Wednesday 18 October 2017

Braniff helps Down to turn the tide

DOWN 2-23 MEATH 1-19

Down battled back from nine points down to beat Meath and qualify for the semi-finals on Saturday.

The Mourne men had a terrible start in Newry as Meath scored 1-6 without reply inside 11 minutes -- Noel Kirby causing all sorts of problems at full-forward.

Kirby set up James Kelly for the opening goal in the 11th minute and Down didn't get their first point until the 12th minute. They hit eight wides in a first-half when Paul Braniff was unusually wasteful with placed balls.

Conor Mageean got a goal back for Down in the 15th minute, but Meath still led by 1-11 to 1-6 at half-time.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men when Meath's Sean Heavey and Down's Michael Hughes received straight red cards for a scuffle off the ball.

Down produced a great fightback in the second-half. The supply to the Meath forwards dried up as Down's midfield and half-back line controlled possession.

Suddenly, Down looked a different side. James Turley and Braniff found their range and tapped over important scores, as did substitute Caolan Bailie who put the sides level at 1-16 apiece after 53 minutes.

The game was still in the mix with five minutes to go but Down scored 1-1 in injury-time to pull away, Braniff netting a penalty.

Man of the Match: P Braniff (Down)

Scorers -- Down: P Braniff 1-8 (6f), A O'Prey, M Turley 0-3 each, C Mageean 1-0, P Sheehan, F Conway, C Bailie 0-2 each, D Hobbs, C Woods, A Savage 0-1 each. Meath: N Kirby 0-8 (6f), P Durnin 0-5, J Kelly 1-0, S Clynch 0-2, S Heavey, S Donoghue, J Togher, P Conneely 0-1 each.

DOWN -- S Keith; J Smyth, M Hughes, S Ennis; F Conway, C Woods, M Cunningham; A Savage, M Ennis; P Sheehan, P Braniff, A O'Prey; D Toner, M Turley, C Mageean. Subs: C Bailie for Toner (32), D Hughes for Mageean (47), D Hobbs for Sheehan (69).

MEATH -- S McGann; C Reilly, E Fitzgerald, W Mahady; J Togher, D Healy, E Keogh; S Morris, S Clynch; J Kelly, S Donoghue, C O Mealoid; S Heavey, N Kirby, P Durnin. Subs: P Conneely for Healy (47), C Fitzsimons for Donoghue (58), D Raleigh for Kelly (67).

REF -- E Hasson (Derry).

Irish Independent Comments Facility

INM has taken the decision to remove the commenting facility on its online platform to minimise the legal risk to our business that arises from Ireland's draconian libel awards system.

We continue to look forward to receiving comments through direct email contact or via social media, some of which may still be featured on the website

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport