“They’re devastated” | Graham Shine laments All-Ireland final loss to Down but hopeful for more good days

After Limerick pulled ahead shortly after the resumption, an Orla Swail goal would turn the contest in Down’s favour, taking a lead they wouldn’t relent.

“Absolutely gutted.”

Graham Shine

A heartbreaking way to conclude such a positive season but a loss was Limerick’s loss in the 2023 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Final on Sunday as they were bested by Down.

It is a quick return to the second tier for the Ulster side but keeps Limerick in Junior for a fifth season at the least as they couldn’t get over the line in a first final since 2018.

After Limerick pulled ahead shortly after the resumption, an Orla Swail goal would turn the contest in Down’s favour, taking a lead they wouldn’t relent.

Speaking after the contest, manager Graham Shine lamented missed opportunities in the first half.

“It wasn’t that we weren’t good enough. Probably created enough chances in the first half, but didn’t take them. We spoke about winning the third quarter and we did. Just the goal was a sucker punch and whoever was going to get the goal today was going to win.

“I’m just disappointed for the girls, they put in a ferocious effort all year. Not many people gave us a chance, we knew we would but look there will be more days.”

13 August 2023; Orla Swail of Down celebrates after scoring her side’s first goal during the 2023 TG4 All-Ireland Ladies Junior Football Championship Final match between Down and Limerick at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by John Sheridan/Sportsfile

It’s a bitter conclusion to the season for Limerick but Shine is hopeful that the side can stick together for an assault on the championship in 2024.

“They’re devastated, they have put in ferocious work and it’s been a massive year. I hope we can keep them together, they are very young with a few outliers, but I’m hoping they can stay together. They will be back.

“That Down team is good team and there was only a ball in it at the end of the day.”

With the club championship around the corner, the players will have the chance to regroup with their respective teams before talk of next year’s goals appear on the horizon.

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