Louth's teenage sensation Ryan Burns is match winner against Westmeath
Leinster SFC first round: Westmeath 1-09 Louth 1-14
LOUTH’S teenage sensation Ryan Burns proved to be match winner as his goal with his first touch in senior football effectively settled their clash with Westmeath in Mullingar.
The Hunterstown Rovers youngster was only on the pitch for a matter of moments before he kept his cool to goal in the 58th minute and hand the Wee county a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Burns, who has already played minor and U21 for Louth this year, was only added to the panel by Aidan O’Rourke a few weeks ago but he underlined his burgeoning reputation with his instant impact here.
That score gave Louth a two point lead and they added points from Derek Maguire (two) and Declan Byrne to settle an exciting finale that looked to be heading Westmeath’s way when Kieran Martin found the net on 47 minutes.
The first half needed almost ten minutes to open the scoring when John Heslin pointed a free for Westmeath which prompted the home side to race into a 0-3 to no score lead.
Louth recovered with three points of their own and when Derek Maguire grabbed his second point of the half on 26 minutes, they took the lead for the first time.
The tit-for-tat nature of the half continued though Louth managed to fashion a goal chance when Byrne’s excellent pass found Maguire but he pulled his shot wide from a tight angle.
Westmeath also got a sight on goal but Neil Gallagher saved well at the feet of Ray Connellan.
Louth’s defensive plan frustrated Westmeath though it hardly made the best use of the considerable wind advantage the enjoyed.
Up front, they were wasteful and though they kicked the last three scores of the half to take 0-8 o 0-5 lead in at the break, they also wracked up 11 first half wides.
However, they adapted well to playing against the breeze and Burns’ goal sent O’Rourke’s men on their way to a Leinster quarter-final with Kildare in Croke Park on June 8.
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