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Published: 10:55 | 17/12/15

Coulter returning to Down panel

Down manager Eamon Burns has revealed that Benny Coulter has made himself available for 2016.

Coulter, who was regularly regarded as one of the best forwards in the country, announced his inter-county retirement in November 2014, claiming it was time to step aside and make way for the younger generation to line out for Down.

There has been constant speculation about a possible return and Burns has confirmed that the Mayobridge start will come out of retirement in 2016.

"I was speaking to Benny and he’s started a wee bit of prep work on his own, so hopefully we’ll see him before Christmas, all being well," Burns told the Irish News.

When asked if Coulter will play for Down in 2016, Burns replied: "Yep."

While Coulter looks set to return to the panel, Conor Laverty's future remains up in the air with reports suggesting he is ready to call it a day.

Burns admits he does not know whether Laverty will be part of the panel in 2016 but he is hopeful he will decide to carry on.

"At the minute, Conor’s taking a break," Burns added.

"We sent out an invitation for him to join the panel, but a lot of the Kilcoo boys are taking a bit of a break as they had an extended season. That’s where it is at the minute. I haven’t had any indication that Conor’s not going to come back.

"I haven’t had the opportunity. I was at a do on Friday night and was speaking to a lot of the players, but Conor wasn’t there."

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