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McCartan and McAteer want a silver lining for Down

By John Campbell

While Down county board secretary Sean Og McAteer has spent the past week attending to a miscellany of duties in preparation for the county Convention, team manager James McCartan has been in Kuala Lumpur when he was in charge of the 2009 Allstars team that pipped their 2010 counterparts in an exhibition match.

But although they may be thousands of miles apart, McAteer and McCartan are joined at the hip in their determination to see Down get their hands on meaningful silverware next year.

In his annual report, McAteer eulogises the efforts of McCartan and his players but suggests that they can do even better next year given the experience they have gained this year.

“It has been a truly memorable year from every perspective. Right from the outset James McCartan triggered a fresh spirit within the Down camp and this prevailed right until the end of the season,” said McAteer.

Not only did the Down side reach the All Ireland final but the county board hosted the Annual Congress and also staged a celebration banquet for the Down 1960 team that won the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time.

But while McAteer is lavish in his praise for what has been achieved, he is particularly keen to see Down land a title in 2011.

“I think this squad deserve a title. Maybe people do not always get what they deserve in life but you can be sure that these boys will be trying very hard to get either the Ulster or All Ireland trophy next year. There are very solid foundations there and optimism will remain high,” insists McAteer.

And manager McCartan makes the point that the team must now challenge themselves next term.

“When you lose an All-Ireland final it is not a nice place to be. There is some satisfaction that we did reasonably well, but at the same time we still came home with no silverware,” says McCartan.

“Tyrone, who at all these end-of-year awards seem to be somewhat overlooked, nonetheless have the Ulster championship trophy.

“I would have been very happy to have come home with that.

“Normally when we have a reasonable year we then go asleep for a couple more years. Trying to ensure that that doesn't happen is something we're going to look at.

“We have probably now encouraged all the teams in the pack that it can be done, as we probably did in 1991.

“In the following years Donegal and Derry claimed the All Ireland title.”

McCartan is already focused on his team’s opening Ulster championship meeting with deadly rivals Armagh next year.

“We have to go to them and it comes no tougher than that. They have won the Ulster title on many occasions over the past 12 years or so and will want to reclaim it again,” adds McCartan.

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