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Walsh confident McCartan will stay with Down

By John Campbell

Down chairman Seamus Walsh and his fellow officers have yet to meet with county football boss James McCartan in relation to his future plans.

But while efforts continue to seek a date for such a meeting, Walsh is optimistic that McCartan will remain in his post.

"There are no indications that James will not be staying on," said Walsh. "At the moment we are attempting to arrive at a suitable date for a meeting with the managements of all our various county teams in both hurling and football. Obviously during the holiday season in August this was difficult but we hope to have such a get-together shortly.

"We would expect that James will remain in charge for what is the second year of his second term.

"He has been a success in his role and Down have played on eight occasions in Croke Park under his command and that's a lot more appearances than they have had at Headquarters for some time."

In his first year in charge in 2010 McCartan steered Down into the All-Ireland final in which they lost to Cork by a point, but since then championship progress has largely eluded a county which has not won the Ulster title since 2004.

This year the team was handicapped by the absence of long-term injury victims, but Walsh nonetheless already views 2014 with optimism.

"Several of these players are back in action, Arthur McConville and Darren O'Hagan have returned after having been away and Paul McComiskey and Peter Fitzpatrick are expected to be back before the end of the year. With a bit of luck, we should have a full-strength squad going into the new season and I would like to think that this could be a factor in James staying on," added Walsh.

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