Louth ease past royals
Peter Fitzpatrick made a winning start as manager of the Louth senior footballers against neighbours Meath in the Jimmy McGeough Memorial Cup game at Haggardstown yesterday.
The new experimental rules also made their debut and the interpretation of the fist pass caused the most confusion for players. Referee Pat McEneaney strictly applied the rule which outlaws the use of the open hand and judging from this game it will take a bit of getting used to for teams in the competitions ahead.
The Wee County fielded a much more recognisable team than last year's All-Ireland semi-finalists and were 1-6 to 0-1 up at the end of the first half. Full-forward JP Rooney contributed 1-2 of that opening-period tally and, along with Darren Clarke and Brian White, caused problems for Meath's rookie full-back line.
Louth should have been further ahead at half-time when, in the 12th minute, they were awarded a penalty but Meath stopper Brendan Murphy denied Rooney from the spot, which now lies two metres nearer to the goal.
Eamonn O'Brien's charges improved somewhat after the break and Peadar Byrne spear-headed a mini-revival which culminated in two quick goals.
The left half-forward raised his team's first green flag in the 49th minute and was involved in the build-up to their second which was put away by Ollie Lewis.
That left the visitors just four points in arrears but Louth killed off the game with a second goal from sub Michael Rogers.
Scorers -- Louth: JP Rooney 1-5 (1f); M Rogers 1-1; B White 0-3; P Keenan, D Clarke (2f) 0-2 each; A McDonnell 0-1. Meath: J. Queeney 0-4 (3f); P Byrne, O Lewis, D Carroll 1-0 each.
Louth -- N Gallagher; D Byrne, D Finnegan, R Greene; R Finnegan, A Hoey, J O'Brien; P Keenan, L Shevlin; P Smith, A McDonnell, D Maguire; D Clarke, JP Rooney, B White. Subs: D Crilly for Maguire, S O'Neill for Shevlin, S Fitzpatrick for O'Brien, P Rath for Hoey, M Fanning for Byrne (all 32), S Connor for Gallagher (37), M Rogers for Clarke (52), J Craven for McDonnell (52).
Meath -- B Murphy; D Dalton, J Macken, S Sheridan; G O'Brien, B Regan, G Reilly; M Kennedy, M Ward; P Byrne, S O'Rourke, D Sheridan; M Newman, J Queeney, C Gillespie. Subs: E Gilsenan for Regan (30), N Mooney for Ward, S Kennedy for Reilly (both ht), D Lyons for Murphy (35), D Carroll for Newman (36), O Lewis for O'Rourke (38).
Ref -- P McEneaney (Monaghan).