . . and while the less said about our overall record against them the better, we have no reason to fear Tipperary in the way that, er, Kerry would fear Down. The fear comes from our semi-final performances . . .
. . . which have been woeful. Then again, our one win has been against Tipperary. Whatever happens, we should be taking inspiration from Down. Minnows of Ireland unite, you have nothing to lose but your mental chains.