Offaly suffer shock Christy Ring Cup elimination as Down win on penalties

Down goalkeeper Stephen Keith saved two penalties and scored the winner
Offaly suffer shock Christy Ring Cup elimination as Down win on penalties

Down goalkeeper Stephen Keith. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Down 2-20 Offaly 1-23 (Down win 3-2 on pens)

Offaly will remain in hurling's third tier in 2021 after a shock penalty shoot-out loss to Down in Newry.

Down goalkeeper Stephen Keith saved two penalties and scored the winner to seal a 3-2 shoot-out victory after Offaly had converted their first two for a 2-0 lead.

In a shock for the ages, Down got off to a fast start with an Eoghan Sands goal inside two minutes, although Offaly's Shane Kinsella goaled five minutes later to put Michael Fennelly's side ahead, 1-3 to 1-1.

A trio of points put Down ahead by one at the first half water break, although Offaly edged it from there to half-time, 1-9 to 1-8 ahead.

Offaly top-scorer Eoghan Cahill hit the post with a second-half penalty, although his side defended a narrow lead for much of the half until Barry Trainor's late leveller, 1-16 each as the sides entered extra-time.

Offaly eked out a one-point lead in the first period of 10 minutes, 1-20 to 1-19 up, but a DaithĂ­ Sands goal put them on the back foot upon the restart.

Offaly's Liam Langton brought the game to penalties as he levelled the game for the 13th time late on.

Down will face Kildare in the final after they hammered Roscommon, 3-24 to 1-9.

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