Gaelic Football

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Hungry Louth put shackles on Galway

Louth 0-17 Galway 0-11

Published 24/02/2013 | 04:00

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SNOW fell almost in tandem with Galway's fading challenge after half-time in Drogheda, Louth driving on to a confident victory to collect their first points of their campaign in Division 2. Having blown a good lead in the opening round, this was a welcome tonic for Aidan O'Rourke's men, who were more at home on a tight and bumpy pitch.

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SNOW fell almost in tandem with Galway's fading challenge after half-time in Drogheda, Louth driving on to a confident victory to collect their first points of their campaign in Division 2. Having blown a good lead in the opening round, this was a welcome tonic for Aidan O'Rourke's men, who were more at home on a tight and bumpy pitch.

They were helped by some decidedly puzzling decisions by referee Derek Fahy, which gave them crucial impetus soon after the break when the sides were tied at 0-8 apiece, but that was only a part of the story.

They showed the greater appetite for battle and packed their defence to tie down Galway's main attacking weapons. Michael Meehan had a frustrating day, scoring once from play and being off with some placed balls. Sean Armstrong kicked one from play. One good goal chance fell to Danny Cummins but he fluffed his shot in the first half.

Niall Coleman did his best, making some good contributions and scoring two points, but Louth had a more impressive spread of options. Paddy Keenan had another starring role, scoring three points in a characteristic show of leadership while Brian White chipped in with four, from a mix of sources. Even towards the end Derek Maguire hit two stylish scores having arrived as a late sub. Brian Donnelly came on and stormed into the match in the middle of the field.

Seventeen points is a serious haul on a cold day in February and Louth can draw plenty of positives from a well-organised performance in which they were aggressive in the challenge and better at winning primary ball. They led by four points in the first half before Galway reeled them back in but they couldn't be held when they put their foot down after the interval, when the sides were level, sharing 16 points.

The first half provided the bulk of the thrills. Louth dropped a player back and closed down the space around Armstrong and Meehan, Dessie Finnegan keeping close guard on the latter. Yet they had a major let-off just seven minutes in when their defence was breached but Galway failed to profit from Cummins' goal chance.

The opening came when Sean Denvir picked his way through the Louth backs, had his shot for goal parried by Neil Gallagher and the breaking ball fell to Cummins, who totally miscued. On the counter, Pádraig Smith kicked a point to put the sides level at 0-2 a piece.

Having trailed to a fine solo point by Coleman, Louth used Smith's score as the springboard to a period of dominance, registering five points without reply. Keenan was put through in front of goal after a series of tight-range passes; he blasted high and over. But Louth were bossing it and in an eight-minute period they moved 0-6 to 0-2 ahead, further points from Andy McDonnell, Adrian Reid and Shane Lennon rewarding their industry.

This was despite the best efforts of a snappy and disciplined Galway backline, who didn't concede a free within scoring range until the 20th minute. Their difficulty was in dealing with breakdown ball which Louth carried from deep on the counter.

Four down after a quarter of an hour, Galway were able to find a way back although it took until just before half time for them to reach parity. Michael Martin worked hard for a score to start some momentum, Meehan had one from play and an excellent score by Eoin Concannon enlivened the exchanges.

White and Ciarán Byrne had points, Coleman replied, and with 20 minutes gone in the second half only two separated them. A rousing score from Keenan, thundering through the middle, stretched the gap, and White landed a '45' to reopen a four-point gap on the hour mark.

Tellingly, Galway only scored once in the last 20 minutes, an injury-time free by Meehan. They were a well-beaten team by then.

Scorers – Louth: B White 0-4 (2f, 1 '45'); S Lennon 0-3 (2f); P Keenan 0-3; D Maguire 0-2; M Brennan, P Smith, A McDonnell, A Reid, C Byrne 0-1. Galway: S Armstrong 0-3 (2f); M Meehan 0-3 (2f); N Coleman 0-2; M Martin, E Concannon, D Cummins 0-1.

Louth: N Gallagher; J O'Brien, D Finnegan, G Hoey; C McGuinness, D Crilly, A Reid; P Keenan, M Fanning; A McDonnell, M Brennan, B White; P Smith, S Lennon, K Rogers. Subs: B Donnelly for Fanning (27); C Byrne for Rogers (h-t); D Maguire for Smith (63); R Carroll for Lennon (69); L Shelvin for Bellew (70).

Galway: M Breathnach; J Duane, F Hanley, J Moore; C Sweeney, G Sice, G Sweeney; N Coleman, P Conroy; E Concannon, M Martin, S Denvir; S Armstrong, M Meehan, D Cummins. Subs: C Costello for Martin (45); F ó Curraoin for Sweeney (45); M Hehir for Cummins (56); M Boyle for Denvir (66).

Referee: D Fahy (Longford)

Irish Independent

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