McCartan hints at exit

Down boss James McCartan was in reflective mood following last Saturday’s heavy defeat to Mayo.

‘Wee James’ would not be drawn directly on his position but spoke very much in the past tense. Perhaps there’s a clue there.

The undoubted highlight of McCartan’s three-year spell in charge was an All-Ireland final appearance in 2010 but Down were limp and lifeless last Saturday, bowing out with barely a whimper.

“It’s the same old rhetoric that everyone says — it’s not a decision for now,” McCartan said.

“Today is a hard pill to swallow. I have a group of players that have given me their all for three years. We had some good days on the road, we had some bad days. All I can say is they have given their best.

“We tried to give them their format or the possibility to go out on big stages and, look, we’ve come up short but it certainly hasn’t been for lack of trying on the players’ behalf. They certainly have my thanks ringing in their ears for the last three years.”

McCartan was in no mood for excuses either.

True, this was Down’s third game in successive weekends but according to the manager, that wasn’t the reason behind such a lacklustre display.

“I wouldn’t like to point the blame at that. Look, we were flat footed. There’s no doubt we were beaten for pace and their forwards led us a merry dance for large parts of that game.

“We couldn’t get to grips with them at all. It would be easy to point the finger at that but I don’t think so.

“It’s about trying to get the mind right a bit quicker maybe. It’s disappointing. They wiped the floor with us and put us away very clinically. I’m just disappointed for the group of players in the dressing-room because it’s obviously a disappointing way to end the year.”


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