Braniff accuracy sets up decider with Kingdom
Down 0-23 Meath 1-10 Christy Ring Cup SH semi-final replay
DOWN coasted to victory at Ballycran yesterday to set up a final clash with Kerry at Croke Park.
The Mournemen were better for the majority of the match, recovering from the concession of an early goal by Mark O'Sullivan.
Points from Donal Hughes, Ciarán Coulter, Fintan Conway and Paul Braniff ensured that Down held a 0-12 to 1-6 lead at half-time.
Meath registered the first score of the second half through Peter Durnin but then went 13 minutes without scoring.
Braniff's accuracy from the dead ball and scores from Paul Sheehan and sub Kevin McGarry pushed the hosts into a nine-point lead with only 13 minutes remaining.
Conor Woods shackled Meath's top scorer Stephen Clynch superbly and it meant that any hope of a Meath comeback in the dying minutes was short-lived.
Down full-back Paudie Flynn saw a straight red in the final seconds for lashing out at Mark O'Sullivan but it did little to dampen the celebrations as Down deservedly reached the final.
Scorers – Down: P Braniff 0-8 (7f), P Sheehan, K McGarry 0-3 each, F Conway, D Hughes, D Toner 0-2 each, C Coulter, G Johnston, J Coyle 0-1 each. Meath: S Clynch 0-5 (4f), M O'Sullivan 1-1, S Morris, J Kelly, P Durnin, J Meyler 0-1 each.
Down: S Keith; M Conlon, P Flynn, P Hughes; F Conway, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes, C Coulter; P Sheehan, P Braniff, S Nicholson; D Toner, G Johnston, J Coyle. Subs: K McGarry for Nicholson (40), M Turley for Coyle (60), J McCusker for Toner (65), B Nicholson for Coulter (69).
Meath: S McGann; D Donoghue, D Healy, C Reilly; J Toher, M Burke, S Heavey; S Donoghue, S Morris; E Marsh, S Clynch, J Kelly; P Durnin, M O'Sullivan, P Conneely. Subs: B Slevin for Conneely (55), J Meyler for S Donoghue (58), A Gannon for Durnin (66).
Referee: T Carroll