After a miserable 2022 in which they didn’t win a single game, Down have now lost their manager after James McCartan informed the county board last night that he would not be continuing in the role.
McCartan was appointed deep into November 2021, thereby getting to start with the team later than any other county. But things went from bad to worse for the two-time All-Ireland winning player as Down endured a miserable campaign in Division Two, becoming the first side to be relegated across the Leagues.
Worse was to follow with player drop-outs and a messy breach of discipline involving senior players, with stinging criticism of the set-up from Kilcoo player Eugene Branagan and former captain Caolan Mooney.
After taking Down to the All-Ireland Final in his first spell in charge, McCartan has decided that he can’t take the county any further.
His replacement is expected to be former Under-20 Ulster-winning manager Conor Laverty.
Down GAA issued a statement last night, explaining: “Down GAA wish to place on record our gratitude to James, Aidan O’Rourke, Ronan McMahon and the entire coaching and backroom team for their work during the 2022 season.
“James McCartan will always be regarded as an iconic figure of Down football. He has given outstanding service to his county as a player and manager, and we wish him well.
“CLG an Dúin will now commence the process to appoint a new manager.”