By Niall Gartland
DISAPPOINTED Down boss Conor Laverty hopes that their Tailteann Cup experience will ultimately stand to his team in future years.
The Mourne men couldn’t have any complaints as they were out-gunned by a powerful Meath side at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon, but it still represented a disappointing end to the season.
Nonetheless, there have been some positives from Laverty’s first season in charge, including championship wins over Donegal and Cavan, and their manager hopes that the experience of playing two big Croke Park games – the Tailteann Cup semi-final and final – will benefit his team going forward.
“This is a very young team, they are only starting this journey with us as a management team and this competition has been brilliant,” stated the Down manager.
“A lot of boys have got a lot of game time, they have got two games in Croke Park and that will stick to them experience wise.
“I suppose this is foundation year and we would have liked to get out of Division Three and just with results we didn’t achieve that and I suppose that is where we will be looking next year.
“We have seen this competition as a good stepping stone to get into the Sam Maguire because inevitably that is where everybody wants to be playing.
“We don’t want to be a curtain-raiser for other teams but the boys will go back to their clubs for a number of months and we will reassess and evaluate how our season has gone and regroup and get back later on in the year.”