Experience, resilience and a generous helping of accuracy helped to take Down to the Ulster senior camogie championship title at the expense of Antrim at the week-end.
The Mourne county side now appear to hold the whip hand over their Saffrons counterparts when it comes to the matches that matter and on this occasion it was a burning desire that clearly underpinned the winners’ drive for glory.
Yet there was only one point between the sides at the finish (1-18 to 3-11) in a match in which Antrim were forced to field without ace finisher Roisin McCormick.
But an early goal from Maeve Kelly propelled the side into a 1-4 to 0-2 lead before Niamh Mallon, Sara Louise Graffin and Paula O’Hagan helped to give Down a better platform when they led at the interval by 0-8 to 1-4.
A goal from Graffin further boosted Down after the break although when Kelly scored her second goal for Antrim her team was reinvigorated.
But with Niamh Mallon picking off points and their defence having tightened following goals from Kelly and Caitrin Dobbin, Down just managed to get over the line in a tense finish.
In the intermediate final Armagh beat Antrim’s second string by 6-33 to 0-6 having led by 4-21 to 0-1 at the interval with Ciara Donnelly and Rachel Merry in the vanguard of the orchard county’s scoring explosion.
Meanwhile, in the All-Ireland Ladies Football Championship Armagh turned on the style in overcoming Monaghan by 4-17 to 1-12.
The Orchard County girls were stretched by their opponents before taking an interval lead (1-9 to 0-7) with their goal coming from Caroline O’Hanlon but three further goals from Kelly Mallon, Eve Lavery and Alex Clarke ensured that Armagh romped to a comfortable victory.
But Tyrone found the going tough against All-Ireland champions Dublin and fell by 2-18 to 1-11. Chloe McCaffrey landed Tyrone’s goal with the impressive Niamh O’Neill scoring nine points.