DAVID Dunne's early strike set Louth on their way to an impressive first round Kehoe Cup victory over Queens at Darver on Sunday afternoon.
Queens were making Kehoe Cup history as the first Ulster university side to compete in a preseason competition in Leinster and they arrived with a strong line-up peppered with inter-county experience.
However, they suffered a nightmare start to their maiden voyage as they found themselves a goal behind with barely 30 seconds on the clock.
Dunne broke through a Queens defence which was completely caught cold and fired a powerful effort into the top corner to give the Wee County the perfect start.
Given that this was Louth's first game of the season there were no signs of any rustiness on the part of the home side who continued to find space in the forward line and captain Shane Fennell led by example with two wonderful quick-fire points after Queens' Brian Curran got the visitors on the board.
The horrible weather conditions had little effect on Louth's forwards who continued to impress as the half wore on.
Andy Mackin then helped Louth open up a five point lead after just five minutes before Curran again had the umpires raising the white flag.
A further Louth score was quickly followed by two frees in quick succession by Queens free-scoring free taker Conor Corvan to reduce the deficit to three.
Not to be outdone from dead balls, Pearse Og's Gerard Smyth fired over a brace to put his side in a commanding position.
After Diarmuid Murphy had deposited another free from quite a distance when Alan Grant had overcarried, it seemed that Louth would go in at the break holding a comfortable five point lead.
With just three minutes of the half remaining though, Queens boosted their hopes of advancing in the competition when Dermot Belgey found space in the box and rounded James Connolly in goal before tapping home with his boot.
A quick free from Corvan followed although Fennell's strong run and finish before the break meant Louth went in two points to the good.
The hosts began the second half at a quick tempo which again seemed to catch the visitors by surprise and had soon fired over four points without reply.
Smyth's free from just inside the Queens half started the scoring and was followed by points from David Kettle and Fennell to open up a five point lead.
Patrick Heaney in the opposition goal did well to block a powerful Shane Callan effort before Dunne powered past three defenders and shot for goal but saw the ball fly inches wide.
Smyth showed great strength before driving over to claim another score and then teed up Knockbridge's Kettle in dangerous territory but Heaney again saved well after some excellent Louth link-up play.
It took 14 second half minutes for Queens to get their first score and it arrived when Ciarán Reid fired over before a soft free saw Armagh's Corvan extend his total for the day to five.
Little over five minutes were left in the game when Queens again gave Louth a scare after James Lavery set up Curran in front of goal who drove under the onrushing Connolly and into the back of the net.
Derek Horan kept his head to deposit a free with the clock ticking down which ended any hopes of a fight back and secured Louth's quarter final place. LOUTH: James Connolly; Domhnall McArdle, Wesley Morrissey, Donal Rafferty; Daire McKiernan, Derek Horan 0-1, Diarmuid Murphy 0-2; Nigel Stanley, Shane Callan; Darren O'Hanrahan, Shane Fennell 0-4, David Dunne 1-0; Andrew Mackin 0-1, Gerard Smyth 0-3, David Kettle 0-2. Subs: Shane Maguire for S Fennell (46). QUEENS: Patrick Heaney, Dan Kinney, Declan McGarry, Andy Lofthouse, Conor Coulter, Conor McClelland, Fergus Donnelly, Alan Grant, Sean O'Callaghan, Ciarán Reid 0-1, Conor Corvan 0-5, Brian Curran 1-2, Dermot Begley 1-0, Darragh Hobbs, Conor McGarry. Subs: Cormac Hasson for C McGarry (55), James Lavery for C McClelland (58). REFEREE: Stephen Masterson (Meath).