Down Girls Up For The Final

Down Girls Up For The Final


Arrangements are well underway for the Down U16 girls team
as they prepare to face Roscommon in the All Ireland B Final
in Pairc Taileann, Navan on Saturday. As they take to the
field, they also become the first underage team from Down
to reach an All Ireland Final. The girls have reached the
final following hard fought victories over Fermanagh and Kilkenny.
They also overcame Westmeath in the All Ireland semi final
with a text book display of tackling and forward play in Ardee
a fortnight ago.

As part of their preparations for the big game, the girls
have been availing of the wise words of former Derry star
and RTE pundit Joe Brolly, who took the team for a training
session at the weekend, placing an emphasis on simplicity,
timing and teamwork. The squad has also benefited from the
input of Down Senior manager, Gregory McGonigle in the last
number of weeks.

Managers Noel Haughey and John McCarthy looking forward to
the big game with Noel commenting, “the girls are well
prepared and looking forward to the game. We knew we had a
special bunch of players from the very first training session,
both in terms of skill and individual character. We set ourselves
a target to reach an All Ireland Final at the start of the
year and intend to do ourselves proud, especially given that
it’s the first time a Down underage team have made it to this
stage.” Co-manager John McCarthy had a word of appreciation
for the support the team has received over the course of the
year. “The support from players’ families has been immense.

There is as much of a time commitment from parents
as players in terms of providing transport to training and support
at games. The last number of weeks especially has been fantastic
in terms of fundraising efforts from parents, clubs and schools.
The support from our sponsors, the Quays, Newry has also been
excellent throughout the year in raising the profile of the

The success experienced by the team this year bodes well for
next year as many of the players are still in the age bracket
for 2007. The quality of the team is also reflected in the fact
that the player of the match awards for both the Senior and
Intermediate Championship finals this year went to members of
the squad, namely Grainne Kelly (Annaclone) and Paula Gribben
(Clonduff). A repeat of the scoring accuracy and commitment
shown in the semi final may well result in some silverware crossing
the border on Saturday evening and a first ever all Ireland
title for the team. The game takes place in Pairc Taileann,
Navan at 2.30pm.


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