Farrell seals it as Longford silence experimental Louth
Longford 2-13 Louth 1-10
Pete McGrath took the Louth helm for the first time in Darver on Saturday in their defeat to Longford and dished out six debuts, as well as numerous positional switches, in an effort to acclimatise himself to his new surroundings.
"You watch players at training and they are very committed, but really it is competitive football that tells you the true story and gives you the real insight into where players are at. That's why these pre-season competitions are there," said McGrath.
Familiarity, however, set the midlanders up for victory. The extra cohesion Denis Connerton's side possessed was clear in the early stages as they shot to a 1-2 to no score lead - with Pauric Gill getting the goal.
Only two debutants started for Longford as they controlled the game through the trusty right boot of Sean McCormack, after Ross Nally replied with a goal.
"We had very little time to prepare for the game, we haven't got a huge amount of work done, but we showed great spirit and great courage throughout the game," Connerton said.
Louth, who were down five at the break, came roaring back and looked set for victory. William Woods got the leveller, while Sam Mulroy and James Butler were prominent in this period with a brace each.
"When we got it back to a draw I felt we were in a position to win the game, but we were caught then by a sucker-punch goal and really there was no way they were going to lose the match after that," McGrath said.
It was indeed Andrew Farrell, one of the day's experimental 'finds', that sealed the game for Longford.
Connerton explained: "Andrew hasn't featured in the forwards all that often. He is generally in the full-back line, but we played him up front today and he got an outstanding goal."
Connerton also shed some light on Brian Kavanagh's inter-county status.
"Brian had to rehab all last year and he just feels at this stage, after that year out, that he is just not able to get back up to this level again, but he has been an outstanding footballer for us."
McGrath expected "a mixed bag", but the negative column compounded further with news of a fractured ankle for talented young full-forward Mulroy.
Scorers - Longford: P McCormack 0-6 (4fs);P Gill 1-1; A Farrell 1-0; R McEntire 0-2; M Quinn, D Reynolds, C Berry, P Collum 0-1 each.
Louth: W Woods (1f), S Mulroy(2f), 0-3 each; Ross Nally 1-0; J Butler 0-2; T Durnin, J McEneaney 0-1 each.
LONGFORD - P Collum; P Fox,P McCormack,B McKeon;M Quinn, B Gilleran, P Foy; D Gallagher, C Berry; R McEntire,D Reynolds,P Gill; D Carrigy, S McCormack, A Farrell. Subs: C Lee for R McEntire (21) S Donohue for P McCormack BC (61) P Hanley for D Galllagher BC, C Reilly for P Gill (72)
LOUTH - L Haggins; J Bingham, P Reilly, F Donohoe; D Maguire, B Duffy, A Khan; A McDonnell, T Durnin; C McKeever, J McEneaney, C Downey; W Woods, S Mulroy, R Nally. Subs: J Butler for C Downey, N Conlon for R Nally (51) R Holcroft for S Mulroy (59) E Keenan for D Maguire (68)
Ref - Patrick Coyle (Meath)