Clynch strikes twice to force replay
MEATH 1-25, Down 2-22
AFTER being beaten in a Christy Ring Cup semi-final replay last year, Down will be hoping to go one better following this pulsating draw in Trim.
Fifteen-point hero Steven Clynch denied the Mourne men at the death, both in normal and added time, with frees to keep alive Meath's hopes of a first final appearance.
The hosts played catch-up for most of the way after Paul Braniff scored an early Down goal. Peter Durnin found the net for Meath on 18 minutes, but when Braniff struck for a second goal it left the visitors with a 2-8 to 1-5 lead. They led by five at the break, 2-11 to 0-9.
A point from Durnin and two from Clynch set up extra-time at 1-20 to 2-17.
And Clynch levelled things twice to force a replay in Newry next Saturday.
SCORERS – Meath: S Clynch 0-15 (9fs, 2 '65s'), P Durnin 1-5, A Gannon 0-2, M O'Sullivan, S Morris, E Marsh 0-1 each. Down: P Braniff 2-5 (0-3fs), D Toner, C Woods ( 2fs, 2 '65s') 0-4 each, C Coulter, D Hughes 0-3 each, F Conway, P Sheehan, G Johnston 0-1 each.
MEATH – S McGann; D Donoghue, D Healy, C Reilly; J Kelly, J Toher, S Heavey; S Morris, S Clynch; P Conneely, M O'Sullivan, E Marsh; B Slevin, A Gannon, P Durnin. Subs: M Burke for Slevin (29), T McGrath for Conneely (h-t), B Hanley for McGrath (48), S Donoghue for Kelly, Conneely for Marsh, Slevin for Hanley (all e-t).
DOWN: S Keith; M Conlon, P Flynn, P Hughes; F Conway, C Woods, M Ennis; D Hughes, E Clarke; M Turley, P Braniff, S Nicholson; D Toner, G Johnston, C Coulter. Subs: P Sheehan for Turley (28), J McCusker for Clarke (h-t), K McGarry for Nicholson (51), C Dorrian for McGarry (70), C Flynn for Coulter, Turley for Dorrian (all e-t).
REF – S Hourigan (Limerick).