Down Ladies meet their old foe Fermanagh in the Ulster Intermediate Championship Semi final in Aghnamullen on Saturday.
The two sides are no strangers having most recently met in a Division 2 tie where Down came out comfortable winners. However, it will be Fermanagh’s Anglo-Celt title which Down will be firmly focused on and any talk of league form is quickly forgotten in the Championship.
The semi final is a re-run of last year’s final when the two teams met in a blistering hot Celtic Park and it was Fermanagh who lifted the Cup, while Down looked on despondent. A lot of football has been played since then, seasoned campaigners have left both panels and new faces have joined, and this Championship tie has all the hallmarks of serving up a great spectacle of football for the travelling fans from both counties.
Down manager Mark Copeland is looking forward to the Championship. He said: “We’ve had a hard road to travel this year in Division 2. It was a challenge for us, but one that the girls rose to. We were very happy to reach a Division 2 Semi-Final and we feel we could have went on to challenge for a Division 1 spot in 2015 but it wasn’t to be. As soon as the Semi was over our sole focus was and still is, the Championship. “
While Down had a league semi final to focus on during the Division 2 league campaign their Championship preparation time has been a lot shorter compared to Fermanagh who have had the luxury of an extra 2-3 weeks prep for the Ulster Championship. No doubt Fermanagh will have put the time to good use and this will only confound Down’s prep as injury worries are a major concern for the Mourne set up, with club fixtures having took their toll on a number of key players who have picked up injuries over the past couple of weeks.
Mark Copeland added: “Fermanagh will be a formidable opponent and we’ll not be paying to much heed to their league campaign as it’ll have little bearing on their Championship aspirations. With the extra few weeks they’ve had to recover and regroup, they’ll be a different team turning out on 7 June. All we can do is concentrate on our own game and go out and give it everything we have, after that we can ask no more of the girls.”
You can see the Down v Fermanagh Ulster IFC Semi final at 2pm in Aghnamullen, Co. Monaghan, preceeded by Down U-14B v Armagh U-14B Development League Ulster Final at 12pm.