Dearbhla Magee says Down are determined to save their senior status
DEARBHLA Magee says Down are determined to hold onto their senior status in the camogie championship and to continue sticking it to those who doubt them.
Magee's powerful defensive display in last month's Ulster final win over Antrim helped secure victory and a fourth provincial title in five seasons.
It also earned the 25-year-old the PwC GPA Player of the Month award for May, though Down's subsequent defeat to Clare in their All-Ireland championship opener has left them in a tight spot.
With ties against Cork and Galway – the National League finalists – still to play in the four-team Group One, and the bottom placed team facing a relegation battle, Down need to pull out a big performance.
Magee said the reality is that some expected Down to be relegated a couple of years ago, after initially going senior, but they have managed to stay up and are keen to extend that spell.
"If we had beaten Clare, that was us then, we knew we would have been safe," said Magee, part of the Down side that won the intermediate championship in 2020.
"It was a massive achievement for us to get up when we did. A lot of people within Down, when we won that, they were like, 'Ah yee will go one year and then yee will be back down again'.
"So the fact that we're still up here three years later is a massive statement from us and a show of commitment from the players. I would say we're looking to get a win from Cork and Galway, we'll work our damndest to make sure that we can and, look, obviously relegation is in the midst there but I don't think we can look any further than Cork or Galway.
"We're pushing really, really hard and I would say that we'll give it everything we have. We're well aware that they're two must-win games, to win even one of them would be massive. We will be pushing for that."
Whatever happens from here on, beating Antrim last month has at least allowed Down to lay claim to the title of best in Ulster.
"At the start of the year there was an objective made to win Ulster this year because it's a massive thing," she said. "It puts out a warning to other teams that you are the best in Ulster and that you are pushing hard and working hard."