Search begins for new manager

Search begins for new manager

14 July 2021

THE Down county board have began their search for Paddy Tally’s replacement after it was recently announced the Galbally native will step down from the role of senior team manager.

Tally’s tenure came to an end last week after his three year-long contract expired.

Tally, who took the reins from the late Eamonn Burns in 2018, said afterwards: ”Nowadays, it takes a bigger team to support a team. The last three years have brought unexpected challenges to each and every one of us. 

“Despite everything, I am confident that Down GAA has much reason to be hopeful. With the team, we secured their position in Division 2 and continued the process of rebuilding.

“We have not achieved as much this year as we would have wanted, but in maintaining our league status, the team perhaps achieved more than many predicted, and I hope they can push on from here.”

It was not the fairytale ending the St Mary’s lecturer would have liked, after Down suffered a heavy defeat to Donegal in the preliminary round of the Ulster Championship at Páirc Esler.

This followed a year of mixed fortunes as Down began their stint back in Division 2 with a one sided loss to Mayo in Castlebar before Meath saw off the Mourne men a week later.

Down’s season began to shift in a more positive direction when they overcame a plucky Westmeath side by a point before comfortably surviving their relegation clash with Laois to stay in the division.

Following Tally’s last game in charge, the former All-Ireland winning trainer with Tyrone heavily criticised the current inter-county system in place with Down playing just five games this season.

Tally has also showed frustration at a lack of longevity from players within the county panel, noting in the past that this is a key difference between the Mourne county and Division 1 teams.

However, not willing to bow out on a sour note, Tally acknowledged his players in his closing statement.

“I am very grateful to the players with whom I have worked in the last three seasons and to their clubs and families. I will always have a connection and an abiding personal respect for Down GAA,” he said.

The hunt is now on to look for Tally’s successor, with current whispers of various options in the atmosphere.

It is understood that Down U-20 manager Conor Laverty will not be applying for the job.

Laverty’s side is through to the semi-finals of the Ulster U-20 Championship and the Kilcoo man is enjoying his time working with legendary Meath All-Ireland winner Sean Boylan, who has joined his back room staff.

Another name ruled out is Roscommon coach Steve Poacher, who has announced that he will not be applying for the role.

Former county star Benny Coulter has also insisted he is happy to remain coaching at club level, stating: “I’d have absolutely no aspirations for the Down job at the minute.”

Coulter also nodded towards a lack of willing candidates to succeed Tally as senior team manager.

“I don’t think anybody is putting their hand up and saying: ‘I want that job’,” said Coulter.

One thing is for certain, whoever Down decided to approach will know that the county want to return back to the dizzy heights of Division 1 football whilst getting the supporters excited at the prospect of future success.