The latest news from across the grades in Down, including Lidl NFL League victory over Offaly

The ladies made a long journey to Birr in County Offaly on Sunday to begin their 2019 National league campaign. Playing against a stiff breeze in the first half, Down managed to build up a 5 point lead at one stage, only to concede a penalty and a breakaway goal before half time, to go in 4 points behind. Despite having a greater share of possession in the second half, the players couldn’t turn it into enough scores to reflect the balance of play. However a late surge saw Down hit the net twice in the closing minutes to come away with a 4 point win. This was a great display of team spirit and a never say die attitude, coupled with superior fitness, that got Down over the line and secured a valuable 3 league points.
Next up is a trip to Aughrim, County Wicklow, this Sunday as part of a double header, opening against Wicklow ladies, ahead of the Wicklow v Limerick men’s league game. Throw in at 12 noon.

Final Score:  Down 6:7(25) Offaly 3:12(21)

MINOR – BORN 2001/2002 ONLY
Down minors travelled to Balbriggan on Sunday to take on the bench mark team in both Ladies and men’s football, the Dubs. Without a few players who were helping out the senior ladies to a super win in Birr it was always going to be an uphill task. The most encouraging aspect of today was the girls ability to fight to the end during a windy day where sometimes it was difficult to clear the lines. The coaches are looking for cooperation from clubs to ensure that girls are available for the minor team. The better the girls are with Down, the better they will be returning to their clubs.

U16 – BORN 2003 ONLY
The girls had a chilly session this week in bright but cold Ballykinler as they build to their next challenge game this Saturday away to Meath. Midweek training for all will be in Kilcoo this week and details for Saturday will follow during the week.

U15 – BORN 2004 ONLY
The girls travelled to Cookstown to take on Tyrone in a challenge game on Saturday, as they continue their preparation for the upcoming Ulster League. On a sunny crisp afternoon in calm conditions, the girls got off to a great start and got an early foothold in the game, which they didn’t relinquish.  The girls played very attractive attacking football, but the Down defence had to work very hard when Tyrone were on top and controlling possession. The girls are gelling very well, with each player improving their skills week on week with less errors being made, resulting also in excellent competition for places. However the win comes at a high price with the loss of Orlaith Lynch for the next 4- 8 weeks, due to sustaining a fractured wrist. Orlaith has been playing consistent high quality football in the Down defence, and her loss is a blow to the squad. But we hope Orlaith can get back on the pitch soon as there is a long way to go in the county U15 scene this season. Best wishes to Orlaith from all the mentors and girls.

U14 – BORN 2005 ONLY
The girls travelled to Monaghan on Saturday with real determination to improve on the previous performance against Armagh. From the first throw in, the Down players dominated the game with stylish passages of play, exceptional finishes and some superb goalkeeping. Monaghan fought back to keep themselves in contention, reducing the Down lead to three points. The second half saw Monaghan go seven points ahead with a flurry of goals, however, the Down grit and tenacity to challenge for every ball in all positions quickly brought the red and black back into the game. It was the Monaghan keepers turn to shine and in what seemed like an eternity, Down just couldn’t find the scores. The never give up spirit did shine through in the end. Great points and goals in the final ten minutes gave Down the game 8-10 to 7-08. The win was bittersweet with Katie Foy suffering a nasty collarbone injury. All players and mentors wish her a speedy recovery. Training continues on Tuesday 7– 8pm, indoors at St Malachy’s Castlewellan and again outdoors on Saturday 9.15 – 11am. There are still a few outstanding consent forms to be returned. Mentors may contact parents directly to follow up on these.

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