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New Down boss seeking a golden farewell at Kilcoo

By John Campbell

Jim McCorry is the new Down football team manager – but for the moment his sights will remain firmly focussed on achieving what would be a notable hat-trick at club level.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed that Crossmaglen Rangers All-Ireland club winning-duo Tony McEntee and Gareth O'Neill had been in advanced negotiations to take over the role, but the trail ran cold last Monday when a breakdown in communication occurred and they pulled out as a result.

As predicted in Tuesday's edition, this left McCorry in pole position to take the Mourne hotseat.

The identities of two of McCorry's backroom team are widely circulated.

Down legend John 'Shorty' Treanor is believed to be on board as a trainer, while Mayobridge's Michael Walsh, a physiotherapist and sports injuries specialist, has also worn the Down jersey with distinction in the past.

Something of an irony will take place tonight as McCorry will oversee Kilcoo's bid to beat Mayobridge in the first of the Down Championship semi-finals. The Eoghan Ruadh's seek to add a gloss to the titles won in 2012 and 2013 under his command. He also masterminded their 2009 domestic Championship triumph.

Walsh, meanwhile, is involved with Mayobridge.

McCorry's name had been in the frame for the Down post virtually since James McCartan brought his tenure to an end following the team's exit to Kildare in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

McCorry garnered considerable support of late, particularly when Crossmaglen Rangers duo Tony McEntee and Gareth O'Neil, who had been perceived to be frontrunners for the post in some quarters, exited the stage.

Down officials are confident that the appointment of McCorry will mark the dawn of a new era within the county, which has been starved of meaningful success since 1994 when they last won the Ulster title.

McCorry brings considerable experience to the table. He was in charge of Armagh from 1991 to 1994, bringing the side into the National League final in 1994, along with the help of colourful coach John Morrison.

Now his brief will be to bring back the glory days for Down, something that his predecessor McCartan initially came close to doing when he steered the team into the All-Ireland final in his first year in charge in 2010.

They were narrowly beaten by a more experienced Cork (0-16 to 0-15) on that occasion and since then they have not managed to mount a serious challenge for trophies either at provincial or national level

McCorry's tactical and man-managements skills have been pronounced with Kilcoo and the fact that he has an intimate knowledge of Down club football will stand him in good stead as he pursues his new career.

A senior executive with Newry and Mourne District Council, he is known for his thorough approach to management and his diligence, having impressed greatly during Kilcoo's recent run of success in Down. It is believed that when the local councils merge soon, McCorry is due to retire, therefore freeing up more time for inter-county management.

His initial task will be to select a new panel of players for the 2015 season and in this connection, as well as anything else, he will obviously focus strongly on tonight's game and on tomorrow's second semi-final between Burren and Longstone.

Belfast Telegraph

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