Hurlers finally open account
A THREE-GOAL blitz inside 15 minutes sunk Longford in Darver as Louth finally got off the mark for 2014.
Dee McCarthy's men leap-frogged their visitors at the foot of the table to ease fears of a relegation play-off and the Reds will be hoping to sign off on their league campaign on a high note next weekend when they host Donegal (3pm).
Still smarting from defeats to Roscommon, Fermanagh and Monaghan, Louth started with real purpose and the outcome was never really in doubt once Gary Rellis tapped home the first goal from close range after just 51 seconds. Shane Callan's long ball into the danger area was badly fumbled by Longford 'keeper Paddy Cullen and Rellis made no mistake.
Points from Jason Condon and Diarmuid Murphy sandwiched an Eoin Donnellan effort at the other end, but Louth's dream start continued when Gerard Smyth knocked in a similar chance to Rellis' strike to make it it 2-2 to 0-1 after 10 minutes.
Louth's third goal was eaily their best as Murphy released the speedy David Mahoney, whose strike was too hot for Cullen to hold.
That goal put ten between the sides and although Longford rallied with three points on the bounce Louth responded with three of their own from Murphy (2) and Darren O'Hanrahan.
Longford did pull two more back before the interval from Donnellan frees, but Jason Condon's second point of the match left the midlanders withn a mountain to climb, 3-6 to 0-6.
Substitute Tommy Stakem fired in a goal after the restart to give them hope and he also bagged a point, but the comeback never materialised as Louth held firm in a low-key second period.
Longford's misery was compounded when Declan Tanner was shown a late red card by Fergus Smith.
LOUTH: James Connolly; Conor Kerrigan, Brian Carter, Andrew Mc Crave; Cathal Ryan, Cian Hayes, Ronan Byrne; Shane Callan 0-1, Jason Condon 0-2, Gerard Smyth 1-0, Gary Rellis 1-0, Andrew Mackin; Darren O'Hanrahan 0-1, Diarmuid Murphy 0-6, David Mahoney 1-0. Subs: Shane Maguire 0-1 for Mackin, Oisin Drumm for Rellis.
LONGFORD: Paddy Cullen; Gerard Moore, Brendan Stakem, Karl Murray; Conor Egan, Declan Tanner, Rory Donnellan; Conor Flanagan 0-1, Paul Barden; Eoin Donnellan 0-7, Kevin Conneely 0-1, Kealan Cox; Johnny Casey, John Newman, Paddy Corcorasn. Subs: Cian Kavanagh for J Casey, Tommy Stakem 1-1 for P Corcoran, Rory Breslin for Moore, Conor Keegan for Barden.
REFEREE: F Smith (Meath).