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Down damaged by lack of quality leadership: Hughes

By Declan Bogue

Former Down footballer Danny Hughes has weighed in on the current state of affairs as the Mourne county approaches almost two years without a victory.

The Saval man, an All-Star as Down reached the All-Ireland final in 2010, apportioned a large dose of the blame to the county board when he blasted: "There doesn't seem to be any professionalism and (they are) the people who have dragged us down into this mess since 1994, and we haven't responded.

"The same people are making the decisions to try and pull us out of it.

"That's where I think our deepest problems lie. The same people are running the county for the last 20 years and it is not working. If this was any other business, people would have long been relieved of their duties."

Reflecting on their decision to give Tony McEntee the cold shoulder when they seemed on the verge of appointing him as senior manager in the autumn of 2014, Hughes then discussed the current incumbent, two-time All-Ireland winner Eamonn Burns.

"Eamonn was a great servant to Down, on the team that won two All-Irelands, and he is hugely respected," said Hughes.

"But Eamonn again has no background in managing teams - he managed a couple of second or third division teams.

"At the end of the day, Down should have been going for proven winners like Tony McEntee and Gareth O'Neill for example. And what did Down do? Down needed to grasp that and they never took it.

"They messed him about that much, it would put you off.

The one thing they have to learn is that this board is so dysfunctional. There are promises made to people and those promises are never kept."

He added: "(At) The convention last year, there were a lovely couple of quips like 'it's always darkest before the dawn'.

"This year it's 'a rising tide lifts all boats'. They're Googling motivational quips and using these as things to put into the media."

Belfast Telegraph

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