Caolan Mooney yet to return to Down training after suffering fractured scull

Paddy Tally's Down side face Leitrim and Louth in their final two Division Three games
Paddy Tally's Down side squandered a glorious chance to earn promotion to Division Two last Spring when they lost their final game to Louth

Down boss Paddy Tally says Caolan Mooney is yet to resume training with the Down football squad after suffering a fractured scull.

Mooney sustained the injury during an alleged assault outside an hotel in Newry on 30 December.

"Caolan is still in the recovery phase after his unfortunate accident," said Tally after Down's win over Offaly.

"He was there today among the squad but he really hasn't done any training. It's in the hands of the medical team."

Darren O'Hagan and Donal O'Hare were late withdrawals from the win in Tullamore which kept Down's promotion ambitions - and hopes of guaranteeing tier-one status for the summer - very much alive.

"Both of them had wee injuries going into today's game and we didn't risk them," said Tally of O'Hagan and O'Hare.

With games against relegation-threatened teams Leitrim and Louth to come, Down go into the penultimate round of fixtures in the second promotion spot - although they are level on seven points with Longford - with Cork looking certainties for Division Two football after winning their opening five matches.

Down host Leitrim on 15 March before an away trip to Drogheda a week later.

Louth look doomed after suffering a fifth straight defeat against Leitrim, who moved to three points alongside Tipperary after their weekend victory.

While Down look in a strong position, Tally says it would be "crazy to think" that they are now favourites to earn promotion.

Tally may also be mindful that Down blew a glorious chance to secure promotion last Spring when losing their final home Division Three fixture against Louth.

"Leitrim got points today and will be spurred on by that. Another win put them up to five points so we'll be taking nothing for granted."

Tally also insisted that Down are putting the issue of their summer championship status to the "back of our minds".

"All we're looking to is the next game. Those things are a consequence of where you finish up in the league."

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