Down Juniors win way through to TG4 All Ireland Junior Championship 2023
Semi-Final: Down v Carlow
23rd July 2023
Final Result: Carlow 0-8 1-9 Down
Down booked their place in the TG4 All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final with a hard-fought victory over Carlow at Parnell Park on Sunday.
A late goal from Orla Swail proved to be the decisive moment in the game.
Carlow got off to a strong start with Edel Hayden and Sinead Hayden both scoring impressive points in the opening minutes.
However, Down quickly found their rhythm and their full-forward line of Eimear Fitzpatrick, Natasha Ferris, and Aimee O’Higgins all got on the scoresheet to give their side the lead.
Down’s Ferris and Laoise Duffy extended their lead with well-taken points, but Rachel Sawyer responded with a score for Carlow.
Ferris continued to cause problems for Carlow’s defense and added another point to her tally.
Sawyer added her second point of the game before half-time, but Down held a 0-6 to 0-4 lead.
Sawyer continued to be a threat for Carlow as she reduced Down’s lead to just one point early in the second half.
However, Aoife Brogan scored a fantastic point for Down to settle their nerves.
Fitzpatrick and Sawyer traded scores, and a point from Carlow’s Cliodhna Ni Shé left Down with a narrow one-point lead heading into the final quarter.
Carlow thought they had found an equalizing goal when Ní Shé netted from a free, but after consulting with his umpires, the referee disallowed the goal.
With the game delicately poised, Down produced the crucial moment of the match as substitute Orla Swail found the back of the net from a difficult angle.
Sara Doyle scored a point for Carlow to reduce the deficit, but Duffy sealed victory for Down with a well-worked point.
Down’s win sees them secure a place in the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship final, where they will face Limerick at Croke Park in two weeks’ time.
After being relegated from the intermediate grade last year, Down now have the opportunity to earn an automatic return to the second-tier.
Down Team: A McGivern, A Greene, P Smyth, O Boyle, N McKibbin, Meghan Doherty (C), O Duffy, C Mulvenna, A Brogan (0-1), N Scullion, V McCormack, L Duffy (0-2), E Fitzpatrick (0-2), N Ferris (0-3, 0-1F), A O’Higgins (0-1), K McKay, A Cull, A Laverty, E Sands, E McArdle, E Martin, K Howlett, N Loudon, N King, N McClory, O Blaney, O Swail (1-0), C Byrne, B Rogan & E Bingham-Abbott.
Carlow Team: N Hanley, A Carroll, A Roche, S McCullagh, R Berminghan (C), N Murphy, A O’Donoghue, E Hayden, R Bailey, N Forde, C Ní Shé, S Doyle, E Molloy, E Coogan, S Hayden, M O’Neill, A Dowling, A Hanley, C Jordan, E Ware, E Treacy, M Doyle, R Sawyer, K Collins, O Hickey, T Lyons, B Nolan, C Doran, S Timmons, A Hayden.