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Down in desperate bid to keep Cup place

By Declan Bogue

Almost a year after winning the Christy Ring Cup in such dramatic circumstances with a late goal against Kerry, Down head into this weekend desperately seeking to maintain their place at this level.

Two successive defeats in the group stages of the Ring Cup — 0-17 to 1-8 against Meath and 2-16 to 3-12 against Derry — has put paid to their hopes of retaining their title.

Should neighbours Armagh beat them, Down would be forced into a play-off against the winners of Nicky Rackard Cup to determine who will operate at this level in 2015.

However, Armagh hopes are slim, given their recent form.

They have been conquered by Mayo and Wicklow this summer, while in the National League meeting between these two back in February, Down won by 16 points.

The loss of Paul Braniff and Gareth Johnston has hurt Down, but they should survive another year at this level.

Meanwhile, the Ulster camogie finals take place this weekend at Pairc Esler, Newry.

Tyrone beat Down's junior team on Thursday night to progress to the final, where they will meet Cavan.

The Breffni girls are without some match sharpness however, as semi-final opponents Antrim pulled out of the competition. The final takes place tomorrow at 1pm.

The senior decider will be contested by Derry and Down tomorrow (3pm).

Derry also are slightly in the dark about their form after Armagh pulled out of the scheduled semi-final, while Down had little problem in disposing of Antrim on the other side of the draw.

By virtue of their recent successes, Derry are considered favourites but have to do without Grainne McGoldrick who picked up a knock on club duty recently.

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