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Down needs old guard: Coulter

By John Campbell

Published 19/06/2015

Progress: Jim McCorry has taken Down into Division One
Progress: Jim McCorry has taken Down into Division One

Former Down ace Benny Coulter is urging manager Jim McCorry to resurrect the inter-county careers of a number of players in a bid to end what has now become a 21-year Ulster title famine.

And he is particularly keen to see action taken on this front in advance of the Mourne county's All-Ireland qualifier meeting with Wexford tomorrow week.

Mayobridge clubman Coulter spent 14 years in the red and black jersey up until his retirement last year with precious little in the way of honours to show for a career highlighted by absolute commitment and a series of spectacular outstanding individual displays that thrust him up among the ranks of the elite players.

He has also served Ulster with distinction in the inter-provincial championship and has been one of Ireland's most prominent players in the International Rules series against Australia.

Now, clearly annoyed at what he views as Down's lack of progress, Coulter, a full-time GAA coach, feels that a return of some familiar faces would boost the team's prospects of success.

He is anxious to see Kalum King, Conor Garvey, Paul McComiskey and Declan Rooney back in the Down squad and while he welcomes the anticipated return of Martin Clarke next year he believes that the An Riocht playmaker should be ushered in much sooner.

"Marty is playing with his club and if I were Jim McCorry I would be getting him back into the squad as soon as possible - yes, for the All-Ireland qualifier against Wexford at the end of the month," said Coulter.

And he is at a loss to understand why Conor Garvey is not a first-choice player with Down at the moment.

"Mayobridge beat Warrenpoint in a league game the other day and Conor started at full-back and then moved to midfield and was man of the match," added the Mayobridge.

"I maybe harp on about Conor but the fact of the matter is that he is the best defender in Down at the minute."

While Coulter obviously has Down's best interests at heart, some of the players he is keen to see back in the squad voluntarily stepped away from it in the past for different reasons.

This is a situation manager McCorry has had to accept yet he has managed to bring the side into Division One of the league and through a careful selection process has kick-started the careers of players like Stephen Kane, Gerard Collins and Conall McGovern in the process.

McCorry has also successfully re-introduced Caolan Mooney to the Down squad, recalled Luke Howard to fill the problem full-back position and provided the impetus for Paul Devlin to unleash his many-sided talents this season.

Belfast Telegraph

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