Lift-off for O'Rourke's Louth
Louth 2-15 UCD 1-13
AIDAN O'Rourke passed his first test with flying colours as Louth put UCD to the sword in Drogheda.
The new Wee County chief fielded an experimental line-up with two debutants – Bernard Mulligan and Gary Connolly – in his full-back line, but it was the vastly experienced Darren Clarke who led the scoring charge at the other end of the field.
UCD made a bright start and Niall Kilroy's ninth-minute goal earned them a deserved 1-2 to 0-2 lead.
It was nip and tuck until five minutes before the interval when the hosts took control, landing 1-4 without reply.
The goal will have certainly pleased the new manager, a fine team move finished by Clarke with a simple slap to the net, ensuring a 1-9 to 1-4 half-time lead for the men in red.
Both sides were forced to play the second half with 14 men as Mark Brennan and Rory O'Carroll picked up second yellow cards in injury-time for some unnecessary aggression.
UCD rallied well after the restart, closing the gap to three points on two occasions, but another fine team move finished off coolly by Jim McEneaney gave Louth some breathing space and it was plain sailing from there.
No doubt pleased with the win and performance, O'Rourke will be expecting a very different examination of his new regime when Louth face Meath at Pairc Tailteann on Wednesday night.
SCORERS – Louth: D Clarke 1-7 (5f), J McEneaney 1-2 (1f), D Reid 0-3, A McDonnell 0-2, R Carroll 0-1. UCD: N Kilroy 1-2, J Heslin 0-4 (1f), D Kingston (1f), P Cahalane (2f) 0-2 each, R Basquel, P Reilly, D Brake 0-1 each.
LOUTH – S Connor; J Carr, B Mulligan, G Connolly; C Bellew, D Crilly, A Reid; D Finnegan, R Carroll; A McDonnell, M Brennan, B White; D Clarke, J McEneaney, D Reid. Subs: P Rath for Connolly (14), L Shevlin for Crilly (26), N Gallagher for Connor (h-t), J Agnew for Bellew (48), S O'Hanlon for McEneaney (60).
UCD – E Keogh; J Hayes, G Ryan, C McConnell; C Lenehan, L Keaney, R O'Carroll; J Heslin, C Dias; C Boylan, N Kilroy, D Larkin; R Basquel, D Kingston, P Cahalane. Subs: D Brake for R Basquel (54), P Reilly for Dias (54), A English for McConnell (60), S Cadden for Cahalane (60).
REF – J Curley (Meath).