Louth supersubs sink Wexford to secure promotion
Louth 0-13 Wexford 0-11
Ryan Burns and Ger McSorley were the Louth supersubs as they edged the thrilling winner-takes-all promotion shoot-out with Wexford in Drogheda.
Playing into a stiff breeze in the second half, it looked as if the home side would be overtaken on the home stretch when PJ Banville dragged Wexford level with four minutes left.
But Burns, who was controversially left out of the starting line-up, fired over Louth's first score for 30 minutes to retake the lead, and McSorley's well-worked point four minutes later was just as important in shattering Wexford's resistance.
David Power would have been pleased with Wexford's start against the wind, and they led by 0-4 to 0-3 by the end of the opening quarter, but Louth seized control for the remainder of the half.
With Conor Grimes, Declan Byrne and James Califf in fine scoring form, Colin Kelly's men slowly built up a six-point lead before Adrian Flynn pulled one back, making it 0-10 to 0-5 at the break. However, under-21 star Donal Shanley is a precocious talent and he almost dragged Wexford back into the game.
The more experienced Ciaran Lyng and Ben Brosnan kicked the scores to draw the visitors level - but in the end it was Louth's young guns, Burns and McSorley, who settled a thrilling contest.
SCORERS - Louth: J Califf (1f), D Byrne, C Grimes 0-3 each, C Doyle, J McEneaney, R Burns, G McSorley 0-1 each. Wexford: D Shanley 0-6 (3f), PJ Banville 0-2, A Flynn, J Tubritt 0-1, C Lyng each.
LOUTH - C Lynch 7; P Rath 9, P Reilly 8, K Toner 7; D Maguire 7, D McMahon 8, K McLaughlin 7; J Stewart 8, J Califf 8; A Williams 7, J McEneaney 6, T Durnin 6; D Byrne 8, C Grimes 7, C Doyle 6. Subs: R Burns 7 for Doyle (57), C McKeever 6 for McLaughlin (57), C Judge for McEneaney (64), G McSorley for J Califf (70+ Black Card), J McEneaney for Durnin (70+).
WEXFORD - A Masterson 7; J Rossiter 7, N Rossiter 6, J Wadding 6; B Malone 7, S Byrne 6, S Donohoe 7; C Kehoe 6, D Waters 7; A Flynn 5, B Brosnan 6, PJ Banville 7; D Shanley 8, M O'Regan 5, J Tubritt 6. Subs: C Lyng 7 for A Flynn (ht), E Nolan 6 for C Kehoe (54), K Butler 7 for M O'Regan (56), S Ryan for Tubritt (59), S Roche for Brosnan (70).
REF - J Hickey (Carlow).