ON Saturday the Down U16 Camogie team made the long journey across country to Birr to take on their Co Offaly hosts in the third game of their All Ireland ‘B’ Championship campaign.
Offaly are the group leaders in this campaign having already disposed of Galway and Dublin so the Down girls knew they were going to be up against it but from the throw-in to the final whistle, under the sweltering rays of the sun, the girls in red and black gave it their all.
And at half-time there was only a goal between the sides with the score Down 2-3 Offaly 3-3.
In the second half both teams battled and hassled for the sliotar but Offaly were more successful in converting their play to points while Down squandered scoring opportunities.
However Down never gave up and it was only in the dying minutes of the game that their concentration lapsed and they allowed Offaly to snatch three goals and two points in quick succession to give the hosts a winning margin of 6-12 to 3-5.
Whilst all 20 girls on the Down panel gave a solid team effort over the 60 minutes, a special mention must be made of the exceptional performances of Down’s captain, Aoife Keown, and her midfield partner, Nuala Carvill. Both girls worked tirelessly all over the field and were a driving force and inspiration to their side.
Down: Aimee McAleenan (1-0), Aislinn Brown, Aislinn McFarland, Anna Rogan, Aoife Keown (Capt) (0-4 3f), Cassie Fitzpatrick, Clare Cleland, Clare McGilligan, Danielle McCourt, Dearbhla Magee (1-1), Elizabeth Wilson, Lauren Cassidy, Megan Sloan (1-0), Molly McMullan, Niamh Hazard, Niamh Rogers, Nuala Carvill, Olivia Boyle, Rhea Smyth, Sarah Toner. Manager: Noreen Keown. Mentors: Ann Rogers, Roisin Rogers, Slim Rogers, Paul Boyle.