Christy Ring Cup sees Wicklow and Down progress12/05/2012 - 18:40:06
Down and Wicklow booked Christy Ring Cup semi-final berths, while Derry and London, and Meath and Kildare will contest quarter-final ties next weekend.
At Pairc Esler, Newry goals were key for the hosts as Down claimed a 2-23 to 1-19 win over Meath.
The visitors powered to a 1-6 to 0-0 lead early on with James Kenny netting the Royals only goal of the contest.
However, Cillian Farrell's charges let down firmly back into contention despite the dismissal of Sean Heavey, and Down full-back Michael Hughes being sent off before the interval.
A Conor Mageean goal helped spur a Mourne County comeback, with the gap cut to five points at the break on a 1-11 to 1-6 score-line.
Hughes and Heavey both received straight red cards before the break following an altercation.
But Down dug deep on the restart, outscoring the Royals by 1-17 to 0-8 during the closing 35 minutes.
Scores from substitute Caolan Bailie helped tie the game midway through the half.
A strong defensive display from Fintan Conway, Conor Woods and Michael Cunningham helped strongly in a superb second-half display by Down.
A brace of Michael Turley points pushed down ahead with a late penalty goal from Paul Braniff (1-6) helped Gerard Monan's side to a last-four spot.
Wicklow are also through to the semi-finals after a hard fought 1-18 to 2-11 win over Derry in Arklow today.
A late goal from John Connors earned victory for the hosts in a game which proved tight in nature throughout.
A brace of first half goals from Brendan Quigley and Patrick McCloskey gave Derry a 2-6 to 0-10 interval lead, with Andy O'Brien among those keeping Wicklow in touch.
O'Brien and Jonathan O'Neill helped spur a Wicklow comeback on the restart, with the sides tied at 0-15 to 2-9 after 52 minutes.
Wicklow moved ahead thanks to an Eamon Kearns point a minute later, but Derry fought back to take the lead with a brace of scores.
An O'Neill free pushed Wicklow 0-18 to 2-11 ahead with six minutes left on the clock.
Derry's woes compounded late in the game with the dismissal of Liam Hinphey on a second yellow card, coupled with Connors late goal strike ensuring Wicklow advanced to the last four.
Derry however survived to fight another day and a quarter-final against London who were 2-15 to 3-10 winners over Mayo at Ruislip.
London led by 2-10 to 2-3 at the interval, thanks to a strong final 20 minutes in the opening half, after Mayo led by 2-1 to 0-3 after 10 minutes with Brian Hunt netting two goals.
Mayo responded strongly in the second half with a goal from Cathal Freeman with 19 minutes left on the clock.
Frees from Kenny Feeney and Keith Higgins cut the gap, but the Connacht outfit failed to force extra-time when a late 21 metre free from goalkeeper Donal O'Brien riocheted over the crossbar, as the hosts held out for victory.
Meanwhile, Kildare ensured a quartet of home wins following a 2-21 to 1-16 win over Kerry at St. Conleth's Park, Newbridge.
Kerry started strongly and led by 1-5 to 0-4 after 20 minutes, but Kildare forced a comeback.
Kerry led by just a point at half-time on a 1-9 to 0-11 score-line, with just two of those scores coming from open play.
Martin Fitzgerald helped lead the Lilly's to victory on the restart, with six points, in a game where Mark Moloney, Richie Hoban, Paul Divilly and substitute Gerry Keegan were also impressive for the hosts.
Kildare will face a repeat of their League Final pairing, as they face Meath next weekend in the quarter-final.
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