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Saturday 16 December 2017

Determined Downey an inspiration to all

IT was a one moment in time happening. The great Angela Downey was racing towards the Cork goal.

It was the All-Ireland final in Croke Park. The 12-a-side and the small goals days.

Suddenly, Angela lost her skirt. But she still managed to get the goal.

"That was the only time I ever made page one of The Irish Times," she chuckles.

The same paper gave her and her twin, Ann, a lifetime achievement award earlier this year. Camogie celebrated.

They say Angela was the best player ever to play camogie. And if that's true, her deep determination played a central role.

One incident comes to mind back in the mid-80s. It was Kilkenny against Dublin in the All-Ireland final.



rage

Kilkenny had the game long won. The match wasn't far from the closing credits.

The Cats were attacking the Canal End. Angela was wide on the right, just in front of the old Hogan Stand with its lovely little numbered wooden seats.

A Kilkenny player lost possession. Angela jumped up and down with rage, a little riverdance of frustration -- her anger bristling through her helmet.

Winner alright. High standards. And it was that way since she could walk back in Ballyragget.

Shem's daughter was the special one. "A pity she wasn't a boy," was a phrase that was often repeated by the black and amber hurling brigade.

But camogie's superstar doesn't deal in regrets. "I hope the players today, and those that are to come get as much enjoyment out of the game as I did," she says. "If they manage to do that, they won't go too far wrong."

And if they can study and bottle Angela's attitude, they'll be doing a lot of things right.

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