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Kerry hold off Down

Kerry survived a late scare to qualify for a second successive Christy Ring Cup final with a 1-18 to 1-17 win over Down at Newry.

They were cruising with an eight points cushion with 14 minutes to play, but after having two men sent off, they needed a late winner to squeeze through to the decider.

Gary O'Brien (two yellow) and Tom Murnane (straight red) were sent off, and Down, who had been outclassed for most of the contest, clawed back the deficit to go level.

Brendan Ennis and Kerry's Mike Conway had earlier swapped goals, and it was Paul Braniff, with five late points, who led the Down fightback, bringing them level in stoppage time but Kerry squeezed through to the decider with a late winning point from a Shane Nolan free.

Kerry's opponents in the Croke Park decider will be Wicklow, who scored a 3-11 to 2-11 win over Kildare at Aughrim.

The Garden County led by 2-7 to 1-7 at half-time, their goals coming from Jeffrey Bermingham and Don Hyland, with David Harney netting for the Lilywhites.

Billy White scored a second Kildare goal, but Enan Glynn sealed victory for Wicklow with a late goal.

Shane Callan and Donagh O'Sullivan were the goalscorers as Louth qualified for the Nicky Rackard Cup final with a 2-17 to 1-13 win over Monaghan. Diarmuid Murphy also made a big contribution with nine points.

Donegal qualified for their third successive Lory Meagher Cup final with a 1-15 to 1-12 extra-time victory over South Down.

Niall Campbell was the hero with an 11 points haul. The sides were level on 1-11 each at the end of normal time, with Kieran Courtney netting to cancel out Enda McDermott's first half Donegal goal.

PA