Down U-16 Camogs Visit The Royal County

Camogie U-16C All Ireland Championship Meath 4-2  Down 2-2 Report by Angela Mulhern THE trip by the Down U-16 Camogs to the Royal County was made with great optimism following the slaughter of Roscommon the week before. It certainly looked like the Down girls had picked up where they had left off as they came out of the starting blocks with great gusto in the fine surrounds of the Ashbourne GAC Complex. The several disciplinary changes enforced on the Down team had little effect as the blocking and tackling from the Down girls was superb. Meath, who had destroyed Donegal the week before, were rocked and pinned in defence for much of the first half. There was a fine tussle at midfield with Aoife Keown and Olivia Boyle having to be at their best to contain Meath whose centre half back, Chyene O’Rourke, was in sparkling form. [caption id="attachment_21619" align="alignright" width="400" caption="The Down U-16 camogie team."][/caption] The Down girls persevered and were rewarded for their labours when Aoife Keown pointed for the first score of the game. Down continued to press but squandered too many chances, which they were later to regret. Aimee McAleenan pointed for the visitors before Monica McKay found the net with a fine ground strike but Meath were soon to reply with two points. The Down advantage was then reinforced only minutes later when Monica McKay again rifled a groundstroke to the net just prior to the break to leave the half-time score Down 2-2 Meath 0-2. Whatever was said by the Meath Mentors at half-time certainly paid dividends as they completely dominated a lethargic Down team in the second half.  Whether Down thought the game was over by half-time, or whether the hunger was not there, is for the Management team to decide, but quite simply Down only looked a shadow of themselves in the second half. Meath won countless tussles and their midfield started to dominate despite the best efforts of the Down girls and spurred on by this they struck two killer blows when they hit the net twice in quick succession to level things. This undoubtedly lifted the Meath team morale and they kicked on from here. Down did have several good scoring chances but were caught in possession too much and lacked confidence in taking long distance scores. While they played very much ground camogie in the first half and dominated a very good Meath team they seemed to lack the same desire in the second half to fight for ground ball in the heavy conditions. At this stage though a draw would have been very much a fair result – a game of two halves – but the Meath girls were not to be outdone and with the Down girls unable to lift their performance, disaster struck for them in the last few minutes of the game when Meath stepped up to the plate and raised the green flag on two further occasions to leave Down to make the long trip home with nothing to show for their efforts. It is hard to put a finger on why Down lost this game. They were coasting it at half-time and a win was very much on the cards against their closest rivals.  They now have to pick themselves up and make no mistake against Cavan to ensure qualification for the play-off stages.  They will undoubtedly do this if they get the commitment and determination back that they have only shown in patches to date. Their destiny is now very much in their own hands. Down:  Finola Rice, Claren Owens, Aleacha Rooney, Niamh Hazard, Cara McMullan, Ciara Gibson, Caitlin McCartan, Aoife Keown (0-1), Olivia Boyle, Catherine Rocks, Aislinn McFarland, Aimee McAleenan (0-1), Anne-Marie McKey, Monica McKay (2-0), Tierna Rooney, Annette McCormick, Anthea Trainor, Brid McGourty, Ciara Tumilty, Claire Connor, Clare Cleland, Deirbhile Savage, Jane McAleenan, Jenna Boden, Laura Grant, Lauren Cassidy, Maria MacFarlane, Mary-Clare Grant, Nicole Smyth, Olivia Fay, Roisin Mulholland, Shannon O’Hagan]]>