Linden delighted with Paddy Tally appointment
By John Harrington
Down football legend Mickey Linden believes the appointment of Paddy Tally as the Mourne County senior football team manager is a positive one.
Linden, who will be inducted into the Gaelic Writers Association Hall of Fame later today, is hopeful Tyrone native Tally will bring a fresh perspective to the role.
“I was delighted with it,” said Linden. “I think we needed to go that way. We’ve nearly expended anybody with in the county who could do the job.
“Maybe it is time yes to bring in someone like Paddy who will give a fresh look to it.”
Linden was a key figure on the last Down team to win an Ulster Championship back in 1994.
Their failure to land another once since is galling for a county that has always regarded itself as one of the aristocrats of the game, but Linden is hopeful there may be better days ahead.
“Certainly in Down we didn’t think it would be 25 years since we won an Ulster final,” he said.
“We have been close, particularly in 2010. But we just don’t seem to be getting the same quality coming through to senior level.
“Having said all that, we had a good under-20 team last year. There are five or six lads who you’d say will come through to senior level.
“And we haven’t had that for four or five years. hopefully they will come through and make a difference.”
Paddy Tally would love nothing more than to have a prime Mickey Linden in his Down panel for 2019, and a recent video of the 55-year-old scoring an outrageous point for Mayobridge in the Down Premier Reserve Championship proved that his class is permanent.
When he kicked the point, Linden could hardly have imagined the video would go as viral as it did.
“I most certainly didn’t,” he said. “The thing about it was, I only came on for about 15 minutes towards the end of that game. The game was effectively over. The fellas had all done the hard work.
“I haven’t really stopped training or playing. I don’t play as much obviously but when it comes around to the reserve championship this last couple of years.
“I had sort of quit playing and one of the managers approached me because they were short players two years ago and said, “Listen, would you come back? We’re struggling. Only have 14 or 15 players for this championship match, would you come back and play?”
“That got me roped back in. then I got the feel of it, enjoyed it again, stayed on. Played on through that championship. Did the same since. Just came in for championship and joined the lads, enjoyed the craic.”
Linden says he counts his blessings that he played in an era without blanket defences, and is hopeful steps will be taken in the near future to encourage moer positive play in Gaelic football.
“Possibly the offensive mark may work,” he said. “Something has to happen, with the coaches more than the players. That’s where the biggest problem lies.
“We need to improve it, make it more attractive. Have more games like last year’s All-Ireland final. Make it more competitive at the highest level. That’s the shop window.
“That’s what the kids will be looking at. So we need to make it attractive. So if we bring in change to help make that happen, all the better. But it might take time to get there.”