Galway fizzle out after early fireworks as Clarke leads Louth recovery
You would have got decent odds from Mulholland bookmakers on Louth getting anything out of this match when they trailed by six points against the wind, but in the end it was Galway who were lucky to get a draw at Pearse Stadium yesterday.
Home boss Alan Mulholland was at a loss to explain his side's collapse after an opening quarter in which they blew Louth away and led by 1-5 to 0-2.
"We scored 1-5 in the first 15-odd minutes and we only finished up with 1-8. You could take that as a great start or a poor finish. We started extremely well and we are a bit disappointed that we couldn't see it though," he said.
Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick praised his men for their fightback, and was not too distraught at their failure to take chances to snatch victory.
"People may say we lost two points here, but I am very happy with a draw. In the first half things didn't look too well, but in the second half it just goes to show how important having a panel is because we threw in a few fresh legs. They really showed that Louth football is on the way up."
It didn't look good for Louth when Galway stormed into a 1-5 to 0-2 lead in the 20th minute, Danny Cummins goaling after collecting a rebound off a post.
Cummins added a point and Nicky Joyce, Michael Martin and Thomas Flynn also found their range, but Louth rallied and landed five points in a row, with Darren Clarke getting two.
Galway's lead was down to two points at the break, and they were very disappointing in the second half, scoring just two points with the wind at their backs.
Louth got on top around the middle and won a lot of the 50-50 clashes. Andy McDowell and Adrian Reid pointed to level after 50 minutes.
Paul Conroy edged Galway in front before sub Eoin O'Connor restored parity.
Galway wing-back Gareth Bradshaw raced forward to notch his second point; sub Jim McEneaney levelled with three minutes left, but Louth missed a few late chances to win it.
Scorers -- Galway: D Cummins 1-1, M Martin (1f), G Bradshaw 0-2 each, N Joyce, T Flynn, P Conroy 0-1 each. Louth: D Clarke 0-3 (1f), P Keenan, D Crilly, R Carroll, M Brennan, A Reid, J McEneaney, A McDonnell, E O'Connor 0-1 each.
Galway -- A Faherty 7; C Forde 6, F Hanley 7, K Kelly 6; G Bradshaw 8, J Duane 6, G O'Donnell 6; T Flynn 6, F Ó Curraoin 6; G Sice 6, P Conroy 6, M Hehir 6; M Martin 6, N Joyce 6, D Cummins 7. Subs: C Bane 6 for Conroy (52), C Doherty 6 for Hehir (52), S Maughan 6 for Martin (59).
Louth -- N Gallagher 7; P Rath 6, D Finnegan 7, G Hoey 6; R Finnegan 7, J Carr 7, L Shevlin 7; P Keenan 8, B Donnelly 8; D Crilly 7, R Carroll 6, A Reid 7; M Brennan 6, A McDonnell 6, D Clarke 7. Subs: JP Rooney 7 for Clarke (52), E O'Connor 7 for Reid (52), D Byrne 6 for D Finnegan (62), J McEneaney 7 for Brennan (63), A Hoey 6 for Carroll (65).
Ref -- D Fahy (Longford)