PETER Fitzpatrick's Louth team made light work of Athlone IT with a crushing 17-point win in Drogheda yesterday.
The hosts didn't have to move out of first gear as goals early in each half from Paraic Smith and Adrian Reid added the gloss to what was a workmanlike performance against a below-par Athlone side.
Disappointingly, fewer than 300 people turned up. However, from a football perspective, it was a satisfying afternoon's work for Fitzpatrick. The writing was on the wall for the students as early as the eighth minute when Smith drilled a low finish in off the butt of Gary Connaughton's right-hand upright to open the scoring.
Louth had 1-4 on the board by the time Athlone opened their account in the 33rd minute through Frankie Burke, and the half-time scoreline of 1-5 to 0-2 was a fair reflection of first-half proceedings.
The tie was over as a contest within eight minutes of the re-start thanks to a flowing home move that ended with Reid drilling into an empty net.
It was plain sailing for Louth thereafter, with Ronan Carroll catching the eye at midfield, and staking a claim to fill Australia-bound Brian White's shoes in 2011. Athlone IT do get a second outing next week against Laois in the Shield.
SCORERS -- Louth: P Smith 1-2, R Carroll, S Lennon (0-2f) 0-4 each, A Reid 1-0, D Crilly 0-2, R Finnegan, P Keenan, J Murray 0-1 each. AIT: M Lundy, F Burke, I Coffey, C Garvey 0-1 each.
LOUTH -- N Gallagher; P Rath, A Hoey, G Hoey; R Finnegan, D Finnegan, P Fitzpatrick; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Crilly, A McDonnell, B Donnelly; P Smith, S Lennon, D Maguire. Subs: R Greene for P Rath (33), J Murray for B Donnelly (h-t), A Reid for D Maguire (h-t), S Connor for Gallagher (46), D Byrne for D Finnegan (57).
ATHLONE IT -- G Connaughton; C Duggan, F O'Reilly, C Garvey; M McCallion, M Mitchell, A Rowan; G Dennigan, P Bannon; M Lundy, D Egan, E Clarke; C Shine, F Burke, I Coffey. Subs: C Curley for Clarke (26), C Clarke for Rowan (51), F O'Reilly for Lundy (51).
REF-- G McCormack (Dublin).