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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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Magnificent second half from Meath earns dramatic crowning moment in Christy Ring Cup

Meath were lacklustre as Antrim threatened to pull away in the first-half, but everything turned around after the break.

Toher smiles through the victor's speech.
Toher smiles through the victor's speech.
Image: Tom Beary/INPHO

Meath 2 – 18

Antrim 1 – 20

MEATH PRODUCED A stunning second half comeback to claim the Christy Ring Cup in dramatic late circumstances.

The Royal hurlers trailed by six points at half-time after taking 20 first-half minutes to get two points on the board. And midway through the second period their predicament wasn’t much better.

They trailed by five points before scrapping their way back into striking distance of Antrim for a second time in the game, and they would not need a third opportunity as a dramatic last-minute Sean Quigley goal pulled them level at 2 – 17 to 1 -20 before also delivering final score of a thrilling match..

Antrim began by far the brighter side in the third game of the day at Croke Park and they had already found a scoring rhythm by the time Conor Johnston smashed in the opening goal of the game to open a 1 – 3 to 0 – 1 lead after 14 minutes.

By the time Meath and James Toher got their second point of the game, the men from the north coast had amassed 1 – 7, the pick of which was a glorious long-range point from Eddie McCloskey.

Meath began to find their feet, Joey Kenna, Gannon and Seanie Heavey joining Toher on the score-sheet, but with James Connolly’s brace of points among the replies at the other end, the Royals went in to half-time knowing they had a steep hill to climb.

From 1- 10 to 0 – 07 down at the break though, Meath came storming back into the game in the second half.

Sean Quigley celebrates scoring the winning point in injury time Sean Quigley celebrates the final decisive point of the game. Source: Tom Beary/INPHO

Neil Heffernan opened the scoring in the second period, and although the Ulstermen responded, the Royals and Heffernan found the net after 42 minutes. After Adam Gannon and Kenna raised white flags, Meath’s deficit was down to just two points at 1 – 13 to 1 – 11 with 45 minutes played. Plenty of time to complete the comeback, even after the Saffrons seemed to steady the ship with points from Johnston and two apiece from McCloskey and Clarke.

Five points down, and Meath were still relentless in their pursuit, scrapping their way back to within a goal of the front-runners, mounting and mounting pressure on a team who must at some level have thought they were almost home and hosed.

The pressure told in the end, and the first half display was completely washed away by a Royal second half.

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