Spirit of Sam runs in Mourne family
IT'S the age old conundrum: nurture versus nature? Or more specifically in the context of Sunday's All-Ireland football final: experience versus pedigree. No Down player, for instance, can claim to have played intercounty football at this late stage in the calendar whereas Cork have a team heaving with All-Ireland final experience -- albeit unsuccessful.
No Down player, for instance, can claim to have played intercounty football at this late stage in the calendar whereas Cork have a team heaving with All-Ireland final experience -- albeit unsuccessful.
Yet if you care to climb the family trees of both squads, there is more of a generational bond with Sam Maguire amongst the Down team than there is in Cork's past.
Paul Kerrigan -- whose father, Jimmy, won an All-Ireland with current Rebel manager, Conor Counihan back in 1989 -- is the only player on the Cork squad with a Celtic Cross in his direct family.
Conversely, Down possess four men whose fathers were on All-Ireland winning teams.
Stricken captain, Ambrose Rogers, watched his father (also Ambrose) win an All-Ireland from the bench in 1991 in Down's breakthrough victory over Meath, a win which started a new era of Ulster dominance of the football championship.
Brendan McKernan -- father of current centre-back, Kevin -- was also on that team and wore the number two jersey, as was Ross Carr, who later sired Aidan, a likely sub on Sunday.
Ross Carr, who managed Down prior to James McCartan's appointment, also won an All-Ireland in 1994, as did McCartan himself.
Now, here's where it gets complicated. Daniel McCartan, who is sure to start in the Mourne men's defence on Sunday, is a brother of the Down manager, James, and they are the sons of the great Jim McCartan -- a double All-Ireland winner in 1960 and '61.
No pressure then Daniel ...