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Tony McEntee out of running for Down job

By Declan Bogue

It is believed that two-time All-Ireland club Championship winning manager Tony McEntee, along with managerial partner Gareth O'Neill, has pulled out of the running to fill the vacant position in Down.

The Crossmaglen Rangers duo were strongly-fancied to succeed James McCartan, who ended his five-year reign in July following defeat in the All-Ireland qualifiers to Kildare.

However, after meeting with Down chiefs and assessing the situation, it is thought that they have withdrawn their names from the race.

This latest development is sure to leave Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry as the front runner now.

If so, this would be McCorry's second time as an inter-county manager, after he took Armagh along with John Morrison for a period in the early-90s.

O'Neill had indicated his willingness to sit down with representatives with the Down county board over the vacant position and he himself has strong links with the county, being a cousin of Down's Team of the Century wing-forward, Sean O'Neill.

However, after taking part in meetings and appearing to reach agreement, it is thought that the Cross duo got cold feet and pulled out of the process as recently as this weekend.

The selection panel for the Down county board included Chairman Seamus Walsh, vice-Chairman William James Smith, their delegate to Central Council Sean Rooney and Brendan Fitzpatrick.

Former legendary midfielder Colm McAlarney also assisted in deliberations.

Others to be linked to the post include Bryansford manager Frank Dawson and former Ballinderry Ulster club winner, Martin McKinless. However, the familiarity that Down GAA figures have had with McCorry's work could influence their decision.

Kilcoo play Mayobridge this Friday in the Down Championship and it is believed that McCorry's involvement will continue until Kilcoo's interest in Championship action comes to an end.

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