Monday 26 June 2017

Victory against Derry secures Down's status

Christy Ring Cup

Ruairi Convery nailed a monstrous 70th-minute free to bring the teams level for the seventh time in the match. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Ruairi Convery nailed a monstrous 70th-minute free to bring the teams level for the seventh time in the match. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Down assured themselves of Christy Ring participation next season and progressed to the next round of this year's competition with a three-point win over Derry in the Ulster derby at Owenbeg.

When Ruairi Convery nailed a monstrous 70th-minute free, it levelled this tight encounter for the seventh time with extra time on everyone's minds. However, the Ardsmen converted three quick scores in injury time to edge themselves over the finishing line, 1-18 to 1-15.

Defeats last week at the hands of Roscommon and London respectively had paired Derry and Down in a winner-takes-all battle and while the hurling on show was far from vintage, the intensity rarely flagged.

Contrary to the abysmal season the home side have endured, Derry began the brightest with Shane Farren handing them a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after five minutes. Down retaliated though with points from Aaron O'Prey, Danny Toner and Brook Byers.

However, when Oisin McCloskey took a superb catch and drilled the ball into the back of the net in the 10th minute, it regained the lead for Derry, which stretched to four points with a Ruairi Convery point.

After that Down enjoyed their best phase of the game and scored six of the next seven points with newcomer Oisin McManus outstanding at corner-forward.

Trailing by a point, the Oak Leaf county responded late in the half with points from Convery and Farren returning the single-point advantage to the home side at the break, leading 1-7 to 0-9.

All square at 1-15 apiece in injury time, Michael Johnston's side then added the three late points.

Antrim booked their place in the semi-finals with an unconvincing win over a stubborn Roscommon outfit in Dunloy yesterday. Despite going on to win by 2-14 to 1-12, the hosts failed to score for the opening 10 minutes and the Rossies led 0-8 to 0-7 at the break before a goal from substitute Jamie Lawlor on the restart hinted at a shock.

However, Antrim regrouped thanks largely to the exploits of corner-forward Ciaran Clarke, who bagged 0-7 (0-3 from play).

Second-half goals from captain Conor Carson and substitute Nigel Elliot helped Antrim claim a five-point win while Roscommon missed a series of chances to close the gap late on.

A triple Wicklow sending off in the seventh minute of injury-time capped a miserable afternoon for the Garden County as Kildare secured a comprehensive 0-17 to 0-9 victory in Arklow.

Kildare held a slender one-point lead at the break after midfielder Martin Fitzgerald made it 0-7 to 0-6.

All of Wicklow's first-half points came through full-forward Christy Moorhouse. His 34th-minute point was Wicklow's only score from play.

Two Moorhouse frees and a 70th-minute Kelly '65 were the only scores Wicklow could muster in the second half as Kildare's Ross Bergin, Mark Moloney and Niall O'Muineacháin added to Keegan's six second-half points.

Wicklow's misery was compounded when Moorhouse, Billy Cuddihy, and Gavin Weir got their marching orders.

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