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Kildare and Down earn berths in semi-final

christy ring cup

Gerry Keegan fired 2-5 as holders Kildare returned to the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup at old rivals Meath's expense.

But the repeat of last year's semi-final win was earned the hard way with Meath roaring into a 1-7 to 0-1 lead after 18 minutes in Trim on Saturday.

A brace of Keegan goals and a third from Bernard Deay steadied Kildare who trailed by just 3-6 to 1-13 at half-time.

Meath still led by one after Jack Fagan's 58th-minute goal but were rocked by Keith Keogan's dismissal and were heavily outscored in the closing stages as Kildare pulled clear.

Scorers - Kildare: G Keegan 2-5, M Delaney 0-9 (5f), B Deay 1-3, W Greene, E O'Neill, F O Muineachain, D Stapleton, D Flaherty, D Young 0-1 each. Meath: J Regan 1-8 (0-8f), J Fagan 1-1, W McGrath 0-3, J Toher, E Marsh 0-2 each, S Morris, M Burke 0-1 each.

Down are also through to the semi-finals after leading from start to finish against London in Ballycran, eventually winning 1-22 to 1-13. Gareth 'Magic' Johnson's 13th-minute goal saw them romp clear, with Brendan Gaffney's penalty just before the interval reducing Down's half-time lead to 1-14 to 1-4.

Scorers - Down: G Johnson 1-9 (7f, 1 '65'), F Conway 0-3, C Woods 0-3 (3f), D Toner, S Dineen 0-2 each, J Coyle, M McCullough, D Hughes 0-1 each. London: B Gaffney 1-0 (pen), P Phelan 0-3 (1f), T Healy, N Brophy 0-2 each, M Ryan, D Morkan, E Cooney, S Lambert, L Hands, M O'Dwyer 0-1 each.