Down forward Coulter poised to miss Ulster SFC

Down forward Benny Coulter is set to miss the Ulster SFC after suffering a suspected broken ankle in a club game.

Coulter sustained the injury while playing for Mayobridge against Bryansford in Newcastle on Monday.

The loss of the former All Star is a massive setback for the Mourne county ahead of their championship opener against Fermanagh on 3 June.

They also look likely to be without Dan Gordon for the Ulster opener as he is struggling because of an ankle injury.

Gordon picked up the injury in Down's league game against Laois a month ago.

Better news for the Mournemen is that Danny Hughes looks likely to be available for the Ulster Championship opener as he is recovering well from a hamstring injury.

If Down progress they will take on Monaghan or Antrim in the Ulster semi-finals three weeks later.

Down manager James McCartan said that Coulter's injury was "frustrating for us but it's soul destroying for him".

"Benny has been a big player for us for many years," said McCartan.

"It's doubly frustrating for us because we've been trying to be very careful with him throughout the year.

"We didn't start him in certain games as we were trying to keep him fresh for the summer.

"If we can manage to stay in the Ulster Championship, we might see him before it's all over."