Greg Blaney becomes new Down selector - 10/07/2002

Blaney 1991 and 94 All Ireland winner Greg Blaney has accepted an invitation from former team mate Paddy O'Rourke to become a part of the new-look Down managerial set-up.

Newly appointed Down football team-manager Paddy O'Rourke has moved quickly to have his back-up team and backroom staff completed and ready for action.

Centre-forward Blaney a legend in Down was one of the stars of the Mourne County’s All-Ireland triumphs of 1991 and ‘94 is his most significant appointment. The former Down dual player and former Ballycran and Carryduff clubman is one of the most respected players in the country, and a household name in Ulster football.

A double All-Ireland senior medal winner, he was a team-mate of Paddy O'Rourke on Down's All-Ireland under-21 winning side in 1979. There are many who believe that Greg Blaney was the most significant player in both Down victories in 1991 and in 1994. The former All-Star has a wealth of experience of the game especially at inter-county level, is a deep thinker and his knowledge of the game is unbounded. He was generally accepted as the key play-maker in the successful Down sides of his era.

He was a supreme ball player in the top grade and he mad the Mourne county attack tick with his shrewd play and inventiveness. He will bring these same qualities to the new county management team. Also joining the new management team will be P. J. McGee, coach, trainer and games master at Saint Malachy's High School, Castlewellan. Liatroim Fontenoy's club man McGee is another shrewd tactician. A top class trainer he has managed Rostrevor in recent years and is currently coach and trainer of Longstone. The very efficient PRO of the Ulster Vocational Schools Counicl he has a deep knowledge of the game and his training methods and motivation are well-known.

The other members of the management team are Johnny McComiskey and Sean Og McAteer. McComiskey is another man with plenty of top-class experience, and has managed both his native Clonduff and Liatroim. The management team is completed by Sean Og McAteer who will be the liasion officer between the management and the county committee. Manager Paddy O'Rourke is currently involved with the reigning Monaghan county senior champions, 'Blayney Faughs and he hopes to continue with them in their defence of the championship title this season.

However, he and his management team will be checking out the form of players in the current Down championship and league in the coming months, and over the next few weeks will be talking to many players to find out their attitude and commitment to the county scene next season when it is hoped that a fresh new-look Down side will start the comeback trail on that is now a very competitive inter-county scene.

The new management team is well accepted by the Mourne county supporters and clubs alike, who wish Paddy O'Rourke and his team every success. Maybe a fresh face and different outlook to management may 'kick-start' a Down revival next season - only time will tell!


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