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Coulter rules out any chance of reversing his decision to quit Down

By Declan Bogue

With a couple of weeks to reflect on his decision to retire, Down's Benny Coulter, one of the finest forwards to ever grace the game, says his decision is final.

What will cause further anxiety to Down fans is the news that Dan Gordon is also joining Coulter and Martin Clarke as the latest man to eschew the new 'all or nothing' approach by new manager Jim McCorry.

"It just wasn't that appealing to me. I wasn't looking forward to it," says the 32-year-old of the prospect of facing a 15th senior season in the red and black.

"I had it in my mind that I wasn't going back so my decision was made for me."

There will be no dramatic comeback prior to the 2015 Championship either, even if he is burning up the club scene with Mayobridge.

"There definitely wouldn't (be a chance of a return)" he confirmed.

"I made the decision and I am sticking with it. First of all, it wouldn't be fair on the lads who are there, and I don't know if I would ever go back.

"I have seen it down through the years when lads retired and then they came back in a few months. You make a decision and stick by it.

"You never know… but no, I wouldn't. I wouldn't. I will concentrate fully now on the Bridge."

Coulter also lamented the unavailability of Gordon and Clarke.

When Clarke's contract with Collingwood in the AFL ran down, it was widely expected he would resume his Gaelic football career, but that has not been the case.

"We need our best players in Down playing for Down. Sometimes they are not there," said Coulter.

"Marty is out. Dan is out. We need those two boys playing for Down. Dan couldn't train pre-Christmas either. Obviously Marty has his own reasons and he has made his decision and that's it."

He did not elaborate on Clarke's reasons, but added: "He is going to college in September for PE teaching. I have never met a more driven man than Marty. When he wants to do his own thing, he will do it. That's why he made it out in Collingwood. He will work as hard as any man. In fact, Marty was the fittest player I ever trained with. He had unbelievable fitness levels.

"We would have had Danny (Hughes) as our fittest player, but in our fitness test, Marty blew everybody away. I remember one time we were down in the CityWest, in 2010, and we were doing a recovery session the next day under Paddy Tally.

"We were all on the treadmills and, myself included, were going at about level 10, but Marty didn't want to waste anything.

"He was up to level 18 on the treadmill for the full 30 minutes, flat out. He was non-stop.

"You couldn't do 18 for 10 minutes, but he was going for 30 minutes, flat out.

"He is so, so fit it is scary, and very dedicated.

"He has amazing vision on him, very strong, and what Marty would have brought to the table, not only his skill levels this year, but it would have freed up the likes of Polie (Mark Poland) and Conor Laverty because you would expect the other teams' best players to try and mark Marty."

Read more on Benny Coulter's retirement from Down in tomorrow's Saturday Interview.

Belfast Telegraph


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