By Shaun Casey
THE Down ladies have recovered brilliantly from a 16-point hammering to Kildare in their opening round tie to go on a three-game winning streak.
This weekend they hope to extend that unbeaten run to four as they travel south. They face a difficult away journey to Clare and the Banner County have lost both their home games so far, which may be a good sign for the Mourne ladies.
“You have four hours travelling time on a bus so it’s a long trip down, we’ll head on the Saturday but still it’s very time consuming,” said Down boss Peter Lynch. “The home games are definitely handier, but I think it’s about the furthest we’ve had to go for a game.
“The travelling itself and the game, I’d say Clare will be difficult. Clare beat Down in the championship last year in the group and Clare have a lot of experience of Division Two and they held their own up there for a long time. It’ll be a difficult game I would imagine and we’re expecting it to be tough.
“One of their home games was Kildare and Kildare were flying high and then got pipped by Louth. From the very start of the league, all the teams were capable of taking points from each other, there’s an awful lot of teams where there’s not a lot in it.
“You see a lot of games being decided by a point or two points and that’s been the case in the last couple of weeks especially.”
Lynch insists his side took a lot of learnings from the first day out and that has been the reason for their change in fortune.
“The game against Kildare, there’s probably never a truer example of you win or you learn,” said Lynch. “I think we learned a lot that day, Kildare were much better than us on the day, but we felt we didn’t go ourselves justice, we felt we were better than how we played.
“We were just maybe a bit too loose, and we gave Kildare a bit too much space in the danger areas so we when we regrouped everyone was disappointed and we said we needed to work on what let us down.
“We’ve just concentrated on closing down those spaces in front of goal and trying to be a bit better on our transition. Against Kildare we were coming out and getting turned over in our own half when hurt us a lot.
“I think we’ve improved a lot in those areas. We had a rebound win over Sligo, we really had to dig out a one-point win in Wexford, but our defence in Wexford, we held them scoreless for the last 40 minutes which is some going.
“Our defence has definitely improved massively from the first game.
“And then again against Longford, we only conceded seven points so that end of it’s good and it was probably the first game that we got a really good score up so hopefully it keeps going that direction.”