McCorry's axing changed Down landscape: Caolan Mooney
'Disgraceful' treatment of Jim won't be repeated
The National League may be coming into the horizon, but Down's Caolan Mooney still finds himself struggling to comprehend the treatment of last year's manager Jim McCorry, which eventually led to his resignation.
McCorry took over the Mournemen after highly successful spells in charge of a number of clubs, most notably Kilcoo. But after winning promotion to Division One, Down were eliminated from the Championship following defeats to Derry and Wexford.
Soon after, McCorry was out of a job after he felt compromised by a vote of no confidence by the Down county board.
"I would still openly say how he was treated was a disgrace. No manager should have to endure that," said Mooney at the launch of Setanta's coverage of 17 games in the Allianz National Leagues in football and hurling.
The Rostrevor man continued: "He got (Down) to Division One. But then because we had a bad day in the Championship… That can happen to anyone, there have been many examples of that over the years.
"It actually still annoys me, because it's not his fault."
McCorry handed the 23-year-old his debut after he arrived home from Australia in October 2014, having spent three years in Australian Rules football with Collingwood.
It therefore comes as no surprise to see the loyalty that Mooney still holds for his former manager.
"I liked him. He was very straightforward, he gave it to you how it was and I have a lot of time for Jim," he continued.
"But obviously he got forced out and he was abused on Twitter. I was in the States at this stage and heard about it. But it was unfair for a manager to be brought in and then let go after a year."
Mooney believes that the lessons learned by the county board in failing to show loyalty to the manager has left some scarring.
"It can't happen. It can't happen again," he stated.
"Everyone makes mistakes in life and it's how you come back from mistakes and push on. I would say the county have learned plenty from it, but I feel sorry for Jim. He had a three-year deal and he was thrown to the kerb."
New Down manager Eamonn Burns will be taking charge of the county he won two All-Ireland titles with as a player in the early-90s, and they will be getting the full scrutiny of the Setanta cameras tomorrow night when they face 2014 All-Ireland finalists Donegal in Páirc Esler, Newry, the broadcast going out live on Setanta Sports 1, throw-in at 7pm.
Mooney also believes that his former Collingwood team-mate Martin Clarke will rejoin the county panel once his Sigerson commitments with Queen's are wrapped up.
In recent times, Clarke's struggles with Addison's Disease have been well documented but a series of impressive performances for James McCartan's college team in the Dr McKenna Cup and the first round of the Sigerson Cup last Tuesday night gives renewed hope that the 2010 All-Star could once again feature in the red and black.
"I would say he will come back," Mooney declared.
"He is going rightly for Queen's and I think that will give him the boost to get back into proper training with the county.
"I think the way his form is for Queen's at the minute he might be happy to come back and join in at county level."
Asked if he knew that for sure, Mooney replied: "You hope he will. If he can get back into the form he was in back in 2010, you would be going a long way to pushing on to do better than we did last year. Last year was a bit of a disaster."
With just three home games against the might of Donegal, Dublin and Kerry and odds of 1/3 to go down, Mooney admits they are unsure of how this campaign will turn out.
"It's always going to be a challenge in Division One, but after our form in the Championship last year, people are going to write us off, being beat by Wexford," he explained.
"It's probably easy to jump on Down's back at the minute because of how it went last year.
"You can only take each day as it comes. Donegal on Saturday, 15 against 15, we certainly won't be going out trying to lose.
"We are going to go out and put our best foot forward and aim to stay here in Division One."