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Tony McEntee rules out taking Down job

By John Campbell

Long-serving county board secretary Sean Og McAteer takes obvious pride in declaring that he likes to see things done "the Down way."

It is perhaps understandable that as one who has lived through the glory days of Ulster and All Ireland title successes in 1991 and 1994, McAteer should yearn for a return to an era when Down reigned supreme.

Both in the 1960's when the All Ireland crown was collected on three occasions ('60, '61 and '68) and in the triumphant 90's, Down undoubtedly set their own standards on and off the field of play.

And in one pertinent sector they set their own benchmark – the most successful Down managers invariably came from within.

That policy may well be adhered to now even though several other counties have continued to look beyond their boundaries for salvation.

Already two high-profile personalities – coincidentally, both from Armagh – whose names have been linked with the Mourne vacancy have perhaps unwittingly provided the Down board with the incentive to go for 'one of their own'.

Current Kilcoo manager Jim McCorry, who formerly managed his native Armagh, has not altogether ruled himself out of throwing his hat into the ring, but at the same time has made it clear that he is fully immersed in his club's preparations for the forthcoming county championship.

But Tony McEntee, who took Crossmaglen Rangers to two All-Ireland club titles, three Ulster crowns and three Armagh county titles, has made it clear that he would will not be a candidate for the job if approached.

Currently McEntee is in charge of the St Brigid's club in Dublin and as well as having family commitments his job as an executive with the thriving PEI medical distribution company entails considerable travel throughout the country on a weekly basis.

Regarded as a shrewd tactician and well versed in man-management skills, McEntee had been considered as a viable successor to McCartan in many quarters. The fact that he has ruled himself narrows down the field.

"Obviously county team management is a very demanding role and you need to give it everything. I would wish whoever takes over Down well and I think that James McCartan has served his county superbly both as a player and as a manager," says 2002 All Ireland winner McEntee.

The Down board will meet shortly to finalise its process for the choice of a new manager and the indications are that 'the Down way' could prevail once again in that choice.

Belfast Telegraph


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