Down double All-Ireland winner Mickey Linden makes no secret of his New Year sporting resolution in his role as manager of Newry Shamrocks.
“I want to bring success to this club. For some time the championship scene in Down has been dominated by teams like Burren, Kilcoo, Bryansford and my own club Mayobridge but maybe it’s time that the city clubs flexed their muscles,” says Linden.
Regarded as one of the best forwards ever to have adorned the Mourne county jersey, Linden was still playing club football at a lower level up until quite recently because of his phenomenal fitness and stamina levels.
But right now his total focus is on management and he has considerable faith in the amalgam of youth and experience which he has at his disposal within the Shamrocks club.
“There is a great level of enthusiasm and the players are very keen to show that they can bring success to this club. It has a decent pedigree but over recent years it has lived in the shadow of other sides,” admits Linden.
Indeed, he is hopeful that somewhere along the line some of his players might just catch the eye of Down boss James McCartan.
“I think James has to bring in a few new players and it’s important that he gets boys who want to play for the jersey,” maintains Linden. “The manner in which Down exited the Ulster and All-Ireland championships this year wasn’t pretty but I still believe that James is the man to take the team forward.”
He lauds the under-age structures within the county and suggests that there is a raft of talent coming through but concedes that it takes a special type of player to make the grade at inter-county level.
“A manager needs players who have a fusion of talents and we have not quite enough of these in Down as things stand. But I understand that James has been casting his net wide and hopefully he will bring a side through the McKenna Cup that will go on to prove a force in the league and maybe then in the championship,” states Linden.