down's turning points. . .
Martin Clarke's return
Described by Benny Coulter as probably Down's best ever underage player, getting him back after three years in Australia has given the Mourne men a supreme playmaker.
Kalum King the unsung hero
His name is beginning to crop up regularly when reasons for Down's resurgence are being discussed. Has put his strength to good use in a quiet, efficient way at midfield.
Greater defensive orientation
A system honed during the league has been modified since, but Danny Hughes is the best example of someone who has bridged the gap between stylish forward and hard grafter.
Their record at senior level has been appalling but Down have been picking off the titles at underage level. Two of the last three Ulster U-21 championship titles have been won by them and the All-Ireland minor championship title in 2005 was their second in seven years.
Behind James McCartan are the highly experienced duo of Brian McIver -- All-Ireland club championship-winning manager with Ballinderry in 2002 and NFL winner with Donegal in 2007 -- and Paddy Tally, Mickey Harte's fitness expert for Tyrone's 2003 All-Ireland win.