Down and Kildare advance in Christy Ring Cup

Down and Kildare advanced to the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup, following wins over Derry and Wicklow respectively this afternoon.

Down and Kildare advance in Christy Ring Cup

Down and Kildare advanced to the semi-finals of the Christy Ring Cup, following wins over Derry and Wicklow respectively this afternoon.

Goals were key as Down claimed a 3-7 to 0-9 victory over Derry at Pairc Esler in Newry.

The sides were tied at 0-5 apiece at half-time, but the hosts were goal hungry on the restart as they powered to a seven-point defeat of their Ulster rivals.

Down and Derry swapped points inside the opening five minutes of the second half, but goals from Paul Braniff and Michael Turley gave Down a 2-6 to 0-8 lead in the 50th minute.

Down never eased up, and bagged their third goal in the final quarter as they held out for a seven-point success.

Like they did last weekend against Mayo, Wicklow staged a huge second half performance, but just fell short this time around as Kildare took a 0-17 to 2-10 win at Arklow.

Gerry Keegan delivered under pressure in the 71st minute, as his pointed free booked a place in the semi-finals for Willie Sunderland's charges.

The opening exchanges of this game were tight in nature with the sides tied at 0-3 apiece after 28 minutes.

However, wind-assisted Kildare upped the ante before the interval and bagged six points without reply - including scores from Keegan and Tony Murphy - to take a 0-9 to 0-3 interval lead.

Kildare extended their advantage to eight points inside 10 minutes of the restart, but Wicklow failed to wither away.

One again Andy O'Brien helped bring the Garden County into contention, netting a goal and slowly cutting the deficit.

The visitors were dealt a blow when David Harney picked up his second yellow card inside three minutes, to ensure Kildare were reduced to 14 men for the closing nine minutes.

Wicklow continued to trouble the Kildare defence, and cut the gap to a point after their second goal in the 66th minute.

A quick point tied the game for the first time in the half, but Keegan was calm under pressure late on, registering the match-winning score under immense pressure.

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