MHC 'B' final: Meath withstand Down fightback

August 26, 2017

Meath's Mikey Mullen with Eoin Kelly Down during the All Ireland MHC B final at Clones. TO VIEW A SELECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THIS GAME CLICK HERE

Meath 3-20 Down 2-19

Meath were crowned All-Ireland minor 'B' hurling champions for a fifth time in Clones this evening following a thrilling victory over Down.

Nick Fitzgerald's charges laid the foundations for this victory during the second quarter when they hit Down for 1-10 to go in at the break 11 points in front.

Ruairi McCrickard had the Mournemen on the scoreboard first. By the 10th minute the teams were level 0-3 each with both full forward lines showing well for possession and scoring.

Meath went ahead when Mikey Mullen raised the games first green flag from the penalty spot after a foul on Darragh Gilmartin. Down responded well with a brace of points from McCrickard and Ronan Costello but for the remainder of the half Meath took over.

Mullen got the scoring spree underway with a majestic point from a sideline cut. Gilmartin (2), Brian Dowling, Evan Fitzgerald, Jacob Ryan, Nicky Potterton, and Mullen again added points before Meath struck for their second goal. Potterton finished to the Down net and the Royals were 11 points in front. The teams traded three points each before the break as Meath went in with a 2-13 to 0-8 lead.

Down came out a different team after the break. Full forward Conor McCrickard was outstanding in the second half. The Liatroim player hit nine points as Meath struggled to keep the big lead.

Four quick scores from McCrickard and a goal from centre back Ruairi McCrickard had the gap down to five points. Mullen steadied Meath with a pointed free and when Potterton got their third goal they looked good for victory.

To their credit Down refused to give in. McCrickard hit another five excellent points in a seven minute spell and the lead was back down to five. Mullen pointed another free and an inspirational score from corner back Sean Coffey  had the winners 3-18 to 1-17 in front with five minutes left.

A goal from Ronan Blair and a point from Costello set up a thrilling finish. Potterton and McCrickard exchanged points and when substitute Shane Walsh sent over the insurance point the Peadar Lehane Cup was heading to Meath.

Meath - A Dunne; B O'Reilly, C Butler, S Coffey (0-1); V Ward (0-1), A Murphy, B Kelly; E Fitzgerald (0-1), J Ryan (0-2); B Dowling (0-1), T Fadden, J Leavy; N Potterton (2-4), D Gilmartin (0-3), M Mullen (1-6, 1-0pen, 0-4f, 0-1sl). Subs: S Martin for B O'Reilly, S Walsh (0-1) for T Fadden, K Flynn for J Ryan.

Down - M Caldwell; M Napier, T Murray, E Kelly; M McKey (0-1), R McCrickard (0-3, 2f, 1'65), B Campbell; P Savage, C Coulter; J Hanrahan, C Smyth, T Prenter (0-2); R Blair (2-1), C McCrickard (0-9, 3f), R Costello (0-3). Subs: M McAreavey for C Coulter, N McFarlane for C Smyth, R Coulter for J Hanrahan. 

Referee - K McGeeney.

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