Royals outlast 14-man Kildare
MEATH progressed to the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup after an epic battle with Kildare in St Conleth's Park, Newbridge.
Five unanswered points and the sending-off of Kildare captain Paul Divilly in the first half of extra-time helped propel the Royals to a deserved three-point victory in the end.
Gerry Keegan's cracking solo goal in the second minute of the opening half gave Kildare an early advantage.
They increased the lead to five points by the interval, 1-9 0-7, courtesy of points from Paul and Kieran Divilly and David Harney.
With the wind at their backs, Meath closed the gap in the second half with some fine scores from Stephen Clynch, Mark O'Sullivan, Adam Gannon and Patrick Conneely.
A series of Divilly frees kept Kildare in the ascendancy before a couple of superb saves from Kildare goalkeeper Paul Dermody kept the Royals at bay, until late points from Sean Heavey and Bart Hanley earned a draw to send the game into overtime.
A Clynch free edged Meath in front at the start of extra time, and once Divilly received his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident, the Royals took control to book their place in the last four.
Scorers – Kildare: P Divilly 0-9 (2 '65s, 5fs), G Keegan 1-3 (1 '65, 1f), K Divilly 0-2, D Harney 0-2. Meath: S Clynch 0-11 (1 '65, 8fs), M O'Sullivan 0-3, P Conneely 0-2, P Durnin, S Morris, J Kelly, A Gannon, S Heavey, B Hanley 0-1 each.
KILDARE – P Dermody; J Doran, F Ó Muineacháin, P Curtin; N Ó Muineacháin, M Moloney, P Reidy; E O'Neill, K Divilly; D Harney, P Divilly, T Murphy; M Delaney, B Deay, G Keegan. Subs: M Purcell for Delaney (h-t), R Kelly for O'Neill (61), D Butler for K Divilly (61).
MEATH – S McGann; D Donoghue, D Healy, C Reilly; J Kelly, J Togher, S Heavey; S Morris, S Clynch; P Conneely, M O'Sullivan, E Marsh; B Slevin, A Gannon, P Durnin. Subs: T McGrath for Slevin (55), B Hanley for Marsh (66).
Ref – F Horgan (Tipperary)