Mulroy poser for McGrath as under-20s lose
If he wasn't already in Pete McGrath's plans for Sunday's All-Ireland Qualifier clash in London, Sam Murloy surely staked a loud claim for a starting berth against the Exiles when he bagged 1-8 for Wayne Kierans' under-20s on Monday afternoon.
The Naomh Mairtin man still ended up on the losing side as the Reds fell by 5-11 to 3-15, compounding last month's senior defeat to the Barrowsiders. But Mulroy caught the eye in a classy personal display and with Ryan Burns suspended and Jim McEneaney still recovering from a shoulder injury, McGrath will be tempted to throw him in at the deep end in Ruislip.
The Jock's attacker appeared to be central to McGrath's attacking plans earlier in the season, but suffered a broken ankle in the Reds' O'Byrne Cup opener against Longford, ruling him out of the entire National League campaign. He was fit enough to take his place on the bench for last month's Leinster Championship defeat to Carlow, but he remained an unused sub as the Reds crashed out.
While appearing against Carlow ruled Ross Nally out of Monday's U-20 opener, Mulroy was free to play alongside fellow senior panellist Eimhin Keenan. Featuring against London would rule either player out of the next round against Offaly, but with Louth's chances of progressing taking a severe hit on Monday, it may be a sacrifice McGrath and his selector - and U20 manager- Wayne Kierans are willing to make.
Louth started brightly against Carlow on Monday as goals from Leonard Grey, Murloy and Cian Callan helped them to establish a 3-4 to 0-4 lead after 15 minutes. However, two Carlow goals in quick succession, the first from a penalty, whittled Louth's lead down to two points at the break, 3-7 to 2-8.
Two more quickfire goals edged Carlow in front after the break, but a red card for Andrew Kehoe appeared to tip the balance in Louth's favour. And they duly regained the lead, 3-14 to 4-9, with Murloy prominent. But a fifth Carlow goal gave the visitors the belief to kick for home and they held out for a hard-earned 5-11 to 3-15 victory.
Louth can still qualify for the quarter-finals by beating Offaly in Tullamore on Saturday, June 16th. A win would leave all three teams on two points, but after defeating Carlow by 12 points, Offaly are now through to the last eight as their score difference cannot be bettered by both Carlow. But a win over the Faithful County would also send Louth through on score difference from Carlow, who are stil on -10 points.
However, lining would without Mulroy would severely dent the Reds prospects, shouold he feature against London on Sunday.