Toner sets Down on road to final
Down 2-17 Meath 1-14
Danny Toner shot nine points as Down booked their place in the NHL Division 2B decider following this win at Ballycran yesterday.
A win for Meath would have booked them a final spot and they were well in contention until the final quarter, during which they were outscored six points to two.
All of the goals came in the opening half, with Meath first to find the net after a James Toher centre was flicked on by Joey Keena into the path of his brother Kevin, who toe-poked to the net.
Meath dominated for a spell after that, with points from Joey Keena (free), Neil Heffernan and Toher (free) at the end of the first-quarter, but Down's Conor Mageean pointed a free then found the net to tie the scores at 1-5 each.
Rian Brannigan kicked to the net for Down's second goal and they eventually led 2-7 to 1-9 at the break.
On the resumption, Down claimed three easy points in as many minutes and Donal Hughes also split the posts.
In contrast, Meath tallied four wides in the same period although Keena also converted three frees.
Down were comfortable and picked off six more points. Wasteful Meath, who finished with 15 wides, added a brace of pointed frees from Keith Keoghan.
SCORERS - Down: D Toner 0-9 (7fs), R Brannigan, C Mageean 1-0 each, C O'Prey (2fs), S Dineen 0-2 each, S Nicholson, C Woods ('65'), D Hughes, C Egan 0-1 each. Meath: J Keena 0-7 (6fs), K Keena 1-0, K Keoghan 0-3 (3fs), J Toher (2fs), N Heffernan 0-2 each.
DOWN - S Keith 7; C O'Prey 8, P Flynn 7, S Ennis 7; R Campbell 7, C Taggart 7, J McGrath 7; S Nicholson 7, C Woods 8; F Conway 6, D Hughes 7, R Brannigan 7; S Dineen 7, D Toner 8, C Mageean 7. Subs: C Egan 6 for Conway (50), J Doran 6 for Nicholson (56), A O'Prey for C O'Prey (61).
MEATH - S McGann 6; Sean Geraghty 6, R Sherlock 6, D Donoghue 7; S Brennan 7, D Healy 7, Keith Keoghan 7; Sean Heavey 6, Mickey Burke 7; S Quigley 6, J Toher 7, A Gannon 7; K Keena 7, N Heffernan 7, J Keena 8. Subs: S Morris 6 for Heavey (43), B Slevin for Quigley (49), T Clarke for K Keena (60).
REF - C Cunning (Antrim).