Christy Ring Cup: Down beat London 2-19 to 0-19 in Birmingham quarter-final
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.
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|
|Nicky Rackard Cup quarter-finals|
|Lory Meagher Cup Round Three|
|Connacht SFC Preliminary Round|
|Ladies NFL Division One final|
|Ladies NFL Division Two Final|