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Fantastic work being done at under-age level by a LOT of people from both sides of the water here in Down! This deserves a thread on its own and a LOT more publicity than its been getting!!
Make no mistake about out, this is a SERIOUS result! That's the Down U17 hurlers into an All-Ireland Semi-Final...let that sink in for a moment!!

Down 3-14 Cork City 2-8

Down advanced to the semi-final of the Celtic Challenge set for next weekend, after an impressive performance against Cork City.
The pivotal moment of this thrilling encounter came less than one minute into the second half. Leading by four points, 1-9 to 1-5 and having had the benefit of a strong, forceful wind Down desperately needed some breathing space in preparation of the expected Rebel fight back, when Stuart Martin pounced on a saved rebound and flashed the sliotar past a the Cork City goalkeeper..

When the referee blew the full time whistle, the delight in the Down camp was clear to see as they pulled off an significant achievement in beating the Rebel county side for the first time. Down now progress to the All-Ireland semi-final of the Corn William Robinson next week with a meeting of either East Waterford, Limerick city or Dublin Plunkett.

Referee Antoin Keating and his officials awarded the Best & Fairest award to Ronan Costelloe of Down and Blake Murphy of Cork City.

Down team & Scorers: Eoin McCrickard, Matt McAreavey, Eoin Maguire, Ronan Murphy, Liam McCarthy, Cathal Coulter, Billy Campbell, Ciaran Watson (0-1), Phelim Savage (0-1), Tim Prenter (0-2), Ronan Blair (0-6), Joe Hanrahan (0-2), Stuart Martin (2-1), Ronan Costelloe (1-1), Padraig Doran
Subs: Niall McFarland, Sean Campbell, John Hughes, Caolan Coulter, Owen McGreevy, Rory Brown

THEMOLE2 (Down) - Posts: 1606 - 12/06/2017 07:58:02    1998236


PART 1 Fantastic interview with Sheehan from the Down U17 management team (interview was prior to the U17 1/4 final victory)

Ronan Sheehan: 'We're delighted with the Celtic Challenge in Down'

For the past number of years Ronan Sheehan has been immersed in the development of Down hurling across all levels.
Managing the Down minors has preceded his involvement as the county's Under-17 Celtic Challenge manager.
Getting the best players out to hurl and coping with club fixtures that are sometimes staggered and delayed have been frequent challenges but, this weekend, Sheehan faces a different dilemma when his adopted county takes on a team from his native county in the Bank of Ireland Celtic Challenge preliminaries.

Down will play Cork City on Saturday in a bid to get a place in the competition's quarter-final stage.
And Sheehan is relishing the prospect of hooking up with coaches from his native county.
"It's great to be playing Cork City on a personal level as my family are from Banteer in North Cork and I still travel down home regularly," he says.
"I was down in Thurles a couple of weeks ago for the Cork v Tipperary Munster SHC match and this weekend I'd be delighted to get one over the home county," he laughs.

Sheehan has been working diligently at grass-roots level trying to promote hurling in the northern county and province and in the past he has spoken about the difficult position that the game finds itself in.

But having helped to bring through impressive young Down players like Eoin Coulter, Donal Og Rooney, Daithi Sands and the talented McCrickards, Conor and Ruairi, he is still hopeful that the development work in the Mourne County will count for a lot.
"Diarmuid O'Sullivan is a close personal friend of mine as is Donal Og Cusack and both of the lads have taken this team for coaching sessions in the past. They have travelled up here on numerous occasions so that has been a huge boost.
"I have been onto to the two lads during the season and indeed Conor Lane (the leading intercounty referee) who is a cousin of mine trying to get some information on the Cork City team but they're not giving me too much!
"But this is a good group of lads we have and we are confident that they will give a good account of themselves."
Sheehan's team certainly did that last year when they only lost narrowly to Kilkenny South in the Division 1 semi-final.
"We have over half that team available again this year so we are hoping to go at least one better," he says.

"Here in Down we have been delighted with the Celtic Challenge over the past couple of years and indeed the support from Paudie O'Neill (Chairman of the Hurling Development Committee) in helping arrange recent challenge games with Westmeath and Dublin Plunkett.
"We won those games and now our lads really want to test themselves and the Celtic Challenge has provided that opportunity."
Overall it's a huge weekend for Down hurling.
We want to start to bring some of these lads through to senior inter county hurling
Not only do they have the game against Cork City to look forward to but there is also the launch of their Player Pathway programme on the same day with Paudie O'Neill and National Hurling Manager Martin Fogarty both attending.

THEMOLE2 (Down) - Posts: 1606 - 12/06/2017 08:14:46    1998239


Part 2

"Niall Coulter, one of our Celtic Challenge coaches, has, among others,put a lot of work into this programme which seeks to create a clear skills and physical preparation pathway for young hurlers from under-6 right through to under-21 intercounty level.
"We have over half our team this weekend from outside the traditional Ards power base in Down and the player pathway seeks to build on that work.
"We want to start to bring some of these lads through to senior inter county hurling - that is why we are so supportive of not only the Celtic Challenge but we also support Paudie's idea for a similar competition at under-20.

"We understand we may never again see a Down senior hurling team play in an All-Ireland senior semi-final but we want to be mixing with the Westmeath, Laois, Carlows, Kerrys which we are doing at underage level.

"And we believe that competitions like the Celtic challenge and our work on the player pathway creates that route map for us to challenge these teams again at senior level."

THEMOLE2 (Down) - Posts: 1606 - 12/06/2017 08:15:09    1998240


Semi final East Waterford v Down Saturday 17th June in Abbottstown at 3.30pm

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 12/06/2017 11:47:06    1998377


can you post what clubs where represented om this Sown team

southerncat79 (Kilkenny) - Posts: 80 - 12/06/2017 12:51:22    1998429


Celtic Challenge Division 3 - Saturday, June 17 2017

(Semi-Final 1)
East Waterford V Down

(Semi-Final 2 )
Dublin Plunkett V Limerick City

Best of luck to the Down lads on Saturday!

THEMOLE2 (Down) - Posts: 1606 - 13/06/2017 09:31:54    1998886


Replying To southerncat79:  "can you post what clubs where represented om this Sown team"
Eoin mccrickard (liatrom)
Matt mcareavey (bredagh)
Eoin maguire (carryduff)
Ronan Murphy (portaferry)
Liam McCarthy (ballycran)
Cathal coulter (ballygalget)
Billy Campbell (newry)
Ciaran Watson (ballygalget)
Phelim savage (ballycran)
Niall mcfarland (bredagh)
Ronan blair (portaferry)
Joe hanrahan (bredagh)
Stuart Martin (ballycran)
Ronan costello (bredagh)
Tim Prenter (ballygalget)
Padraig doran (portaferry)
Sean Campbell (newry)
John Hughes (ballygalget)
Caolan coulter (ballygalget)
Owen mcgreevy (ballela)
Rory brown (ballycran)

Thecranman (Down) - Posts: 30 - 13/06/2017 19:40:03    1999289


Down 2-17 to East Waterford 1-12........Down through to all Ireland final where they will play Dublin Plunkett.....

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 17/06/2017 20:13:30    2000691


Well done lads! A great result. The hard work is paying off.

Seannie Og (Down) - Posts: 941 - 18/06/2017 09:01:34    2000952


Excellent result for Down. I see also Antrim, Armagh, Tyrone and Fermanagh are through to their respective Finals too. Are all finals at the one venue next weekend?

lasttoknow (Tyrone) - Posts: 98 - 18/06/2017 09:30:54    2000965


All finals are in Dr Cullen park next Saturday

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 18/06/2017 12:12:05    2001059


Celtic Challenge Division 3 - FINAL

Saturday June 24 2017 - Netwatch Cullen Park
Down V Dublin Plunkett

Best of luck to the players, management team and supporters on Saturday. Its great to see a young Down team in an All-Ireland final!!

THEMOLE2 (Down) - Posts: 1606 - 22/06/2017 09:02:34    2003376


Replying To THEMOLE2:  "Celtic Challenge Division 3 - FINAL

Saturday June 24 2017 - Netwatch Cullen Park
Down V Dublin Plunkett

Best of luck to the players, management team and supporters on Saturday. Its great to see a young Down team in an All-Ireland final!!"
It's an AI final of sorts, but still good experience for our lads.

bricktop (Down) - Posts: 2416 - 22/06/2017 10:31:28    2003421


To be fair to the young lads bricktop they are playing in a higher division than Carlow, Westmeath, Laois, Meath, Kerry.........all of who are in the Mc Carthy qualifier group so I wouldn't downplay their achievements too much, clearly very much the start of the road for this team but their progress is encouraging

The Cork city team they beat had lads from Na piarsaigh, Barrs, Douglas, Blackrock, Glen Rovers etc same as the East Waterford team was full of lads from Mount Siin, Ballygunner, De La Salle so while they weren't full county teams it was still a notable acheivement for them

Up against it again tomorrow but I'm sure they will do their best

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 23/06/2017 09:22:56    2003853


Good luck to the Down boys! They've exceeded expectations so far

Pity it's so far away or a few more from the County could have travelled down. With minor and senior County teams out later in the day there'll not be a big support I fear.

Frank Mitchell (Down) - Posts: 1067 - 23/06/2017 09:43:42    2003862


For anyone interested the game is being streamed live on at 2.20pm

PaudieSull1 (Down) - Posts: 726 - 23/06/2017 11:15:17    2003911


Good luck later lads !

Seannie Og (Down) - Posts: 941 - 24/06/2017 08:47:29    2004239


What a day to be a Down man!

I watched the match from Carlow on-line before heading to Armagh. Great performance from the entire squad and management. Well done lads.

Frank Mitchell (Down) - Posts: 1067 - 25/06/2017 08:16:05    2004611


Replying To Frank Mitchell:  "What a day to be a Down man!

I watched the match from Carlow on-line before heading to Armagh. Great performance from the entire squad and management. Well done lads."
Well done indeed. I hear we won by a goal

Suas Sios (None) - Posts: 1377 - 25/06/2017 12:32:49    2004707


Good win for the lads involved and that's all good.

What now?

For most there's minor county championship, 2/3 games at best. club minor round robin, not really championship but games all the same, quarter finals, semi's and final.

Then what over the winter?

I know that with us the likes of Phelim, Stuarty and co will start training with the senior hurlers and no doubt the same will happen in Ballygalget and Portaferry, but what of the Bredagh, Shamrocks, Liatroim lads and so forth.
What's their progression path?

bricktop (Down) - Posts: 2416 - 26/06/2017 12:40:03    2005638