Down trio setting an example for clubmates
Slowly but surely the all too familiar names are fading from the Down landscape.
Danny Hughes, Brendan McVeigh, Damien Rafferty, John Clarke and now Benny Coulter are just some who, for a variety of reasons, have taken their leave of the inter-county scene.
But right now three players who look certain to be part of manager Jim McCorry's squad for 2015 are providing the inspiration for a new generation of players to aspire to wearing the famed red and black jersey.
Ryan Mallon, Ciaran McCartan and Ryan Boyle will be in the vanguard of the St Peter's, Warrenpoint side that will confront Monaghan champions Inniskeen in next Sunday's Ulster Intermediate club championship final.
The trio have already cut their teeth in county football thanks to the faith shown in them by former boss James McCartan and now they are helping to set the benchmark for others as McCorry draws up his blueprint for the future.
Boyle is revelling in his role as Warrenpoint's captain while Mallon, who normally fulfils a defensive role for Down, is currently forming a dynamic midfield partnership with Johnny Cowan. McCartan, meanwhile, normally acts as a rearguard anchor at centre-half-back.
Warrenpoint club secretary Eoin Magennis believes that the leadership which this talented trio in particular bring to the table has been one of the key factors in helping to take the team into Sunday's provincial decider.
"It is always encouraging to have players who can set the template for others and there is no doubt that the extra element of experience comes into play the further a team moves on," states Magennis.
"We are fortunate to have guys of this calibre who can set an example."