By Shaun Casey
DOWN not only face a top of the table tussle with Limerick on Sunday afternoon, but they are also competing against the bustling crowd that will descend on the Treaty County for a Dermot Kennedy concert this weekend.
The trip south is too long and strenuous to make in one day, but hotel rooms are scarce this weekend, which throws up its own challenges for Peter Lynch’s side.
But the Mourne ladies are up for the task, both on and off the field. “We played them (Limerick) a few years ago in the Intermediate,” recalled the Down boss.
“And they’ve won an All-Ireland Junior in the last few years and they’re a notoriously sticky team to play against, they’re well organised, they move the ball quickly and they get players back quickly.
“Both of us are in the semi-finals already but this game will determine who gets first and second place so I’m sure both teams will be aiming to come out on top. It’s a long trip for us. When the draw was made, we felt at the time that the LGFA, these groups were set up months ago, but we didn’t actually get fixtures for who and where you’re playing until a few weeks ago.
“So, when we went looking for accommodation in Limerick, it’s the same weekend Dermot Kennedy is playing so you’d be lucky to get a tent.
“But we’ll travel, and we’ll stay overnight but we’re still about an hour away from the game but that’s okay too. Sometimes if you’re staying over and you’re up and about too early, it can be hard to kill time before a game.
“Hopefully everything works out for us, it just means that the logistics are difficult, and we had the same with Sligo. But Limerick is too far to try and expect people to make that trip the morning of a game.”
Down head into the game in fine scoring form having overcame Kilkenny last weekend with 59-points to spare, winning 13-24 to 0-4 in the end.
“It’s hard for them with such a strong hurling and camogie tradition there,” added Lynch. “To get football established and to try and make their mark at Junior, it’s difficult for them.”
But Down can only beat what’s in front of them and when it comes to seeding for the last four of the All-Ireland series, Lynch’s ladies were taking no chances.
They’ve been burnt before when playing with the fire that is score difference, so Lynch insists his side were taking no chances.
“Part of the thing for us, in 2019 we were eliminated from the Intermediate Championship because of points difference and this year we missed out on a league final because of points difference, and we were anxious to make sure that didn’t happen again.
“So, if there’s scores there, you have to keep taking them and it’s the bad end of the stick unfortunately for Kilkenny but that’s the way the competition is.”