Christy Ring Cup: Down beat London 2-19 to 0-19 in Birmingham quarter-final

Down hurling manager Marty Mallon
Marty Mallon's Down side will face Wicklow in the semi-finals

Two Eoghan Sands goals helped Down hurlers earn an impressive 2-19 to 0-19 Christy Ring Cup quarter-final win over London in Birmingham.

The Mourne County led for most of the Parc na hEireann contest with Sands' second goal on the stroke of half-time putting Down 2-10 to 0-14 ahead.

Down extended their advantage in the second half to set up a semi-final against Antrim.

Wicklow will face Carlow in the other semi-final.

In ideal conditions, Portaferry clubman Sands registered Down's first green-flag after 20 minutes to hand his side a 1-8 to 0-8 lead.

London bounced back and held a one-point advantage approaching the interval, but Sands bagged his second goal just before the half-time whistle, and Down led 2-10 to 0-14 at the break.

London pay for large wides count

A large number of wides cost London throughout this game, but just four points separated the sides after 53 minutes.

However, Down finished strongly with an inspirational Conor O'Prey point a feature of their final quarter.

The Exiles went into the Birmingham contest as favourites after hammering Roscommon last time out.

In contrast, Down had to battle to beat Roscommon 2-24 to 1-20 a week earlier.

However, Down were boosted by the return to action of Danny Toner after several weeks out because of injury.

Down's Paul Sheehan
Paul Sheehan returned to Down's starting line-up

Sheehan back in action for Down

Regular free-taker Paul Sheehan also returned to the starting line-up after manager Marty Mallon's decision to start Gareth Johnson in last weekend's 3-15 to 0-11 defeat by Antrim.

London avoided relegation from Division Two A of the League in the Spring as their draw against Armagh proved enough to keep them up on points difference.

Down were unable to muster a significant promotion challenge in the lower-tier Division Two B.

Meanwhile, Monaghan and Armagh secured places in the Nicky Rackard Cup semi-finals after respective wins over Donegal and Longford on Saturday.

Gerard Gilmore's goal helped Donegal take an early 1-5 to 0-3 lead but Fergal Rafter's nine points saw Monaghan fight back to win 1-16 to 1-12 at Inniskeen.

Fiachra Bradley, David Carvill, Ryan Gaffney and Conor Corvan netted for Armagh as they hammered Longford 4-20 to 0-12 at Crossmaglen.

Former Antrim star Liam Watson hit 3-10 for Warwickshire as they beat Fermanagh 6-16 to 3-9 in the Lory Meagher Cup at Enniskillen while Sligo eased past Cavan 1-20 to 0-9 at Breffni Park.

WEEKEND GAA RESULTS

Christy Ring Cup quarter-finals
Kildare0-15Carlow1-24
London0-19Down 2-19
Nicky Rackard Cup quarter-finals
Armagh 4-20Longford0-12
Monaghan1-16Donegal1-12
Lory Meagher Cup Round Three
Leitrim1-12Lancashire0-14
Cavan0-09Sligo1-20
Fermanagh3-09Warwickshire6-16
Connacht SFC Preliminary Round
New York1-13Sligo1-21
Ladies NFL Division One final
Cork2-15Donegal2-14
Ladies NFL Division Two Final
Cavan0-15Westmeath2-09

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