Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport GAA

Down are stalling in their search for a new manager

By John Campbell

The waiting goes on. Just when we thought that the Down board was about to confirm its successor to Jim McCorry as county football team manager it suddenly became clear that the process will not be completed until early next month - a delay that could yet have ramifications for the Mournemen.

With Down officially due to commence training at the start of December, the new incumbent will now be afforded a limited time-span in which to rubber-stamp his backroom team, select his initial panel and oversee the vital pre-season preparations so essential for success in the modern game.

A terse statement from the board last night has occasioned further frustration within a county in which there is already palpable disappointment with the backdrop against which the selection process has been conducted.

The statement reads: "The process for the appointment of a new senior football management in Down is continuing and will be completed within the next 10 days.

"We wish to confirm that, contrary to some reports, there had been no intention to convene a meeting of the County Committee this week.

"While we appreciate the inevitable speculation that builds around such appointments, there will be no further press statements on this matter ahead of the next meeting of County Committee.

"We will be issuing a press release once County Committee have ratified appointments."

While it is widely accepted that former senior boss James McCartan is ready to take over as minor manager, the fact that his appointment has not been formally ratified as yet is mystifying.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Down board had indicated that a "firm announcement" in relation to the appointment of a new senior boss would be made last night but instead it appears that we are still in a limbo situation on this issue.

The Down board is certainly on the ball when it refers in its statement to "inevitable speculation" surrounding the appointment, particularly as one of the mooted candidates has confirmed that no official approaches have been made to him.

While it is understandable that there can be many twists in the process when it comes to making managerial appointments at any level - after all, getting the right person is of paramount importance - Down's cause is unlikely to be helped by further procrastination.

Frank Dawson would appear to be the front line candidate with Paddy O'Rourke's name having been lobbed into the equation but patience must now be the name of the game as those entrusted with recommending the new man to the board go back to the debating chamber.

Whatever the outcome of the deliberations spanning the next 10 days, one thing is certain - the task of the new boss has not been rendered any easier.

Down must prepare for what will be a demanding itinerary in Division One of the Allianz League against teams such as Dublin, Kerry and Mayo; attempt to win an Ulster title for the first time in 22 years and strive to regain some of the All-Ireland championship glory that was the preserve of the county in 1991 and 1994.

Launching such a crusade in dark and dank November should come with a risk warning - but then Down have surprised us in the past, notably when James McCartan steered the side into the 2010 All-Ireland final in which they were beaten by Cork (0-16 to 0-15).

But that is very much a distant memory given the enormity of the work-load that awaits the players and the new management team in the near future.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph