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Nothing to show for improved display

Allianz Football League Division 3: Tipperary 0-11 Louth 1-7

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Emmet Carolan of Louth who sprayed a raking 50 metre pass, from the heart of the Louth defence, onto the chest of his Newtown Blues teammate Ciaran Downey, under the stand

Emmet Carolan of Louth who sprayed a raking 50 metre pass, from the heart of the Louth defence, onto the chest of his Newtown Blues teammate Ciaran Downey, under the stand

SPORTSFILE

Emmet Carolan of Louth who sprayed a raking 50 metre pass, from the heart of the Louth defence, onto the chest of his Newtown Blues teammate Ciaran Downey, under the stand

Across the board this was a much better display from Louth, but disappointingly for all their endeavour, it brought the same return - nothing.

Like a good old-fashioned thriller, the contest was gripping throughout, but you could sense the encroaching danger and in the final act, a ruthless twist that left the left the viewer stunned in disbelief.

Having led from the 13th minute and with less than three minutes of normal time to play, Louth just couldn't hang on, not even for what would have been a most welcome draw.

Such was the deeper sense of loss felt on the bitterly cold banks of Drogheda, it felt like Louth lost not two, but one vital league point as well.

Brian Fox pierced the dagger four minutes into additional time for the visitors. The score capped a run of five unanswered points in Tipp's empathic finish to the match.

The wind ensured the Division 3 clash was always going to be a game of two halves, but Tipp played the conditions better than Louth both in defence and attack.

With the gale at their back in the second half they lay siege to Craig Lynch's kick outs to devastating effect. The visitors never relented as they piled on the pressure, all the while not panicking as the clock ticked down.

Louth built up their lead through sheer hard work after a nervy start, a sure sign of a team low on confidence and identity as they were out of step with each other early on, highlighted by numerous simple passes going astray.

Liam Boland and Conor Sweeney gladly took advantage to give Tipp the lead and final score of the half as early as the eighth minute.

Tipp would not find the target again until the second half with half an hour plus injury played in between.

Louth threw off the shackles and went for broke, Sam Mulroy athletically caught a Liam Jackson ball to claim and score the resultant mark and his confidence shot up from that point onwards.

With Declan Byrne and Ryan Burns out through injury, Mulroy enjoyed being the focal point, with Conor Grimes working beside him and Ciaran Downey roaming out the field. Mulroy would grab two more from play before the half was out.

Hunting and tackling in packs, in what looked like a choreographed approach, Louth denied Conor Sweeney the final ball, and it must be said, Dermot Campbell was relishing the battle with one of the counties top forwards.

It was all Louth at this stage, but some wayward shooting Louth left the door ajar for David Power to scheme a second half comeback. Tommy Durnin did claim a clever advanced mark to make it 0-5 to 0-2 at half time.

When Durnin began the second half with an unlikely goal, Louth could relax a bit with a six-point lead.

The midfielder's shot caught the sole of his boot and as a result looped over Evan Comerford's head.

Tipp marched down the field and began their onslaught. Sweeney ended their barren spell in front of the posts with a sideline. That score kicked off a four point scoring run as substitute Kevin O'Halloran, Fox and Kevin Fahey all found the target.

Sam Mulroy eased the relentless pressure when he pointed two frees from a rare Louth foray up the field.

His Naomh Mairtin club mate John Clutterbuck was taken down in front of the goal by Liam Boland, but remarkably the Tipp man didn't see black, but yellow.

The inevitable feeling in the pit of the stomach began to rise for Louth, as another Tipp substitute Alan Moloney creatively came up with two points via the outside of his left boot from long range, just when they seemed to be running out of ideas.

Fox then stood tall to land that gut-wrenching winner.

Louth: Craig Lynch; Dan Corcoran,Emmet Carolan 0-1, Fergal Donohoe; Eoghan Callaghan, Dermot Callaghan, John Clutterbuck; James Califf, Tommy Durnin 1-1 (1m); Liam Jackson, Bevan Duffy, Paul Mathews; Ciaran Downey, Conor Grimes, Sam Mulroy 0-5 (2f,1m). Subs: Gerry Garland for Jackson (48), Eoghan Duffy for Grimes (58), Conor Early for Mathews (62), Oisin Murray for Corcoran (67), Andrew Mooney for Donohoe (69).

Tipperary: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, John Meagher, Colm Shaughnessy; Emmet Moloney, Kevin Fahey 0-1, Daire Brennan; Steven O'Brien, Conal Kennedy; Bill Maher, Jack Kennedy 0-1 (1f), Brian Fox 0-2; Liam Boland 0-1, Conor Sweeney 0-3 (1sl, 2f), Jason Lonergan. Subs: Kevin O'Halloran 0-1 for Lonergan (h-t), Rian Quigley for Bill Maher (h-t) Alan Moloney 0-2 for C Kennedy (54), Colman Kennedy for Boland (61).

Referee: John Hickey (Carlow)

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