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Down make history by winning hurling’s first inter-county shoot-out

There was further Ulster success as Antrim defeated Kerry in the Joe McDonagh Cup.

Down keeper Stephen Keith was the penalty shoot-out hero today.
Down keeper Stephen Keith was the penalty shoot-out hero today.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Nov 14th 2020, 7:02 PM

THERE WAS YET another new low for Offaly hurling today as the 1998 All-Ireland champs lost to Ulster underdogs, Down, in the Christy Ring semi-final.

The win for the Mournemen was historic in more ways than one – as it doubled up as the first time inter-county hurling has seen a penalty shoot-out, with both teams level after extra-time.

Incredibly, Stephen Keith – Down’s goalkeeping captain – made two saves in the shoot-out, ensuring they secured their place in the decider, winning this shoot-out 3-2.

They deserved it, too. Ahead courtesy of Eoghan Sands’s second-minute goal, Down had to resist the inevitable Offaly response, Shane Kinsella striking to help the Faithful move into a one-point lead at the half-time break.

As the game ebbed and flowed in the second-half, it looked briefly like Offaly would emerge the winners until Barry Trainor equalised for Down with two minutes left on the clock.

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So to extra-time – and while Offaly led by a point at half-time, 1-20 to 1-19, it was Down who turned the game on its head when Daithi Sands got a goal a minute into the second period of extra-time.

Down still led by two points with two minutes remaining but Liam Langton scored two late points to bring the game to penalties. Step up Keith. He his county’s hero tonight.

Down will now play Kildare in next week’s final after they defeated Roscommon on a 3-24 to 1-9 scoreline. James Burke got one goal, Jack Sheridan two, as the Lilywhites comfortably moved past their Connacht opponents.

In the Joe McDonagh Cup, Antrim destroyed Kerry at Corrigan Park, scoring three goals inside 26 minutes to establish an 11-point lead at half-time, Conor McCann getting two of those goals, Michael Bradley the third one.

The visitors responded with valuable contributions from Shane Conway who scored 1-7 – including four frees, while Daniel Collins got 1-2 to his name. But Antrim’s McCann ended up with 2-3, Ciaran Clarke with nine points, Bradley with 1-2 and Keelan Molloy with three points as Antrim continue to look the likeliest winners of this competition.

In other news,Donegal will face Mayo in next Saturday’s Nicky Rackard Cup final after Donegal defeated Tyrone 3-25 to 1-16 while Mayo saw off Leitrim on a scoreline of 3-23 to 1-11.

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