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Down's Gareth Johnston out in front in the replay against Meath.Down Senior Hurlers are on their way to Croke Park this Saturday the 8th of June where they will meet Kerry in the Christy Ring Final. The beat Meath on Saturday in the replay with a final score of 0:23 to 1:10

The Final takes place next Saturday in Croke Park at 4.00pm. As in the case of all fixtures in Croke Park Tickets  must be purchased in advance. There is triple bill of Finals in Croke Park on Saturday.

 Ticket Prices are as follows: £20.00 Adults, £5.00 Under 16s, £15.00 Seniors/Students

The County Office in Castlewellan will have Tickets available to purchase from 2.00pm on Monday. 

Seats are unreserved and Only the Lower Hogan Stand will be Open. Club Orders should be with us in good time to allow for Thursday collection.

Even before the senior Hurlers earned their place in Croke Park the county hosted its first Poc Fada in the brilliant surroundings of Downpatrick racecourse.

With going good to firm and soft in places over 50 competitors took part across various divisions.

The Poc Fada was supported by Caman Hurls & O Neil's. The individual winners not only receiving a coveted county medal but also a hurl of their choice & a specially commissioned Down Jersey from O Neill's.

The event got underway with the Camogs U16 event. The course itself was deceptively hilly and also very tight in places so as to challenge accuracy too. But the 7 young Camogs got round in just over an hour. Winner, Amy Freer from Warrenpoint completed the course 37 strokes beating second placed Niamh Brown from Clonduff by 6 shots

Enjoying the Poc Fada at Downpatrick Racecourse.6 U16 hurlers were up next and they had an extremely competitive course. Coming round the last bend only 1 shot separated the top 4 competitors. In the end the tight home straight cost a few shots & Ciaren Monan from Ballygalget won the event with 31 shots beating Matthew Mee from Shamrocks into second place by a single shot.

The senior Camogs was another closely contested event with many of the county senior Camogs on show it was great for the young girls that had turned up on the day to meet some of the girls they look up to. Sarah Louise Carr, Down & Clonduff superstar full forward (sister of previous Ulster Poc Fada winner Finnoula) was the early leader but a few shots out of bounds cost her dearly in the end. The event was won by her county colleague Liatroims, Ciatriona "Tin Tin" McCrickard. Those long accurate pick outs that took Down to Junior All Ireland finals came in handy at the tight points on the track to see her complete the course in 31 shots with her nearest competitor Aishling Magee on 34.

The men's event was hit with withdrawals during the week due to county commitments. Big hitters such as Grahame Clarke, Conor Woods, Kevin McGarry & Gareth "Magic" Johnson stepped down to concentrate on getting the county to Croke Park & therefore opening the door to some competitors that mite not have originally fancied their chances. This turned the men's into a serious tight event with every competitor coming in at 31 or under. Ian Galway from the Bredagh club put in a terrifically accurate course & the tension on the last few shots was extremely palpable. In the end previous Down winner & Ulster runner up Karol Keating won the even with 27 strokes, beating Ian by the minimum.

Competing at the Poc Fada at Downpatrick.The highlight of the day however was the team event. This was designed so that anyone, whatever age, sex or ability could be part of the Down Poc Fada. Teams were made up of 3 competitors who took it in turns to strike round the course. Teams approached this in different styles.... Ballyvarly & Warrenpoint with an enthusiasm that saw them take off without a counter even, compared with the eventual winners of the men's event Portaferry who with Conor Mageean, Brendan Coleman & Gary Coffee who were there with their extra hurls & tactics & everything..:-)

Down minor hurlers also entered teams at this category with varying degrees of success. I think it's fair to say that if it wasn't for previous U16 winner Sean Savage they would have came home with no sliotars... If the poc fada accuracy is anything to go by... Get your house on Derry for the Ulster semi final... :-)

The Camogie section was embraced greatly by the ladies side of our association which saw many clubs take part & indeed it was great to see Clonduff there in force & actually kitted out to give it a proper team feeling. Clonduff team of Kitty Fegan, Ursula Quinn & Orla Maginn won through in the end.

Many thanks must go to Downpatrick Racecourse for opening their gates and couldn't have been more helpful with their facilities.

Veronica McGreevey, Victoria Donnolly, John Mee, Gerard McShane & Brian Murphy were all on hand to provide great support & the 2 sponsors. O Neills & Caman hurls all played their part in a great day. 

Special mention must go to Michael Mc Cullough and Liam Mc Veigh for all their hard work and for keeping us right up to date on the Hurling front 

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