Where to start?

Well, Down went into this game with a severely weakened team.
The easy option would have been to concede the McClements Cup tie before a ball had been struck in anger and allow the Tyrone side to book its place in the quarter-final by failing to field.

But Down refused to do that. They had the courage to face-up to the Junior One league leaders who were led by the inspirational Martin Sloan, one of the most capped played in Irish hockey.

His collection of caps is close to the 150 mark and he proved on Saturday that he has lost none of the guile and the skill that made him one of the most feared players in senior hockey on both sides of the border.

Surrounded by a number of other experienced campaigners and several up and coming stars, Sloan ran the show from start to finish.

The locals, who were missing nearly half their regular side, stood up to the challenge in front of them.

They were forced to start with veteran defender, Trevor Lennon, who was thrown up front alongside his sons Clifford and Chris.

At the back, Down were always going to be under the cosh and so it proved. Even though Chris Taylor nearly gave his side the lead with his first touch of the ball.

Down started brightly, but Cookstown's superior class and fitness began to tell and they led 6-0 at the break. It could have been more, thankfully it wasn't.

In the second half, the home side scored five more goals but ironically the loudest cheer of the day came when James Cunningham scored a consolation for Down with the last shot of the game.

Good luck to Cookstown, it will take a brave side to stop them from winning the competition.