By Niall McCoy
BRYANSFORD have acted swiftly to appoint a new management team following the surprise resignation of Steven Poacher.
The Gaelic Life columnist informed the club earlier this month that he would not be continuing for a second term with the Division One team, with his coaching role with Roscommon believed to be one of the major factors behind his decision.
The ‘Ford have appointed Conor Gribben and Chris Brannigan as joint managers while former Down star Ambrose Rogers has been appointed as head of coaching and development.
“Chris and Conor bring a wealth of Bryansford experience, which includes county championship, Kilmacud and league titles as players and management of our u-21 team,” said the club.
“Our new head coach, Ambrose, has captained Down at u-21 and senior level and was captain of the senior team which reached the All-Ireland final in 2010.
“Ambrose has also represented Ulster with distinction. He has been involved in county coaching and development roles in recent times.
“The management team will strengthen the support roles in the coming days as they get to work in preparation for the season ahead.
“The club wishes Conor, Chris and Ambrose the best of luck in their new roles.”
Meanwhile, the planned club football structure for the 2021 season, revealed by Gaelic Life last week, has been approved.
It means that the leagues will start on Friday, July 9 if the Mourne county lose their Ulster Championship preliminary round tie to Donegal.
Paddy Tally’s side were drawn against the Tir Chonaill county in Tuesday’s provincial draw, and the fixture calendar contains various throw-ins depending on where Down end up in the championship.
If Down beat Donegal but lose in the quarter-final, the leagues will start on July 11 if they are involved in Ulster quarter-final weekend one and on July 18 if they are involved in Ulster quarter-final weekend two.
If Tally’s men exit at the semi-final stage a July 25 date has been pencilled in.
Relegation and promotion return after last year’s hiatus, while there will be no club games played without county players.
Competitive football for all teams is set to start on May 14 with the introduction of a new tournament called Corn An Dún.
The top tier will see four groups of four with each section made up of two Division One teams and two Division Two teams. The four group winners will progress to the semi-finals. There will also be a version containing Division Three and Division Four teams.
A few teams are expected to be playing even sooner than that though as Gaelic Life understands that the county are keen to finish out the finals that were penned in for last year’s league.
The league games are set to be wrapped up by September 3.