Kilkenny camogie has received a boost with the news that Ann Downey has decided to remain on as team boss of the Cats for another year.
In the wake of Downey’s charges suffering a second successive All-Ireland final defeat at the hands of arch rivals Cork in September, inevitably some doubt surrounded the enthusiasm of the 12-time All-Ireland winner as a player to soldier on for the 2019 campaign.
But, after giving the matter some thought over the last two months, she has conveyed to Kilkenny Camogie Board officials her willingness to oversee the fortunes of her native county for a fourth year.
Downey led the Cats to their first title since 1994 in her first campaign back in charge in 2016.
Following unanimous backing from Board officials, it was just a question of her position being rubber-stamped by the clubs in the county at a specially convened meeting at Nowlan Park on Tuesday night.
"Ann has been appointed for just 2019 as she prefers to operate on a year by year basis," explained newly-appointed Kilkenny Camogie Board secretary Sheila Norris.
"I’m sure that everybody with an interest in Kilkenny camogie is delighted that Ann is staying on, as she has done so much for the county both in terms of her own playing career and in her role as the manager of the team."
Details of the composition of Downey’s backroom team won’t be finalised until a later date.But one certain absentee from this year’s campaign will be former county Kilkenny hurler Paddy Mullally, who has been appointed manager of the Mullinavat hurling team.
A blow, however, to Downey’s hopes of improving on this year’s All-Ireland runners-up position is that she will have to plan without ace forward Shelley Farrell, who has been a mainstay of the Cats’ team for 10 years.
After helping Thomastown to this year’s Kilkenny senior final success against Piltown, Farrell emigrated to Australia.