Down’s senior side suffered one of its heaviest defeats in recent seasons in Ballycastle last weekend.

Jeremy McCready's side lost 9-1 in a one-sided game and the manner of the loss was the last thing the locals needed with a derby-tie against rivals Saintfield coming up this weekend.

The Malone Park club has been struggling to field a full strength side team since the start of the season and things need to improve dramatically. All players must make themselves available in order to field two teams.

The lack of commitment and failure to respond to requests to play doesn't help; all it does is let others down.

McCready was forced to take over in goal last weekend and if defenders had been able to clear his pads, Portrush may not have scored nine times.

On the plus side, Chris Taylor and Paul Tate were both outstanding and if Down had had a few more regulars in their starting line-up, the outcome would have been very different indeed.

Portrush, who defeated Saintfield 4-0 the previous weekend, could not have imagined the margin of victory would have been as comprehensive before the start of play.

They have a number of young players in the side who were given too much space and time, particularly in the middle of the park.

Portrush took a 2-0 lead early on. The umpire failed to penalise the home side from a set play which led to the opening goal and then a McCready save saw the ball drop to a forward who scored, with the visiting defenders caught napping.

Down pulled a goal back through Paul Tate with a rasping short corner strike but it was a false dawn, as the home side scored three more goals before the break.

In the second period, Portrush moved up a gear as the Down challenge deteriorated, scoring four more goals.

A heavy defeat in the end but the consolation for Down is that the Senior Two league programme has yet to start. The Malone Park outfit's first game is away to Larne and it's vital McCready has a full squad to choose from.