Down chairman Seamus Walsh believes that football boss James McCartan will find a more inviting landscape awaiting him when he returns from vacation.
McCartan, who was offered a further three-year term last year having been in charge since 2010, has yet to confirm that he will continue in his role but Walsh suggests that encouraging pointers could influence his decision.
Several of Down’s most distinguished players including Benny Coulter, Donal O’Hare, Peter Turley and Conor Lavery are currently showing outstanding form in the domestic club championship while Aidan Carr and Danny Hughes are rapidly regaining full fitness having missed this year’s championship campaign.
In addition, both Peter Fitzpatrick and Paul McComiskey could be returning from Australia and the United States respectively before the end of the year while emerging players such as Philip Bonny and Fintan McGreevy are making waves.
Down shipped heavy blows in terms of injuries and emigration this year which denuded the side of a rich seam of talent.
But Walsh insists that McCartan did “an excellent job” with the resources that were available to him.
“For a start, James had to reconstruct his defence with five players out of the seven having to be replaced from last year and he also had to re-vamp the attack to some extent. It obviously takes time for a new-look side to acquire cohesion but James certainly achieved progress. Indeed, he did an excellent job with the players that were at his disposal,” maintains Walsh.
“Not only that but he conducts himself extremely well and is very highly respected by all and sundry.”
Down lost to Donegal in the Ulster semi-final at Kingspan Breffni Park, Cavan and subsequently fell to Cork in the All-Ireland qualifiers.
Captain Ambrose Rogers, will be out of action for six to eight weeks with an injured knee. But this won’t prevent him from fulfilling an important engagement on August 30 when he gets married.