“I wouldn’t say I was traumatised by it, but it was a very disappointing time.”
Down legend Pete McGrath expressed his disappointment at being overlooked for the Down job in 2009, but said he doesn’t hold any grudges.
McGrath is the latest GAA star of TG4’s Laochra Gael which will feature a new episode for the next five Thursday nights.
The 1991 and 1994 All-Ireland winning Down manager revealed that he was in the running to come back as the county’s boss but was ultimately overlooked.
“People knew I was very keen to give the senior job another go,” McGrath told Laochra Gael as per the Sun.
“I spoke to the sub-committee who were involved in making the decision.
“Time went on and about three weeks later, the position was announced that wee James McCartan was given the position of team manager.
“I wouldn’t say I was traumatised by it, but it was a very disappointing time. The sub-committee, the county board, I don’t think they came entirely clean with me.”
“I think quite possibly they had their decision made even before they talked to me.”
McGrath – who was Under-21 manager at the time – did come back subsequently and manage Down’s minor team as he “wasn’t prepared to hold grudges” against anyone in the county board.
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McGrath is also well know for his success with Down’s Ulster rivals Fermanagh, where he guided the Lakeland County to an All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin in 2015.
“We got promoted from Division 3 to Division 2 and we ended up playing an All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park against Dublin,” McGrath explained to Laochra Gael.
“People didn’t give us a chance, print media or TV media, it would just kind of be a massacre.
“The second half of that game, the Fermanagh team, the Fermanagh squad, showed what they were capable of doing, the quality of football they were capable of playing on the big stage.
“After the game the Fermanagh supporters applauded the team — and the team applauded the supporters.
“And it maybe wasn’t as much about what they had done on that day, it was maybe for the journey they had given the supporters throughout that season.
“If I brought anything to them I’d like to think I brought a sense of confidence, a sense of direction, a sense of belief that they were every bit as good as any other group of players in the province.”
Laochra Gael – Pete McGrath – will air next Thursday night at 9.30pm on TG4.