Louth 2-23 Longford 0-13
Louth will play Wicklow in Aughrim on Sunday in what is essentially the Kehoe Shield decider having seen off Longford in Darver.
The Wee County – on the back of some heavy losses in the Conor McGurk Cup – were in control throughout Sunday’s contest in laying down a marker ahead of the teams’ Division 3A meeting in February.
It took Longford 15 minutes to register their opening point, a free by Cian Kavanagh – at which stage wind-aided Louth had amassed 1-6 – and by the time they got on target from play, seven minutes before half-time, the rampant Reds were on 1-10.
Mark Gahan, mainly from dead balls, and Conor Deane were in lethal form up front, while Seánie Crosbie and Paul Mathews – who scored a fine, individual goal – were ruling the roost further out the field.
And even when the Midlanders did venture forward, they found Conor Quigley in wicked form at centre-back and young Naomh Moninne defender Seán McGill a tigerish obstacle.
Paul McCormack’s troops held a 1-8 to 0-1 lead by the first waterbreak and while more wasteful during the second quarter, four points consecutively – Gahan (free) and three outstanding conversions from play by Jamie McDonnell, Seaghan Conneely and Mathews – shortly before halfway sent the hosts to the dressing room with a commanding advantage, 1-14 to 0-5.
A raft of switches came at half-time and one of the substitutes, the returning Pádraig Fallon, had an immediate impact, rifling spectacularly to the top corner of the net.
His goal, and four points on the trot by Deane, saw Louth’s total rise to 2-18 at the drinks’ interval, when further reserves were added into the mix by manager McCormack.
Longford rallied across the closing spell, outscoring the winners 0-6 to five, having trailed by 2-23 to 0-9 at one juncture.
A good display by Louth – one which may restore the confidence which was zapped earlier in the month.
Louth: Ruairí Morrissey; Adam Plunkett, Danny Morgan, Seán McGill; Sean Hodgins, Conor Quigley, Jamie McDonnell 0-1; Peter Fortune 0-1, Feidhelm Joyce; Seánie Crosbie 0-3, Paul Mathews 1-1, Seaghan Conneely 0-1; Conor Deane 0-6, Gareth Hall, Mark Gahan 0-5 (4f)
Subs: Stephen Hoey for Plunkett (HT), Darren Geoghegan 0-4 (2f) for Conneely (HT), Niall Keenan for Fortune (HT), Andrew Mackin for Gahan (HT), Pádraig Fallon 1-0 for Hall (HT), Ronan Mulholland for Mathews (41) Josh Murtagh for Morrissey (53), Donal Ryan for Joyce (53), Eddie Condon 0-1 for Crosbie (53), Darren O’Hanrahan for McDonnell (53)
Longford: Daniel Gallagher; Keelan Cox, David Buckley, Gerard Moore; Aidan Sheridan, Johnny Casey, Pearse McNally; Paddy Lynam 0-2, Evan Tully; Ciarán Farrell, Cian Kavanagh 0-7 (5f, 65), John Mulhern; Matthews Hawes, Reuben Murray 0-1, Emmet Corrigan 0-2
Subs: Adam Quinn 0-1 for Moore (18), Liam Browne for Murray (52), Michael Mulcahy for Mulhern (52), Emmet Corrigan for Tully (65)
Referee: Seán Dunican (Dublin)