HomeFootballMegan Doherty relishing trip into the unknown with Down

Megan Doherty relishing trip into the unknown with Down


Related stories


Ulster Ladies’s Football Intermediate Championship Final

DOWN captain Meghan Doherty is relishing the going into unknown against Monaghan in Sunday’s Ulster Intermediate Championship Final (St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, 1pm).

That might seem somewhat daunting, and of course the management duo of Peter Lynch and Caoibhe Sloan will have had their homework done and that insight passed on to the players, but for Doherty, it means there are no preconceptions or inhibitions or mental challenges to overcome.

“It’s refreshing to not know much at all about your opposition as it lets you focus completely on your own team’s performance and not comparing to how we have played against them before,” she said.

Although Monaghan have only come down from senior in the last two years and they play their football in Division Two while Down have just come back up to intermediate following last year’s All-Ireland junior triumph and they play in Division Three, with the two sides meeting like this, there is a feeling that it really is anyone’s game but that’s the way Doherty views every game they head into.

“Every game is 50-50 and you have to go in with full belief that you can win the game,” she said.

“At the end of the day this is an Ulster final and both teams are going to come out and give it everything they have, so I imagine it’s going to be a very hard, challenging game for us.

“Championship football is a different level altogether and I guess on Sunday it’s going to come down to who wants it the most.”

While many were expecting Tyrone to come out of the other semi-final, Monaghan caused an upset against the Division Two league finalists, something that Doherty says just goes to show that form is not everything when it comes to championship.

“I hadn’t thought much about who the winner of the [semi-final] game would be. As we played in a different division to them and didn’t play either team it was hard to call how the result would have gone.

Maeve Monaghan (right) and Megan Doherty
Monaghan captain Maeve Monaghan with Down skipper Megan Doherty

“If I was to answer based on how the teams finished in the league, yes I would have said Tyrone as they were in the league final and promoted to Division One, while Monaghan finished third from the bottom but just goes to show that championship is a completely different level to league.”

Antrim made the step up from junior to intermediate last season, taking it in their stride, as they clinched the Ulster intermediate title and went all the way to the last four of the All-Ireland competition.

Down will have watched that closely and came into this championship season with their sights set as high as possible, and not to focus too much on the calibre of the competition, that saw them defeat former senior team Cavan and defending champions Antrim to reach this stage.

“You always have to set your targets high and believe that you can go far in both league and championship. It’s important to focus on your own team’s performance and progress and just take each game as it comes and not focusing on who else is in the competition or comparing yourself to them. We as a unit have done that and we are delighted to have made it to the final.

“To come from winning junior Ulster and All-Ireland last year to then winning an Ulster intermediate title would show the hard work and dedication that has been put in by both management and the panel. Winning titles like this make it all worthwhile so it would be an amazing feeling to win.”

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories