Fionnuala Carr

Fionnuala Carr: Many twists and turns in Down football

Last weekend we had two dramatic endings to the two senior football championship games on Sunday evening.

Clonduff did a complete role reversal from their game against Bryansford to snatch victory at the death from Mayobridge in a game in which they looked to be dead and buried.

Kilcoo overcame Burren but the end of the game was marred by a melee after the final whistle.


The two matches were both great games of football with fantastic scores from all four teams.

The great thing about Northern Ireland at the minute is that a limited number of supporters are still permitted to attend games compared to games being played behind closed doors in the South.

The old GAA championship saying of “nothing beats being there” is entirely accurate but this year we have had more games available to us through the GAA online streaming services. Having access to watch these club games and club games from all over Ireland has breathed fresh life into supporters who have been devoid of live sport for so long.

I have been able to watch the majority of the Down championship games and some of the Antrim hurling championship games that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see otherwise.

What has struck me the most about the Down championship to date has been the competitive nature of the games.

All the games I have watched have been entertaining and competitive right until the final whistle. This is something that must please Paddy Tally ahead of the start of the intercounty season, knowing that all players have gotten good competitive games under their belts with plenty of football being played.

It will also allow him the opportunity to see what players are in form and perhaps see someone excelling that had been on the fringe previously.

The Down championship has not been without controversy this week with Downpatrick being thrown out of the Championship due to a player being tested for COVID 19.

I can’t imagine that this was a decision that the county board took lightly and this type of scenario is unchartered territory for everyone but it will leave Downpatrick feeling aggrieved about how they have been treated.

Finding out that a draw is being made and your team aren’t in it may cause a lot of anger and frustration for that team.

If Downpatrick decide to appeal the decision or take their case to a higher authority it will leave the whole Down championship in doubt which will then impact on a large number of players as well as the availability of players to the county.

I’m interested to see how this one plays out because it is unlikely to be the last we hear of it.

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