Louth pass easy test
Athlone IT 1-8
Holders Louth passed their second major exam of 2010 as they prevented Athlone IT from recording back-to-back upsets.
The students had accounted for Carlow in round one, but a shock never looked likely in Drogheda yesterday as the hosts recorded another comfortable win without ever hitting top gear.
Louth started brightly, opening with a point from Man of the Match Paddy Keenan and a brace of fress from Colm Judge.
Athlone got off the mark through wing-back Matthew Mitchell and corner-forward Ray Galligan kept them in touch throughout a disjointed first half with some superb long-range free-taking.
The students closed the gap to the minimum on three occasions, but Louth signed off with back-to-back points from Brian White and Keenan to lead 0-9 to 0-6 at the break.
Keenan added two more within 90 seconds of the re-start to open a five-point advantage.
Brian Connors and John Reynolds twice cut the deficit to four, either side of a comeback point by substitute Mark Brennan, who was making his first appearance for the Reds since leaving the panel in 2007.
And as the students tired, Louth took control with defenders Aaron Hoey and Ronan Greene raiding forward to grab points.
The gap was out to 11 points as Judge, Clarke and Derek Crilly pointed; Connors' late fisted goal for the midlanders was just a consolation.
Louth will expect a much stiffer test when they face Kildare on Sunday.
SCORERS -- Louth: C Judge 0-5 (0-4fs), P Keenan 0-4, A McDonnell, JP Rooney, B White (0-1f), R Greene, A Hoey, M Brennan, D Clarke, D Crilly, D Maguire 0-1 each. Athlone IT: R Galligan 0-5 (0-5f), B Connors 1-1, M Matthews, J Reynolds 0-1 each.
LOUTH -- N Gallagher; D Byrne, D Finnegan, R Greene; R Finnegan, A Hoey, J O'Brien; P Keenan, S O'Neill; D Crilly, A McDonnell, P Smith; C Judge, JP Rooney, B White. Subs: M Brennan for O'Neill (41 mins), D Maguire for Smith (44 mins), P Rath for Byrne (54 mins), D Clarke for B White (54 mins), R Carroll for McDonnell (61 mins).
ATHLONE IT -- G Conaughton; F O'Reilly, D Masterson, D Reilly; M Mitchell, K Smyth, P MAterson; G Dennigan, B Connors; P Bannon, J Reynolds, D Egan; R Galligan, D Cash, F Burke. Subs: N Judge for Cash (40 mins), C Duncan for O'Reilly (40 mins), D Reynolds for D Egan (57 mins), A Rowan for Smyth (58 mins).
REF: A Lagrue (Kildare).