McCartan took some time to consider his future after the All-Ireland qualifier defeat by Kildare a fortnight ago, and although it’s believed the players were in favour of him staying on, the two-time All-Ireland winner stepped down on Saturday night.
Although silverware eluded the Mournemen during McCartan’s tenure, he led the county to an All-Ireland final appearance in 2010 when they were beaten by Cork.
He also took them to an Ulster final in 2012, losing to Donegal, and earned promotion to Division One and also won eight out of 11 qualifiers since taking charge at the end of 2009.
“While we did not achieve the titles and silverware that we craved, it was not for the want of trying,” said McCartan.
“It was important for me to have a Down team playing regularly in Croke Park and 2014 was the only year of the five in which this didn’t happen.
“I have enjoyed the challenge. But it is time for a new voice and I wish the next manager well. He and the players who wear the red and black will always have my support.”
Down chairman Seamus Walsh said McCartan’s dedication to the cause was “outstanding” but thoughts will now turn to his successor.
Kilcoo manager and Armagh native Jim McCorry will be among the contenders after leading the club to championship success in recent seasons.