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Win over Laois will help keep title in focus, insists Rooney

Down manager Martina Rooney needs no reminding of the potential difficulties her side face when they take on Laois in Group 2 of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship at Ballyholland today (4.30pm)
Down manager Martina Rooney needs no reminding of the potential difficulties her side face when they take on Laois in Group 2 of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship at Ballyholland today (4.30pm)
John Campbell

By John Campbell

Down manager Martina Rooney needs no reminding of the potential difficulties her side face when they take on Laois in Group 2 of the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship at Ballyholland today (4.30pm).

Laois served up a surprise last weekend when they travelled to Swatragh and overcame a fancied Derry side while Down were struggling to obtain a last-gasp draw against Tipperary.

"Laois obviously surprised Derry and we certainly don't want to fall into the same trap," states Rooney. "We had to work hard to get that draw against Tipperary and we need to win this game if we are to have a chance of staying in contention for the All-Ireland title."

It was Niamh Mallon who came to Down's rescue last weekend when she pirated a goal and a point in the closing moments, and she will again have a key role today alongside players such as the Carr sisters Sara Louise and Fionnuala, Derabhla Savage, Nicola Kelly and Catherine McGourty.

Derry are also in action today against Carlow and they will need another win here if they are to bolster their chances of progress.

They will be without Shannon Graham and Ceát McEldowney, who have left the squad citing work commitments, but on the credit side the Oak Leaf outfit have the free-scoring Karen Kielt back following a lay-off due to injury.

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