Meath cemented their status as clear favourites for the Christy Ring Cup on Saturday afternoon when they crushed 2018 champions Kildare in Newbridge on Saturday, with 0-16 from Jack Regan and two goals from Eamonn Ó’Donnacadh providing the backbone to their 2-27 to 1-13 victory.
Kildare have now been eliminated from contention after Roscommon wrapped up the other semi-final spot in the group with a 1-25 to 2-12 victory over London in Ruislip. Cormac Thornton and Lee Murphy were both sent off by the 50th minute, at which point Roscommon led by just two, 0-15 to 0-10, but Padraig Kelly ran riot in the final quarter to bring his total to 0-8 from play, while Conor Mulry fired in a late goal to wrap up the win.
Derry, Down and Wicklow will fight it out for the other two semi-final spots, with Donegal eliminated after they failed to hold onto an eight-point half time lead at Owenbeg. Dylan Duffy’s goal was the key score as they took a 1-12 to 0-7 lead into the dressing room, but the second half was one-way traffic with Brian Óg Gilligan and Cormac O’Doherty carrying the bulk of the scoring workload. It finished 0-20 to 1-14 to Derry.
Down knew that anything less than victory at Aughrim would see them eliminated but second-half goals from Daithí Sands and Tim Prenter ensured they prevailed by 2-25 to 2-19.
Sligo continue to be the surprise package of the Nicky Rackard Cup after they followed up their first-round win over Louth with a 3-19 to 1-14 win over Tyrone at Scarden. Damien Casey fired 1-10 for Tyrone but goals from Kevin Gilmartin, Shane Crowley and Conor Griffin pushed Sligo well clear.
Mayo were similarly comfortable against Louth with Corey Scahill (2-2) and Shane Boland (0-11) their top scorers in a 3-23 to 1-13 win at Castlebar. Darren Geoghegan kept Louth in the game early as they went in at half time just four points back, but the floodgates opened after the interval.
Tipperary native David Buckley was on fire for Longford, shooting 2-8 as they came back from nine points down to record a 2-17 to 1-17 win over Monaghan at Inniskeen, while there were dramatic scenes at Páirc na hÉireann in Birmingham where Warwickshire and Armagh played out a draw.
Warwickshire were five points up with ten minutes left, but a series of Dean Gaffney frees saw them pull level by the second minute of added time. There were wild celebrations when Danny Magee hit the net for the Orchard men immediately afterwards, but Daire King levelled the game again with the last puck, Warwickshire 2-18 to Armagh’s 1-21, meaning no side has their semi-final place secured yet in this group.
In the Lory Meagher Cup, Cavan went five points clear of Fermanagh thanks to a John Sheanan penalty, but 11 scores in succession meant it finished 0-19 to 1-11 to the away side at Kingspan Breffni Park.
Meanwhile, in the Leinster minor hurling championship, Meath and Kildare easily accounted for Down and Antrim respectively in the first round of knockout games, while Carlow edged the only close encounter of the day, 2-13 to 0-18 at home to Westmeath at Netwatch Cullen Park.
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Anthony Daly, Ger Cunningham and TJ Ryan review the weekend's hurling.