Down Camogie team took on Galway yesterday at Pairc Esler in the third round of the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Intermediate Championship.

Down were sitting third in the group after two draws in the previous games. Galway settled the quicker and backed by a very strong breeze ran up an early lead of 1-03 to 0-01, the girls kept battling and ate into the lead with some very well taken points. The Galway puck outs were catching the Down girls out as they were landing well beyond the midfield and their forwards were making great runs and they notched up two more goals. The Down heads though never went down and with Down's Paula Gribben sending the sliotar to the back of the net it put the half time score Galway 3-08 to Down 1-09.

Down's Danielle Toner on the ball against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan
Down's Danielle Toner on the ball against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan

The second half was all Down and every player became sharper the forwards were making great runs and the camogie on display was excellent with all the skills of the game on display, high fielding, blocking, tackling and accuracy from scoring. Galway only scored 2-02 in the second half with both goals coming late on in the game.  Down notched up 2 10 in the second half with a number of players getting their name on the score sheet.

There were strong performances all over the pitch especially in the second half Sara Louise Carr was immense at centre forward throughout the game with an exhibition of high catching and scores from play, Paula Gribben in midfield worked tirelessly throughout the match and finished with the first half with a fabulous goal, alongside her was Maebh O’Hare who worked really hard, Niamh Mallon at full forward came deep at times to win the ball and had a great second half, corner forwards Neisha McCullough and Danielle Toner were very unlucky no to get on the score sheet as well.

Aimee McAleenan and Cassie Fitzpatrick both got onto the score sheet, the defence marked the Galway players very tight and their tackling put the forwards under immense pressure and forced them to shoot from awkward angles. Maria McNally at full back marshalled her troops in front encouraging them all the time, she had terrific support in the full back line from Clare McGilligan and Caoimhe Byrne.

Dearbhla Magee made a very welcome return the half backline after having surgery and alongside her there was very strong performances from Alannah Savage and Sabrina McCullough, and last but by no means least young Lauren Clarke in nets made some crucial saves when the team was under pressure.

Aoife Savage replaced Caoimhe Byrne, Catriona Caldwell came on for Maebh O’Hare and scored a point and Megan O’Reilly replaced Neisha McCullough in the forward line.

Down's Alannah Savage clears the ball against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan
Down's Alannah Savage clears the ball against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan

It’s just a shame that more people don’t come out and support the girls, they train hard and work very hard for each other on the pitch and it would be a real boost if they had more support at the games.

Down come under pressure against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan
Down come under pressure against Galway. Photograph: Brendan Monaghan

Final score Down 3:19 Galway 5:10

Team and scorers; 1. Lauren Clarke, 2. Caoimhe Byrne, 3. Maria McNally, 4. Clare McGilligan, 5 Alannah Savage, 6 Dearbhla Magee, 7. Sabrina McCullough, 8. Maebh O'Hare, 9. Paula Gribben 1-05, 10. Cassie Fitzpatrick 1-01, 11. Sara-Louise Carr 0-06, 12. Aimee McAleenan 0-01, 13. Neisha McCullough, 14 Niamh Mallon 1-05, 15 Danielle Toner, 16 Nicola McCabe, 17 Cori Smyth, 18 Amanda Wood, 19 Aoife Savage, 20 Caitriona Caldwell 0-01, 21 Megan O'Reilly came on for Neisha McCullough, 22 Nicola O'Hagan 

The Down team have two games left to play, Meath and Cork.