Bryansford’s Maginn targets Down redemption

Bryansford’s Maginn targets Down redemption

13 January 2021

BRYANSFORD’S Conor Maginn has said Down can bounce back from the disappointment of last year’s agonising Ulster Championship exit against Cavan.

The former Down forward, who has announced his retirement from inter-county football, says Paddy Tally’s side can have a positive 2021, despite November’s blow.

Tally’s side were 10 points up at one stage against the Breffni men before crumbling as the Cavan piled on the pressure after half-time.

Cavan would go on to win by a point before stunning Donegal in the provincial decider to end a 23-year wait for the Anglo-Celt Cup.

The past year did have more positive news for Down as they secured promotion back to Division 2, while there were other positives to build on as Tally’s young side look ahead to 2021.

They will do so without Maginn, who has brought the curtain down on his 11-year county career, but the Bryansford stalwart hopes to see further progress from the Mourne men.

“We can’t be that far away,” said the 32-year-old, who first turned out in the Championship back in 2009.

“Look at the first half [against Cavan], Down could have been out of sight. If they had taken one of the other goal chances they might’ve cruised home in that game then went in against Donegal.

“There’s loads of potential, there really is. I’m actually looking forward to being a fan this year and going to watch them, if we’re allowed.

“They’ve a very exciting forward line and Paddy will always have them well organised defensively.

“Getting back up to Division 2 is big as well. Going up to that level will help bring the squad on and hopefully see us being competitive at Ulster Championship level.

“Seeing what Cavan did will have given all the other counties a boost. It should be something that spurs Down on to try and do something similar.”

Maginn had been one of the Down’s main creative forces over the past decade as they battled to make a mark on the Championship scene.

Named Down Supporters’ Club player of the year in 2014, the classy playmaker was also a pivotal figure as the county saw off Armagh and Monaghan en-route to an unexpected Ulster decider appearance in 2017, 

falling to Tyrone at the final hurdle.

Under Tally though Down have favoured the raw pace of men like Liam Kerr, Barry O’Hagan and Ceilum Doherty in the half-forward line. Maginn felt the time was right to bring his county career to an end.

“I pretty much knew towards the end of last season. Obviously I’d only really played a fairly minor role towards the end of last season.

“I wasn’t really featuring in the Championship run. So I had a conversation with Paddy and it was mutual probably.

“They’ve a great forward line, a lot of pace, so my time has come to an end. It’s the way the game has evolved - you look at the current Down team, it’s full of pace.

He added: “It was a tough call to make, of course. It plays on your head because you always want that big day in the Championship, and we never got that bit of silverware we’d all have craved.

“For me though, it’s just time to move on. I’m looking forward to the next stage now, concentrating fully on Bryansford.”