McCartan to return as Down manager

JAMES McCartan is set for a return to the Down hotseat with the Mourne county committee meeting tonight to rubber-stamp his appointment.

The 1991 and ’94 All-Ireland winner will bring Aidan O’Rourke with him as head coach with the pair working together during McCartan’s first spell in charge.

McCartan was appointed in 2009 and stepped down in 2014 with the highlight coming in 2010 when Down swept Kerry and Kildare aside in the All-Ireland series to set up a final meeting with Cork. Despite a fine performance, the Mourne county lost out on a sixth All-Ireland title by the minimum.

McCartan and O’Rourke also worked together in guiding Queen’s to the 2007 Sigerson title. Hosted in Belfast, they defeated Ulster University – then known as Jordanstown – in a stunning final.

The appointment, which should face no obstacles, comes four months after Paddy Tally stepped down.

A management ticket of Conor Laverty, Jim McGuinness and Martin Clarke appeared close earlier this month, but it didn’t happen.

The county committee will meet virtually tonight at 7.30pm to approve the recommendation of the selection panel.

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