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.
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.
Kildare: P Dermody; N O Muineachain, F O Muineachain, D Stapleton; E O’Neill, M Moloney, J Doran; M Fitzgerald, P Divilly; W Green, D Flaherty, B Deay; M Delaney, D Dempsey, G Keegan. Subs: D Young for Greene (53), L Quinn for Dempsey (67).
Meath: S McGann; C Reilly, S Brennan, S Whitty; K Keoghan, D Healy, S Heavy; M Burke, S Morris; A Douglas, E Marsh, J Regan; W McGrath, J Toher, J Fagan. Subs: C Bird for Marsh (51), S Quigley for McGrath (61), D Reilly for Healy (66).
Referee: T Carroll (Offaly).
Down are through to the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup after leading from start to finish against London in Ballycran yesterday. A strong wind advantage and 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.
London defender Conor Hickey was sent off for two yellow cards with ten minutes remaining with the game long over as a contest.
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.
Down: S Keith; N Conlan, P Flynn, M Hughes; D McManus, C Woods, M McCullough; D Hughes, F Conway; M Ennis, D Toner, S Dineen; C Egan, G Johnson, J Coyle. Subs: P Sheehan for Egan (62), S Nicholson for Coyle (66), E Sands for Johnson (69)
London: J Barrett; C Hickey, L Gaule, K Fitzpatrick; T Healy, M Ryan, D Morkan; E Cooney, N Rogers; P Phelan, N Brophy, S Lambert; L Hands, M O’Dwyer, B Gaffney. Subs: C McAllinden for Rogers (53),
M Duggan for Gaffney (55), E Collins
for Hands (61) M Fitzpatrick for Gaule (67)
Referee: E Hasson (Derry)
Sunday Indo Sport