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James McCartan Autobiography Launch

17 November 2010

On Monday November 22nd all roads lead to the Canal Court Hotel in Newry for a truly Gala GAA night of celebration, reminiscing and nostalgia.

That evening the legendary James McCartan Senior launches his long awaited autobiography entitled "The King of Down Football."

In his book the twice "Footballer of the Year" vividly remembers the halcyon days of those momentous All Ireland victories of 1960 and 1961 as well as recalling the highs, the lows and controversies of an extremely colourful playing and managerial career. The inside accounts and groundbreaking innovations are revealed for the first time by that wonderful team's most influential centre half forward.

The book also highlights the devastating impact, which the Troubles in Northern Ireland had on his family and business lives. His successful greyhound career and the footballing exploits of his other family members, especially 2010 All Ireland Down manager James Junior, are explored in detail. This is an in depth study of one of Gaelic football's most important figures, presented in an honest and forthright manner.

Hundreds of Gaelic Games followers and greyhound enthusiasts from every county in Ulster and indeed throughout Ireland are expected to be there. The organisers have stressed that there is an open invitation to attend for everyone whether they are former playing colleagues of James', County or club opponents or just supporters of sport. Undoubtedly there will also be a special welcome for all who played for Down during James' two managerial reigns as well as his friends on the 1960 and 1961 teams.

Already many members of the Offaly, Cavan, Kerry, Armagh, Derry and Tyrone sides that James played against have indicated that they are really looking forward to meeting each other again. People like Paddy McCormack, Jerome OShea, Jimmy Whan, Jody O'Neill, Phil O'Reilly, Jim McKeever, Danny Kelly, Gabriel Kelly, Jim McDonnell and Mick O'Dwyer are just a sample of the stars of the 1950's and 1960's who hope to be there. When one adds in the All Ireland winning Down sides of 1968,1991 and 1994 one can justifiably say that November 22 in Newry will be a unique occasion in the annals of Gaelic football. Six decades of outstanding players will be in the one venue at the same time. Kerry maestro Mick O'Dwyer, who is Gaelic football's most celebrated manager, will launch the book.

2010 has been a tremendous year for Down football. What better way to conclude it by being part of a communal coming together of all the people both within and outside the county who have contributed immensely to the popularisation of Ireland's most popular game. "The King of Down Football" is co-written by well-known GAA author and Derry native Seamus McRory and is published by Blackwater Press.

The proceedings that will have a distinctive cultural and musical flavour will commence at 7.30pm.