A BRACE of second-half goals from James Coyle proved crucial as Down overcame a strong challenge from St Patrick's College in Clontarf to set up a final date with Roscommon.
After early dominance from Down, a goal from a speculative long-range effort by James Kelly levelled matters for St Patrick's 18 minutes in. However, the Ulster outfit managed to take a three-point cushion (1-11 to 1-8) in at the break.
Pat's found a way back into the reckoning with goals from Paddy Butler (penalty) and Fergal Walsh.
Down looked set for an agonising defeat when Kelly found the net for a second time on 52 minutes, but Coyle had other ideas, his goals sealing their final spot.
SCORERS – Down: P Braniff 0-12 (10f), J Coyle 2-3, C Dorrian 1-0, M Turley 0-3, D Toner, J McCusker 0-1 each; St Patrick's: J Kelly 2-1, P Murphy 0-6 (2f), F Walsh 1-2, P Butler 1-0 (pen), N Maguire 0-2, E O'Neill, D Glynn 0-1 each.
DOWN – S Keith; J Smyth, P Flynn, M Hughes; F Conway, B Toner, E Clarke; A Savage, M Ennis; A O'Prey, P Braniff, D Toner; J Coyle, C Dorrian, M Turley. Subs: C Flynn for Clarke (44), J McCusker for O'Prey (48), C Bailie for Dorrian (65), P Hughes for McCusker (67).
ST PATRICK'S – S Russell; E Barry, D Fitzgerald, S Geraghty; P Concannon, P Butler, J Moore; J Kelly, N Maguire; P Murphy, K Nimmo, E O'Neill; F Walsh, C Spollen, C Baxter. Subs: D Glynn for Spollen (22), D Flaherty for Barry (44).
REF – C Jones (Kildare).