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Burns shows another side after a rousing win

 

By Declan Bogue

For the last two years Down have been getting considerable criticism, reflecting their plummeting status within the world of Gaelic football.

In such circumstances and following a satisfying win, it is almost a given that an under-fire manager might turn his guns on the press corps, and Down's Eamonn Burns might have had plenty he wanted to get off his chest.

But he went another way.

"I know you have to write articles for the paper, it doesn't bother me one iota for a lot of it I don't read, for starters," the Bryansford clubman explained.

"The other end of it is, if you take this job, you know what you are going into from the start, you know you are not going to be everybody's friend, by the end of it you are probably going to be nobody's friend.

"All I am concerned about is how these guys are.

"I played 25 years ago when Down were the cream of the crop. It's not about me and it was never about me."

Asked how enjoyable the win over their fierce rivals was, and he had another refreshing take.

"It's not enjoyable. It's pressure, it's pressure, and I'm just happy to get out the right side of the line."

This was the most relaxed and happy the collective media has seen Burns in the role.

It looks as if he is finally getting to grips with a painful transition of a team and has a growing confidence in a team that could turn up a shock or two by the end of the summer.

He readily admits that during his playing career, the intensity of such a rivalry might have escaped him when he would return home to tranquil Newcastle.

He revealed as much when asked if he would prefer Cavan or Monaghan in the Ulster semi final, relating; "I hadn't thought anything up to now. I hadn't thought one minute past this game today. I have been totally focused on Armagh.

"I live 30 miles from here and I remember playing for Down.

"John Murphy, he was the assistant to Pete McGrath and he said 'this is really important'. I wasn't getting the real, this is the derby stuff. But if you are living on the Peace Wall in Newry here, then you know what that means, and I know what it means now because I get it all the time now that I am manager."

He added: "We will focus on what we did today, pick the bones from it and see how we can improve."

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