Dan warns against being ordinary
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
DAN McCartan says Down will go into their All Ireland Qualifying match at Pairc Esler with Leitrim on Saturday (3pm throw-in) in a confident mood.
But the determined Burren clubman says: "We go into every game expecting to win - but know if we don't work hard we can become very ordinary.
“We have a home draw and hopefully can build up momentum. Nobody expects us to do well but we'll take each game as it comes.
“In 2011 when we last met Leitrim, they gave us a good game and we only pulled away in the last 15 minutes," said the Down defender.
Last year Armagh trashed Leitrim by a colossal 27 points and when the Newry Democrat put it to McCartan that it was all too easy for the Orchard county, he replied: "Last year lots of their players went away to America to play football and then they were a depleted, dispirited side. But this season they have good players in their squad as we found out when we (Burren) played St Brigid's. They had several Leitrim players in that team and ones who have Railway Cup medals."
On their Ulster Championship defeat to Tyrone at Pairc Esler a few weeks ago, McCartan said: "We didn't perform and made costly mistakes. But if we gather ourselves and stop making needless mistakes, we can beat any team in the country."
Down proved that in 2010 when they were just one point away from defeating Cork at Croke Park in the All Ireland Final. That year they lost out in the Ulster Championship but progressed through the Qualifiers to knock out the likes of Kerry and Kildare and reach the Holy Grail.
But Dan McCartan says most of the 2010 squad are gone and it's the new kids on the block who are the future of the Mourne county.
The Burren man is highly complimentary of his top-scoring team-mate Donal O'Hare saying: "It's time for the young boys to step up to the mark and in Donal O'Hare we have a fantastic talent. We knew from he was 16 or 17 that he was going to be good. Still he works extremely hard at it, practicing daily at his shooting."
Another newcomer who McCartan rates highly is Saval's Niall Madine. "He's a revelation, an exceptional strong footballer who is a great ball winner. Niall will be a county footballer for the next ten years."
Other Down youngsters who McCartan feels will be the backbone of the side in the future are Ciaran McCartan, Sean Doran and the Johnston boys, Ryan and Jerome.
But Dan is also happy that some of the more experienced players are returning to the Down squad and is pleased that Dan Gordon and centre back Darren O'Hagan are back, pushing for a place on the team.
McCartan himself, along with the like of the experienced Kevin McKernan, Aidan Carr and Conor Laverty, will add composure and steel to the side. Thus with a potent mix of youth and experience plus a confident, (and not complacent) approach to the task in hand, Down should progress to the next round of the Qualifiers at the expense of Leitrim.
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