Annaclone girls aiming for second Championship title

Eliza Downey (right) is hoping she can end the season by picking up silverware with both Annaclone and Down. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Eliza Downey (right) is hoping she can end the season by picking up silverware with both Annaclone and Down. Picture: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

With just two matches left in her season for club and county, local girl Eliza Downey is hoping she’ll end the campaign with two major titles.

The Annaclone girl is gearing up for Saturday’s Senior Championship final against Castlewellan (throw-in 6pm in Clonduff) already on a high after helping Down Ladies reach the All Ireland final with a nervous victory over Leitrim last weekend.

“I need to get my club head back on now after Saturday’s big win,” she said.

“It’s one thing after another at the minute but these things never happen to me so I can’t complain.”

This weekend, Downey and her fellow county players Aileen Pyers, Grainne Kelly and Mairead Grant will have to lead by example to overcome a Castlewellan side who have already beaten the locals this season.

“We had a meeting on Sunday to refocus and get our feet back down to the ground after Saturday’s win with Down,” she said.

“We’re able to bring that experience of playing in county games back to the club set-up. It’s so easy to go between county and club because our club set-up is so professional this year. Castlewellan have a good few county players too though.

“On paper, we have the underdogs tag but I’d rather have that tag any day than favourites. I’m just confident in the team’s own ability. We have been working towards our own targets and goals. We’ve reached those so now hopefully we can follow through and everything will click when it matters in the final.”

Annaclone are looking to double their tally of Senior Championship titles, having won their first in 2011:

“We have seven girls who weren’t at the club for that final but there were a lot of girls who were inexperienced back then and have grown up a bit now and then there are the old veterans as they call us still hanging in there.”

Eliza also held over much praise for the Annaclone coaching team, featuring another of that victorious 2011 side.

“Sinead McAvoy, who retired last year, has come on in a coaching, mentoring role and she’s been excellent,” Downey said.

“Our coaching and management has been the best that we’ve had. There’s a really nice, positive feel in camp, which can sometimes be hard to achieve.”