Down has appointed Conor Laverty as chief football manager, succeeding James McCartan. The decision was taken at Monday’s meeting of the departmental committee. Laverty, who led County to an Ulster Under-20 title last year, will also continue in that role.
He was apparently set to take the job with the seniors last year on a management team that included Donegal’s All-Ireland winning coach Jim McGuinness, but the proposal fell through, leaving McCartan to save the day by taking the reins.
He stepped down after a year and Down was quick to appoint Laverty, who led Kilcoo to a spectacular All-Ireland club football title last February and played for Down in the All-Ireland final defeat 2010 against Cork.
He will be joined on the management team by former All Star and All-Ireland minor winner Martin Clarke and Declan Morgan, both involved in the Under-20 success.
The statement from the county council meeting was as follows:
“Conor Laverty named new senior director of Down
“Down GAA have appointed Conor Laverty as the new manager of the senior football team. At a county committee meeting on Monday evening, the former county star striker and winning captain of the All Ireland club was ratified for the position, his leadership team will include Marty Clarke and Declan Morgan (another member will be added to the leadership team at a later date).
“Conor has played at all levels for his county, appearing in the All-Ireland final in 2010 and the Ulster decider two years later. He earned an Allstar nomination for his exploits in red and black in 2012 and is captained Down in 2015. He is one of our most decorated club footballers, winning ten County Championships with Kilcoo, and was co-captain when they won the 2019 and 2020 Ulster Titles before leading his club in the final honor at Croke Park in February this year.
“Conor will also continue as Under-20 manager, a position to which he was appointed in December 2020. He guided Down to a provincial title at this grade in his first year in this role. Full management of the U20s will be confirmed at a later date, with Darragh O’Hanlon (Kilcoo) and Conor Gilmore (St John’s) continuing in their roles.
“Martin Clarke won a minor All-Ireland title with Down in 2005, and between spells with Collingwood in the AFL he featured prominently for Down when they reached the All-Ireland decider in 2010. He has was selected as an Allstar that year. Declan Morgan has considerable experience coaching at clubs in three counties and at schools level with St Patrick’s Downpatrick – he and Marty Clarke were part of Conor Laverty’s management team with the U20s.
“The management team will now focus on getting their back room team in place ahead of preparations for the 2023 season.
“Down GAA Chairman John Devaney congratulated Conor and his management team on their appointment and expressed the hope that all members, supporters and players will give their full support to build a team and carry us forward.”