Gribben and Mallon can keep Down in title race
Down face the first leg of what they see as a vitally important double when they confront Meath in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Championship in Trim this afternoon (2.30pm).
Following drawn fixtures against Laois and Carlow, Down now find that they must win today's game and their forthcoming assignment against Cork if they are to have any chance of having a say in the destination of the intermediate title.
And with Meath also anxious to claim the points as they bid to bolster their own push for honours, Down expect a rigorous examination of their skills.
The Mourne side possess two extremely capable finishers in Paula Gribben and Niamh Mallon, but there has been some concern at the manner in which they have conceded scores on occasions.
Clonduff ace Gribben, who is due to marry Down football skipper Darren O'Hagan in October, has been on fire lately but recognises that the pressure will be on her county to produce the goods this afternoon.
Mallon brings considerable experience to the table and this will certainly be required against a Meath side that is noted for a robust style.
While Down are well served up front, they can also look to the talented Sarah-Louise Carr to provide the link between defence and attack, while Maria McNally can marshal the defence from her full-back berth.
Like most teams, Down were denied the services of some of their top players earlier in the year, but the core of experience within the line-up just now offers the hope that they can make up lost ground.
A management spokesperson said: "Obviously we have left ourselves with work to do because of the fact that we dropped points in our drawn games, but this match against Meath and then our next outing offer us the chance to be in at the death when the title is being decided and we would like to make the most of this if we can."
Meanwhile, in the Lidl All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship, Cavan will take on Laois at Ashbourne today (12pm).
It may only be a preliminary round tie but the match has considerable significance for Cavan, who have been making big strides lately.