A Down man for Down
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
BENNY Coulter says in his Democrat column that he would like to see a Down man in charge of the county. After James McCartan stepped down on Saturday, Benny said: "For me the new manager should be a Down man, managing his own county. We are a proud county and have enough men around the area who are well capable of doing the job."
Many people are of the same opinion although the names of Armagh's Tony McEntee and Antrim's Frank Dawson have cropped up.
It was scarcely a major shock when Wee James resigned as Down boss but it must be said that James McCartan owes his county nothing - as both a player and a manager.
His majestic displays in a red and black jersey are the stuff of legends and he was a star man when Down claimed double All Ireland success in the nineties.
As a manager he performed a minor miracle when he took Down to the 2010 All Ireland final, only to lose by the narrowest margins to a mighty Cork side.
In recent years though it was an uphill struggle with the county unable to compete at the highest level. But James can bow out with his head held high.
Benny Coulter says of James: "As a player and a manager James gave everything he could over the years to Down football and he can certainly leave the county knowing that he has given his all."
Now the hunt is on to find a successor and despite Benny wanting a Down man in the job, it's important to find a county manager who can get the boys in red and black once again playing with the 'Down swagger,' regardless of where he comes from.
The name of Frank Dawson, former boss of Antrim, has been mentioned and he undoubtedly knows a lot about Down football as a manager of both Burren and Bryansford.
Also Crossmaglen's Tony McEntee appears to be in the running and he too would bring a lot of knowledge and expertise to the table.
Paddy O'Rourke's name too has been linked to the post and he also would bring commitment and integrity to the job. Since the Burren man last managed Down he was in charge of Armagh. Although unsuccessful there, one thing about Paddy O'Rourke is that he is a man of utter dedication. When he does something, he does it to the best of his ability.
And as a former Down All Ireland winning captain, red and black blood flows through his veins.
Jim McCorry also has his supporters and despite being an Armagh man, he has had amazing success in Down, leading Kilcoo to their first Championship win in many, many decades.
Down chairman Seamus Walsh wouldn't comment on who the likely candidates are, telling the Democrat: "We haven't had time to discuss it yet as James only resigned on Saturday. But we should have a new man in place in the next two months."
But whoever gets the job, undoubtedly he will have his work cut out to bring Down football back to its glorious past.
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