Lynch expecting tight tussle against Antrim

By Shaun Casey

DOWN got back to winning ways last weekend when they overcame Sligo by the minimum of margins to pick up their first victory of 2024 after suffering back-to-back defeats in the opening two weekends of the league.

Last year’s All-Ireland Junior champions take on Antrim this weekend and the Mourne ladies are expecting another tight battle, just as they’ve come to expect now in Division Three.

The Saffrons have made a poor start to the league campaign, tasting defeat in all three of their outings so far against Leinster opponents Louth, Offaly and Wexford, but Down joint-boss Peter Lynch won’t be taking their Ulster rivals for granted.

“Antrim are down a few players from last year, so they mightn’t have the same depth in their squad, but I’d still have a lot of respect for them,” said Lynch, who takes the side with Caoibhe Sloan.

“Antrim have achieved a lot in the last few years, they’ve made huge strides, so we’ll be giving them the respect they deserve. When you go to play your neighbours, it’s always a tight affair so we’ll be expecting another tough game definitely.”

Improving week on week is the key for Down says their manager and they’ve done that throughout the opening three rounds of the league.

They were disappointed with their first-round performance against Roscommon but have gradually gotten better with every game.

They couldn’t convert their possession into scores in round two against Wexford, but finally cracked the code against Sligo last weekend to pick up their first points of the campaign.

“It was good to get the feeling that we’re back on track again,” added Lynch. “We underperformed against Roscommon, and I thought we improved a lot against Wexford but just didn’t turn possession into scores.

“The Roscommon game, we didn’t transition well, and we had far too many unforced errors and it’s something that we have improved a lot in our game, our ball retention and being patient on it but that seemed to desert us in that game.

“We were disappointed that we didn’t perform in that regard but against Wexford, we had the lion’s share of the possession. Wexford were very good at getting a lot of players back and when we did find spaces, we just didn’t execute well enough.

“We thought we left about 1-7 behind us in the first half, we should have been in a far healthier position at half time and the wind was a factor then too in the second half.

“Performance wise, we were much better but we just didn’t turn it into scores. That improved last week against Sligo and we’re happy that we’ve progressed enough to get a win and we want to try and improve each day we go out.

“Last Sunday was a better, rounded performance. We expected Sligo to be tough, we knew they have improved a lot from last year, so we knew if we made it over the line by a point that we’d be happy enough.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW