Down and Kildare will battle it out in Sunday week’s Christy Ring Cup final after winning their respective semi-finals this afternoon.
Down pulled off the upset of the day by defeating Offaly as hurling's first ever penalty shoot-out took place in Newry, where the sides could not be separated after 90 minutes.
Goalkeeper and captain Stephen Keith proved the hero for the Mourne men as he saved three penalties that helped the hosts win out by 3-2 in the end, with the visitors having gone 2-0 up after the first four penalties were taken at Pairc Esler.
In the game itself, Down got off to the perfect start thanks to Eoghan Sands goal two minutes in but they’d trail by 1-9 to 1-8 at the break after Shane Kinsella netted a response for the Faithful men.
Kinsella and Eoghan Cahill opened up a three-point gap for Michael Fennelly’s side but Down battled back, as points from Sands and Barry Trainor twice levelled down the home stretch with the score board reading 1-16 each come the full-time whistle.
Adrian Hynes’s point helped Offaly to lead by the end of first-half extra time, but they’d be on the back foot early in the resumption once Sands cut in for his second goal to make it 2-19 to 1-20.
Two Liam Langton points late would make it 2-20 to 1-23 and send the game into penalties, where Down skipper Keith provided the heroics.
In Newbridge, hosts Kildare were always in command as they saw off Roscommon by 3-24 to 1-9.
James Burke’s goal 30 minutes in helped the Lilywhites to lead by 1-11 to 0-5 at the interval and they’d add another 2-13 to their tally in the second-half.
Jack Sheridan’s penalty two minutes into the restart put the result beyond doubt for David Herity’s men.
Sheridan would add another goal to his tally minute later to seal Kildare’s place into the final as the outclassed Rossies pulled back a consolation goal with five minutes remaining.
Down - S Keith; T Murray, C Taggart, M Hughes; B Trainor (0-1), C Woods (0-1f), L Savage; M Conlon, J McManus; D Hughes (0-1), P Og McCrickard (0-3), T Prenter; O MacManus (0-7, 6f, 1'65), E Sands (1-2), D Sands (1-1). Subs: P Savage for T Prenter, P Sheehan (0-4f) for T Murray, R Costello for O MacManus, M Fisher for P Og McCrickard, C Egan for D Sands, R McCusker for D Hughes, D Sands for B Trainor, P Og McCrickard for R Costello, T Prenter for M Hughes.
Offaly - S Corcoran; C Burke, B Conneely, P Delaney; D Egan, C Kiely (0-3), D King (0-1); E Cahill (0-10, 9f), D Nally; P Geraghty (0-1), J Sampson, O Kelly; C Gath, S Kinsella (1-2), L Langton (0-2f). Subs: D Doughan for C Burke, A Hynes (0-2) for C Gath, B Duignan for O Kelly, S Cleary for L Langton, T Geraghty (0-1) for S Kinsella, L Langton for E Cahill, A Treacy (0-1f) for D Nally, E Cahill for S Cleary.
Referee - S Stack.
Kildare - P McKenna; S Leacy, J Doran, C Shanahan; N O Muineachain (0-2), R Boran (0-1), K Whelan (0-1); Cathal Dowling, P Divilly (0-2); J Burke (1-2), J Sheridan (2-6, 1-0pen, 0-4f, 0-1'65), Conor Dowling (0-1); T Forde, B Byrne (0-8, 4f, 1'65), D Slattery. Subs: S Ryan (0-1) for Conor Dowling, C McCabe for T Forde, S Christanseen for Cathal Dowling, C Derivan for J Sheridan, M Doyle for P McKenna.
Roscommon - N Connaughton; P Dolan, P Kellehan, P Brennan; P Kenny, M Byrne, E Flanagan (0-1f); S Curley, O Kelly; E Kenny, J Coyne (1-0), E Coyle; C Dolan (0-6, 3f), C Mulry (0-1), N Kilroy (0-1). Subs: P Nolan for P Brennan, C Egan for E Coyle, B McGahon for E Kenny, D Treacy for C Mulry, D Kelly for P Kenny.
Referee - T Gleeson.Tweet