Kerry seal place in Christy Ring final, but Down and Meath can't be separated

There was drama aplenty in the Christy Ring Cup semi-finals this afternoon, with Down and Meath having to do it all again after an extra-time draw, while Kerry advanced to the decider following a comfortable win over Kildare.

There was drama aplenty in the Christy Ring Cup semi-finals this afternoon, with Down and Meath having to do it all again after an extra-time draw, while Kerry advanced to the decider following a comfortable win over Kildare.

A 91st minute Stephen Clynch point ensured another game will be required to separate Down and Meath after a 2-22 to 1-25 draw in Trim after extra-time.

Clynch fired 16 points for the Royals, who must now face Down next Saturday in Newry in order to see who will progress to a Croke Park decider the following weekend.

Earlier, Meath opened the scoring thanks to Clynch, but once Paul Braniff (2-5) fired the first of two first half goals for Down, the visitors wouldn't trail this game over the course of normal time.

Down led by 1-4 to 0-2 at the end of the opening quarter, with Braniff, Danny Toner and Donal Hughes claiming scores.

However, a Peter Durnin goal brought Meath into contention, but Braniff netted for the second time in the 27th minute, as Down took a 2-11 to 1-9 interval lead.

The sides were well matched in the opening nine minutes after the restart, but Meath suddenly took control.

The hosts fired four points without reply in a five-minute spell to cut the gap to the minimum.

Conor Woods claimed some well struck points from distance, including one from over 90 yards to keep Down on top.

A goal separated the sides following a 65th minute Braniff point, but Meath claimed three unanswered scores, including two from Clynch to force extra-time.

Meath outscored Down by three points to one in the first period of extra-time, with Donal Hughes taking the Mourne County score.

Down upped their game on the restart with some good performances from Braniff, Gareth 'Magic' Johnson and Woods to snatch a lead, but Clynch was again composed to force a replay at the death.

Kerry await the winners in the final, after the Kingdom claimed a 1-14 to 0-11 win over Kildare at Austin Stack Park, Tralee.

Kildare were boosted by the inclusion of their captain Paul Divilly who had been sent off in the their quarter-final win last weekend, with Paul Keegan starting in place of Richie Hoban in another change to the visitors starting line-up.

Kerry led by 0-7 to 0-4 at half-time, and extended that lead to eight points inside 10 minutes of the restart, with Shane Nolan netting the only goal of the contest.

Dan Collins and Colm Harty were hugely impressive for the hosts, but this game was dominated by missed opportunities with Kerry firing 18 wides over the 70 minutes, and their opponents 14.

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