Laverty pays tribute to Down legend McCartan

By Michael McMullan

DOWN manager Conor Laverty has paid tribute to the late Dan McCartan and wants the current Mourne squad to take inspiration from the successful teams of the past.

McCartan won three All-Ireland medals in the 1960s before being involved in management teams that delivered u-21 and minor All-Ireland glory.

He also won three league titles, eight Ulster senior medals, was a Railway Cup winner and also won an All-Ireland winner in Handball.

“Dan McCartan was about more than the medals won on the field,” read a statement from Down GAA.

“He was a man of stature and a leader, a man of vision with a great empathy with the youth of our Association both in club and in county.

“Dan transcended the boundary from being a county player to being a county administrator and all with the aim of making a real difference to the lives of those he would encounter.”

Speaking to Gaelic Life, Laverty highlighted the importance of Down’s historic glory days and remembers growing up when the county were winning the 1991 and ’94 All-Irelands.

“You always heard great stories of the teams from the sixties,” he said. “You would’ve been told about players like Dan McCartan and they were legends of the game.

“Anywhere you go, to any other county, people always have a love of Down football because of that team and men like Dan McCartan.”

Laverty is in his second year as senior manager and the aim is to go one better than last season and secure promotion to Division Two on the back of their success at u-20 level.

“We chatted recently about our identity as a county and wanting to do the jersey proud,” he said of the messages relayed to the current group.

“I have known his son (Mark) for a long time and I know the passion he has for Gaelic football.

“If anything, if we, as the Down team this year, could do men like that proud, then that would be one of the main things…to represent the men that went before. They were men who had the jersey and it has been passed on.”

Aside from any progress in terms of medals or success, Laverty stresses the importance of playing with the “pride and character” of the Down teams of the sixties and nineties.

“I think we’d all be happy with that,” he said. “We spoke in great detail about that, about our identity and what it meant to play for Down.

“We now have the responsibility to carry that identity through to create our own legacy but also to instil the values they had and the pride they had wearing a Down jersey. We don’t want to forget the brilliant work those men did.”

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