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Burns should get another term but he must shake things up in Down

By Declan Bogue

Published 29/06/2016

Early exit: Down’s season is already at an end
Early exit: Down’s season is already at an end

Not that I would want to make a habit of being right or anything, but a powerful belief came over me from watching Down's opening National League defeat to Donegal that convinced me I was already looking at a team in freefall.

Then I examined their upcoming games.

A few long trips on the road. Monaghan away in a dress rehearsal of the Championship.

The few home games they had were against blue-collar teams, and not just the Dubs.

A team that looked as raw as ropes with few veterans able to show them the way…

Add in a Championship defeat and suddenly you are looking at it being well over a year since you won a game, then there are very few county teams with a little organisation that Down might have beat last weekend.

That it turned out to be Longford was unfortunate.

The Midlanders could yet add the name of Eamonn Burns to the roll-call of famous managers they had ended the reigns of, including Pete McGrath (Down, 2002) John Brennan and John O'Mahoney.

So on February 3, this column began: "Excuse us while we perform the knee-jerk of all knee-jerks, but it's not too early to say that Down's season - in both league and Championship - is a write-off."

If Eamonn Burns indicates that he wants to stay on, then he deserves another year in the more forgiving realm of Division Two.

But he also needs to surround himself with more footballing expertise and get in a respected coach and a couple of selectors that can make the set-up more credible.

Along the way, personality clashes and power struggles have dominated in Down. The focus has to go back to football, for the good of everyone in the Mourne county.

Belfast Telegraph

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